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September 09, 2007


Funny how these tapes only show up when Bush/Cheney is in trouble somehow. You'd almost think they were being put out by our maladministration for its own propaganda purposes.

Well, I have to say that the Dem leadership hasn't done much better, and is about to capitulate to Bush on continuing our misbegotten and mismanaged war in Iraq, continuing to hand bin Laden his best recruiting tool, continuing to bleed us dry, and continuing to lower our standing in the eyes of the world.

There was a famous poster of Ronald Reagan shortly after he was elected Governor of California. It showed him from one of his cowboy roles with six shooters and the caption was "Thanks for the votes, suckers."

That's about how I feel now, after reading Glenn Greenwald.

If you have any access to those craven DC dopes, please convey how really incredibly angry and frustrated we are with them out here in the net/grass roots. I can barely stomach them today and have no intention of contributing to the party campaign committees or, indeeed, to any incumbent who is not unequivocally against the war. I feel really betrayed by these people.

New Osama video seems yet another forgery. Everyone needs Osama alive:
terrorists as symbolic leader and the US Administration - to avoid
scaling down the war on terror.
Obadiah Shoher rightly notes (
http://www.samsonblinded.org/news/osama-commemorates-911-1114 ) that
new Osama talks like a leftist university professor. I like Shoher's
analysis. No way a terrorist leader like Osama would use a speechwriter. Osama is famous
for his rhetoric.
Also, in the tape Osama both threatens America with attack (by
"proving" Americans polytheists) and offers (yet another time)
long-term coaching in Islam.
But his dyed beard makes me cautious. Islam's mujahedeen dye their
beards before battle.

"It is propaganda" Unlike, I guess, the Bush/Libby cherrypicks planted via Judy Miller.

Townsend in that very same interview, after saying Bin Laden is impotent in a cave, then goes on to say that he is really calling the shots in Iraq, that he "tasks" al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda in Iraq to undertake operations, that he is using the Iraq war for recruitment and that we have to stay in Iraq solely so Bin Laden won't feel he's won.

So which is it, an impotent cave man (who has murdered thousands of Americans) or a man so potent and powerful that America must destroy herself instead of allowing him to "think" that he "won" the prize of Iraq. An Iraq that will squish his al-Qaeda outsiders like bugs and like it has before, once we are gone.

I actually think Townsend does understand the propaganda issue - as a Rove context loyal Bushie would. But her concern is propagandizing the US,not the ME. To sell a Muslim based propaganda message, they have to de-demonize Muslims and also find some way to counter the last few decades spent having no substance in the ME to support American contentions of freedom. If they put out propaganda that build bridges with the Muslim communities, they appear for what they are - calculating liars who have used and abused THIS nation for solely and wholely political purposes. So they can't. They have to keep selling the same bridge to nowhere, over and over.

We support despots. No one cared about beheadings when it was just something our friends the Saudis did in public arenas. We don't make any baseline attempt to have governments that we have shored up in the ME provide education and resources for their people - instead using a Free Market + Beheadings to support a system of obscenely wealthy (excpet by US CEO standards) "ruling" families.

No matter how good your propaganda, you can't overcome years of never providing any support for the people in the ME nations to get infrastructure, education, etc. and for instead supporting massive conversions of national resource into a wealth enhancement for the few in those countries. We have such bad history, that even with good propaganda, we'd be in bad shape now. And instead of good propaganda, we have Abu Ghraib and all the many things that the press here never really reports - we have the Mattis approach of commuting every sentence in sight as long as they only involved murder and abuse of Iraqi civilians.

Bushies have ahd to demonize to get the war they wanted. They have had to demonize to get troops psyched up for years and willing and EAGER to treat Afghans and Iraqis according to the Bush interrogation and engagement standards (imagine doing to a European city what was done to Fallujah - whatever the sales pitch for getting rid of criminals and "insurgents" and imagine a policing force in the US, Canada or Europe allowed to go throw grenades into homes and murder children in their beds in homes or call airstrikes down on homes because those homes were near a place that the policing force came under fire)

The ME isn't Crawford, TX and we don't have the hometown propaganda advantage. But more than that, they don't care about selling except to the US market. They have done some very blatantly illegal and immoral things on that front - the Abu Omar al-Baghdadi story comes to mind as being something expressly disallowed by US law (disinformation and knowingly false propaganda going into the US media). But while here there are no consequences for lies to the US public by the US military and Dept of Justice, in the real world conflict there are consequences to the lies. Lost crediblity is just one aspect. Eventually, everyone has a mother, brother, cousin, friend, etc. who is a walking testimony to our lies. At that point, positive propaganda is a hard thing to sell. When you still only have a corrupt and immoral leadership and chain of command behind that propaganda - it's impossible IMO. And it would require admission of lies and criminal behavior and consequences for those who perpetrated and recompense.

