Excellent demolition of Dick Cheney’s shameful attack on the president in the wake of the Detroit attempted attack.
Cheney wanted to use the nonsensically phrased ‘war on terror’ as a wedge to destroy the Bill of Rights and permanently undermine the US constitution, and is annoyed that all the groundwork he laid for the return of rightwing monarchy has been sensibly tossed aside by the constitutional lawyer who succeeded him.
All this is not to mention that there can be more or fewer Muslims radicalized and that no one made America more vulnerable to attack than Cheney:
Torture at Guantanamo
Denial of habeas corpus
illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq
the atrocity of the attack on Falluja
These are the standard grievances in the al-Qaeda recruitment videos. All of them contravene basic American values.
So, Mr. Cheney, you don’t make America safer with terminology, blustering about ‘war on terror.’ Living up to American values of no military aggression and basic civil rights and condemnation of cruel and unusual punishment– just being real Americans would deprive al-Qaeda of most of its current recruitment tools.
In fact, as the Cheney legacy has begun to fade, al-Qaeda is facing problems with recruitment. One problem for them is that family and friends increasingly turn the jihadi in. That is what happened to Abdulmutallab and it would have foiled his mission if Cheney had devoted more energy to interagency cooperation during the last 8 years.
The reason that Muslims turn in a relative or friend who goes off the deep end about America is that they know America is not evil.
Cheney’s methods and values are aimed at convincing them otherwise.
Cheney turned on the American values of the Founding Fathers in the 1970s, when he was defending Tricky Dick Nixon and a quagmire in southeast Asia, and he has only gone further and further toward the Dark Side ever since.
If we can’t try him, can’t we at least try to get him North Korean citizenship, since he seems to like authoritarian values better than American ones? Plus, he and Kim Jong-Il both like pretending they are James Bond– they’d get along famously.
Today’s dramatic events in Iran reminded me a little bit of the dueling demonstrations mounted by the Lebanese in spring of 2005, when pro-Syrian forces brought out nearly 1,000,000 protesters, only to be answered by crowds nearly as large mobilized by Hizbullah. In Iran on Wednesday, the regime bussed in tens of thousands of supporters, with banners and placards, who chanted in favor of the hard-liners. Traditional preachers assured the faithful that the holy day of Ashura belonged solely to the religious the observant, a way of slamming the political opposition as atheists in mullahs’ clothing.
AP has video, and mentions pro-government rallies in Shiraz, Arak and other provincial cities, as well.
The regime therefore not only engaged in counter mobilization, but it also took steps to completely deny legitimacy to the dissidents, with hard-liners threatening to turn the leaders of the green movement into fugitives and common criminals. FT reports that a Revolutionary Guards site said Mousavi was under house arrest. Indeed, rumors were spread around that former presidential candidates Mir Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had fled Tehran to points north. This attempt to demoralize the opposition by suggesting that their leaders had abandoned them largely failed, since dissident websites were quick to deny the rumors. They took revenge for the calumny by alleging that supreme leader Khamenei was keeping his private jet ready to fly him to Russia.
It was a day then of a massive counter rally and of dueling propaganda jabs. Despite the pro-regime masses in the streets of the capital, the increasingly ominous threats of no more Mr. nice guy from the Tehran police chief, and the intimation by hard-line clerics that they would not scruple to return to the days of terror that marked the 1980s, it seems hard to believe that even regime stalwarts imagine that such measures will be sufficient to silence the opposition or to end the crisis that roils Iran with seeming greater ferocity every day
I have been to Yemen three times, before and after unification, and have traveled outside Sanaa. I’ve spoken publicly in Arabic in front of big audiences and interacted with Zaidis, Salafis, Sufis. It is an extremely complicated society with multiple ecological zones. It is an arid, tribal (segmentary-lineage) system. Most of the scholars I know who work on Yemen have been kidnapped by tribes or thrown in jail by the government at least once. People are either Arab nationalists or Muslim ones. They have very little use for outsiders. If the US tried to establish a big presence there, they would make the Iraqi resistance look half-hearted and weak-kneed.
Anybody who thinks they are going to dominate this has another think coming:
This is Maarib where al-Qaeda is said to be based:
The bombing of a Shiite Ashura procession in Karachi, Pakistan, on Monday, which killed 40 and wounded 60– as horrific as it was– was only the beginning of the paralysis of this major port city and financial center larger than New York. In response to the bombing or encouraged by it, arsonists set fire to major markets.
“shops in the Lighthouse Market, Boulton Market, Paper Market and the adjoining areas were robbed and torched by miscreants. The police and eyewitnesses said a massive explosion rocked Lighthouse Chowrangi around 4.13pm. . . Within five to 10 minutes of the blast, nearby wholesale were attacked by unidentified people. The police said that more than 500 shops were robbed and torched in the Lighthouse Market alone. Within the span of an hour, public and private property at the Kharadar and Mithadar traffic sections, Boulton Market, Feroze Market, Akber Market, Paper Market, and warehouses in the plastic market and at 27 other places were robbed and set ablaze. Madina Ice Cream, Denso Hall, and the Kachi Gali Medicine Market were not spared either, nor was any mercy shown towards more than 30 other shops selling electronic items.
When police and firemen came, they came under fire from the arsonists.
These Karachi events show how complex the politics of Pakistan are. The Sunni-Shiite violence there is much more consequential than the Taliban issue in the northwest on which US attention is concentrated. And while it has been suggested that transplanted Pashtun Taliban in Karachi were behind the bombing, that theory has not been proved. (There were Sunni-Shiite problems in Karachi going back to the 1980s long before there were any Pakistani Taliban).
What is encouraging is the level of solidarity among mainstream Sunni and Shiite organizations in Karachi, and the plans for a unity demonstration on Friday, both of which are on a scale far beyond what was seen in Iraq.
10. Dubai, a financial hub of the Gulf, collapsed economically, and worries were raised that Dubai World could default on billions in loans. Only the likelihood that oil-rich sister emirate, Abu Dhabi, would likely bail Dubai out at least to some extent kept there from being a panic.
9. That Iraq is still far from stable was demonstrated by two major bombing campaigns by the Sunni Arab resistance, in mid-August and in late October. Both blasts damaged government ministries, killed experienced diplomats and managers, and showed the vulnerability of the new government to concerted attack.
8. Yemen fell apart, facing a Shiite Huthi rebellion in Saada, in which Saudi Arabia is now intervening, as well as tribal/ fundamentalist opposition and the reemergence of a vital al-Qaeda movement in Maarib. Conflict over water and other rural resources drives this descent into a failed state. This one spilled over on Detroit when al-Qaeda in Yemen responded to US and Yemeni army attacks on Maarib by targeting a Northwest Airliner on Christmas day.
5. A creeping coup by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps in Iran led to the stealing of the June presidential election by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The resulting combination of the most rightwing government seen in Iran since the 1980s and popular resistance threw the country into turmoil.
3. Mahmoud Abbas, moderate president of the Palestine Authority, announced his intention to resign because there was no progress on peace negotiations with Israel, which refuses to cease colonizing Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
2. Israel’s Gaza War failed and discredited it, leading to the issuance of Goldstone report to the UN on Israeli war crimes. The outcome is major roadblock in the face of further peace negotiations.