Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On The One Hand...


Torture-lovers and constitutional rights-haters seem a little silent on this story:

Here we had a serious terrorist threat -- arguably the most important since 9/11 -- and an al Qaeda recruit who was poised to kill a lot of people. Obama administration officials thwarted Zazi's plan, took him into custody, read him his rights, and gave him a lawyer.

And the results couldn't have been better for the United States. Zazi will spend the rest of the his life behind bars, but only after cooperating with federal officials and becoming a valuable source of intelligence.


It's been my contention that Obama's policies on terrorism are much more rational and effective than Bush's ever were, and it seems there's evidence to support that position.

On the other hand...
[Afghanistan] is the longest war in American history. And it is a war for which there is no end in sight. And to my mind, it is a war that is utterly devoid of strategic purpose.
[....] I mean, if we could wave a magic wand tomorrow and achieve in Afghanistan all the purposes that General McChrystal would like us to achieve, would the Jihadist threat be substantially reduced as a consequence? And does anybody think that somehow, Jihadism is centered or headquartered in Afghanistan? When you think about it for three seconds, you say, "Well, of course, it's not. It is a transnational movement."
[...]They can come from Brooklyn. So the notion that somehow, because the 9/11 attacks were concocted in this place, as indeed they were, the notion that therefore, the transformation of Afghanistan will provide some guarantee that there won't be another 9/11 is patently absurd. Quite frankly, the notion that we can prevent another 9/11 by invading and occupying and transforming countries is absurd.
[...] And as with any other international criminal conspiracy, the proper response is a police effort. I mean, a ruthless, sustained, international police effort to identify the thugs, root out the networks and destroy it. Something that would take a long period of time and would no more succeed fully in eliminating the threat than the NYPD is able to fully eliminate criminality in New York City.


I think President Obama is far more thoughtful -- and correct -- about terrorism than President Cheney. And yet even he is not immune to political reality. I don't know if it's part of his calculation or not, but since every smart thing he does -- be it reducing nukes, getting agreements about fissile material, stopping torture -- is greeted by the RWS™ and teabaggers with claims he hates America, maybe he ought simply to do what's right in Afghanistan as well. You know damn well that there will be terrorist attacks here, and that if he sends a million troops there, or pulls them all out, closes Gitmo or builds ten more, it won't matter: to the RWS™ and the TBs, it'll be his fault. Heck, it will have been what he wanted.


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