Do you see that happening anytime soon - with the Hillary's and Joe's harping on the Iraqis not "standing up" and doing their part?

Too long winded today but enjoyed your post. The Looming Tower (out in paperback now) is a very good start point IMO for some exploration of Zawahiri along the lines you (and Hoffman) have painted.

If terrorism is only theater, then why is Al Qaeda in Iraq doing so much suicide bombing when they can easily see there is no televised audience? Who is being influenced outside of Iraq?

More likely there is no top-down control structure and it's simply Al Qaeda followers who are improvising the only way they know -- as they've seen Palestinians do in Israel. After all, aren't they geographically closer to the West Bank than to Pakistan? If they're in the Al Jazeera viewing area they would be well informed of any and everything happening near or in Israel.

I'd say there are many militant jihadists and we inspire more every day without very presence. It's time to let Iraqis settle their own civil war and for us to retreat from the war zone, either to our desert bases. From there we can settle our own political position and decide whether to stay or retreat further.

"Townsend in that very same interview, after saying Bin Laden is impotent in a cave, then goes on to say that he is really calling the shots in Iraq, that he "tasks" al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda in Iraq to undertake operations, that he is using the Iraq war for recruitment and that we have to stay in Iraq solely so Bin Laden won't feel he's won."

Proof bin Laden tasks anything but goat milking?

PJ, you should subscribe to a newspaper or something, because if you think Bush and Cheney haven't had any troubles since Bin Laden's last tape 3 years ago, you've obviously missed out on a lot that's happened.

Mary: Indeed, The Looming Tower is on my table right next to my computer. I had read the sections on Zawahiri when they were originally published as articles in the New Yorker, as well as some stuff Paul Berman (who I used to like but who has gone off the deep end) wrote about Qutb for the Atlantic about four or five years ago, and everything I've read since has just filled in some gaps. But for one-stop shopping, absolutely, The Looming Tower is the place to go.

Mark: to assume nobody sees the results of the bombings, one would have to assume the Jihadis' audience doesn't have internet access. Obviously that's not the case, especially since most future Jihadis and terrorists are relatively well-educated, often with university degrees. Film of those bombings, along with film of civilian casualties and what are perceived as humiliations in Muslim societies, are the prime material for recruitment DVD and web sites.

Did I say there's a new tape every time?
I didn't think so.
But you have to admit that after the first couple of times, it's been very convenient timing for Shrub and Darth.

OBL hasn't done one of these tapes in 34 months. The idea that they come out because Bush is in trouble doesn't hold up.

The tape that showed up so conveniently before the 2004 election didn't hurt Bush, that's for sure. Bush and bin Ladin need each other, and each has helped the other. Whether or not this has been by design is arguable. I do think bin Ladin intended for Bush to be re-elected, and that was the intent behind the timing of the 2004 release.

So what's anybody going to do about anything? You didn't answer me, DH.

mimikatz: I think the problem is in the Senate. Time and again we've seen that we can get some halfway decent stuff through the House, and some of the members who had been holding out have moved a bit. I think there are two problems. First, you have the obvious problem of cloture in the Senate, with the Repubs blocking things. But you also have a cadre of weak-kneed Democrats who don't want to confront the President. Because it's hard or impossible to get something tough through the Senate, if Pelosi wants to get something through both chambers, she has to ratchet things down from what they center of the House caucus might want and cater to the right of the Senate Dem caucus. If they push something through the House that's tough, they have to whip the right side of the caucus to go along. Then it gets amended in the Senate, comes back to the House neutered, and then Pelosi et al have a pissed off left/center of the caucus, because they know what they passed and then have to back down from the confrontation, and the right of the caucus is pissed because they say and/or believe that they had to take a "tough vote" that didn't matter, because in the end it wasn't a tough bill that passed.

So I don't know what's going to change, unless the conciliators in the Senate wake up and become confrontational, or the House just says screw it, and they start pushing tough things in to the Senate and put the pressure on the Senate--Repubs AND Dems--to quit screwing around and put pressure on the president.

Seamus: I don't disagree with you. I think OBL/AQ see their strategic goals facilitated by Bush; in this most recent tape OBL as much as thanked Bush for his reaction in the Middle East. That's different from what others have suggested or insinuated, that these tapes come out when Bush wants or needs them, which is too neat. But is there a symbiotic relationship? Most definitely.

Thanks, DH. I've been getting a little depressed of late. Our own weak-kneed and weak headed DiFi is a prime example of what you describe.

I wish the Dems understood the concept of the strategic loss.

What I saw today on C-SPAN seems to indicate the House Dems actually ARE standing up (finally) and might be ready to stand together to call for a drawdown or outright exit.

Whether Senate Dems will do the same has yet to be seen.

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