On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we’ve got to ask ourselves: Did the terrorists win? Or did America win? And what did those attacks do to us? Considerations after the jump. [Read more...]
Somebody hacked into the Twitter account of the Associated Press, no less, and put out word that there were explosions in the White House that injured the president. That sent the stock market into a tailspin, but it recovered when the story turned out to be a hoax.
Charges have been dropped for the Elvis impersonator who was accused of sending ricin-laced letters to the president, a senator, and a judge. Investigators have another suspect, a rival of the first one.
The surviving Boston Marathon bomber was charged for the federal crime of using weapons of mass destruction. He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. He was read his rights. The charge indicated that he may face the death penalty. (Massachusetts does not have the death penalty–though state legislators unsuccessfully tried to re-instate it for the bomber–but the federal government can still execute people.)
Here is a fascinating account of the police work that led to the identification and apprehension of the Boston Marathon bombers: Police, citizens and technology factor into Boston bombing probe – The Washington Post.
The legal issue now is whether “Jahar,” the surviving terrorist, should be considered an “enemy combatant” or whether he should be given all of the legal rights to which he is entitled as an American citizen, including the right to remain silent. What do you think?
I saw Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Earlier, the word was that it would be released just before the election, which had conservatives up in arms, fearing that a cinematic treatment of President Obama’s victory was Hollywood’s plot to get him re-elected. But there is nothing triumphalistic about this movie. Opponents of the war on terrorism will find lots of material in scenes of torture and brutality (as in killing terrorists in front of their children as they cry). And yet supporters of the war on terrorism will also find lots of material in the opening recording of phone calls from World Trade Center victims right before their deaths (talk about 911 calls), the continuing acts of terrorism throughout the movie, and in the heroism of both the troops and the CIA operatives who brought Osama bin Laden to justice. I think Zero Dark Thirty is what an objective treatment of a controversial issue by a work of art looks like. [Read more...]
The war in Iraq is pretty much over and the war in Afghanistan is winding down, bringing to an end our wars sparked by 9/11–right? Well, not exactly. It turns out the drone war may go on for at least another ten years. The Obama administration has put together a systematic, on-going kill list. But in an Orwellian touch, it’s not called a kill list; rather, it’s called a “disposition matrix.” From Greg Miller of the Washington Post:
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”
The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.
Although the matrix is a work in progress, the effort to create it reflects a reality setting in among the nation’s counterterrorism ranks: The United States’ conventional wars are winding down, but the government expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years.
Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.
“We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” a senior administration official said. “It’s a necessary part of what we do. . . . We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America.’ ”
That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism. Targeting lists that were regarded as finite emergency measures after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now fixtures of the national security apparatus. The rosters expand and contract with the pace of drone strikes but never go to zero.
Meanwhile, a significant milestone looms: The number of militants and civilians killed in the drone campaign over the past 10 years will soon exceed 3,000 by certain estimates, surpassing the number of people al-Qaeda killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
With that milestone, if we practiced the old “eye-for-an-eye” collectivist revenge codes, we could call it even and declare peace. But the killings are going to go on and on for another ten years! I am astonished that it’s liberal Democrats who are doing this. George McGovern, who passed away this week, took the Democratic party, for better or for worse, in the direction of peace. Aren’t any of you Democrats bothered by Obama’s drone war? I wish the moderator at the last debate had asked about this topic. I’d be curious if Romney would continue this “disposition matrix” or if he really is the peace candidate. I mean, it’s good to protect America against our enemies and all, and drone strikes don’t put our military men and women in danger. But while we are attacking people overseas with these weapons, we are at war and not peace.