Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Somebody's finally thinking about rethinking 

hot italian sausage, grilled pepper and onion, english muffin

The Washington Post reports the White House is taking a step back and scratching their collective head,

The Bush administration has launched a high-level internal review of its efforts to battle international terrorism, aimed at moving away from a policy that has stressed efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda leaders since Sept. 11, 2001, and toward what a senior official called a broader "strategy against violent extremism."

The shift is meant to recognize the transformation of al Qaeda over the past three years into a far more amorphous, diffuse and difficult-to-target organization than the group that struck the United States in 2001.

It's good to know somebody is reconsidering the cowboy and indians strategy, but the spoken of transformation's tipping point rests squarely upon the invasion of Iraq - not 9/11. 9/11 didn't gain al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden any sympathizers but the opposite - we had a few months of great sympathy; the invasion of Iraq provided the transformation ("growth") of the threat by fitting right into the Islamist propaganda and rhetoric - validating bin Laden's fatwa in the minds of many,

... If the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal Crusade occupation of the Peninsula.

- Osama bin Laden
February, 1, 1998

The Washington Post article notes that Iraq has been a proving ground for militant Islamists - so it's puzzling why "9/11" was earlier used as the date marking a transformation of the nature of the threat,

Much of the discussion has focused on how to deal with the rise of a new generation of terrorists, schooled in Iraq over the past couple years. Top government officials are increasingly turning their attention to anticipate what one called "the bleed out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe. "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior Bush administration official said. "If you don't know who they are in Iraq, how are you going to locate them in Istanbul or London?"

... Or New York or Los Angeles for that matter. Does anybody remember John Walker Lindh? Perhaps this signals the beginning of the end of the stupid notion represented by the "better to fight them over there than in the streets of America".

Hopefully our strategy will reshape (as I pleaded last week) itself into one focusing primarily on treating the disease instead of dealing with the symptoms,

... State Department official Paul Simons said at a congressional hearing earlier this month that the "internal deliberative process" was broadly conceived to encompass everything from further crackdowns on terrorist financing networks to policies aimed at curbing the teaching of holy war against the West and other "tools with respect to the global war on terrorism."

Build some secular schools in the countries where now most higher education is religious. Medical universities, technical colleges.

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