Showing posts with label Al Qaeda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Qaeda. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Tough Day for Extremists

During a number of interviews on his stateside trip, Hassan Rouhani has made many bold statements regarding the future of Iran and its place in the world. But the one that has everyone buzzing is his description of the Holocaust as a “crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews” He went further, calling it “reprehensible and condemnable.”

It's always special when a religious extremist can admit reality. I'm forever holding out hope that our own American Taliban can begin doing that (although I'm certainly not holding my breath). But this admittance is clearly the result of Iran feeling the pressure from the rest of the world in terms of sanctions. Of course, his statements will obviously send the extremists in his own country into full mouth foam. How dare he admit that the Jews were not at fault for something?

And our own moonbats here in the US probably ran screaming to their pillow for a long sob. What is the world coming to when all the bestest bad guys start acting all nice and shit?

Ah well, time to go demonize the liberals again. Look out! They're trying to steal our guns!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty

It's Oscar season so I thought I'd sprinkle in some posts over the next few weeks until the ceremony with my thoughts on the Best Picture nominees. First up, is the most recent film I saw Zero Dark Thirty.

The film tells the story of how Osama bin Laden was ultimately found and killed. Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Point Break) brings a gritty realism to the lens and the film often feels like a police procedural. As with The Hurt Locker, long periods of quiet analysis are abruptly interrupted with shocking and very graphic violence. In many ways, it's two films. The first two hours are the intelligence work that went into finding him (laced with various terrorist attacks over the years) and the 40 minutes are the raid on the compound. The last section was my favorite part. The actors playing the SEAL guys were fantastic and the raid itself was positively gripping.

Here's Official Trailer #2

Of the in the films nominated, it's definitely in the top three and I highly recommend seeing it. Like Lincoln, it is an historical piece and one for the first decade of the 21st century that ends with death of one of the planet's deadliest human beings.

The controversy around the film was predictable. First, it was too political and the Right didn't want it released before the election so as to help the president. So, the studio caved and released it in December. Then the Right loved it when they saw all the torture scenes and blew loads in their shorts. That's when the left got pissed and said that it advocated torture. My take on it was it stayed pretty neutral. There were people in the film that supported torture and thought it worked and people that didn't. Ultimately, it was a relaxing meal and being nice that got the initial guy to talk. This jibes with what my grandfather did during World War II when he interrogated Japanese in the Pacific. They got their best information when they gave them food and shelter. There have also been some moaning about intelligence leaks from the Right but the information in the film is all public knowledge.

If you are heading out to see this year's noms, put this one at the top of your list!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are We Normal?

Eleven years after the 9-11 attacks, I'm wondering if we are normal again.

Obviously, we have severely incapacitated Al Qaeda's ability to carry out large scale attacks. Every week brings news of yet another major figure killed in an airstrike. Osama bin Laden is long gone and it really seems like most of the things we were told were going to happen (suicide bombers in shopping malls, WMD attacks) have not come to pass.

I have to admit that I feel pretty satisfied with how national security issues have been handled in the last four years. In fact, I think we owe a big part of how secure we are to everyday people who, since the attacks on September 11, carry with them a built in awareness that was not there before the attacks. This is particularly true in New York City. 

In this sense, we are normal because paying more attention to the details around us has become part of our daily lives...although people at the gym still think I'm nuts when I point out large, unattended black duffel bags. I suppose my time in Paris in the late 80s/early 90s will continue to have an effect on me. So, I suppose normal is a relative term.

Still, I can't help but feel an enormous amount of frustration and sadness on this day which, honestly, I think is going to continue for every subsequent September 11. This recent article details a level of incompetence that ended up costing lives and not just on 9-11. The conspiracy theories have gotten to be so outlandish and, quite frankly, in very poor taste that I have Facebook friends now making fun of people who don't believe in them. Worse, they poke fun at the relatives of the victims of the attacks simply because their self-righteous paranoia won't allow them to admit fault. And then there are the people who simply ignore this day and continue focusing on their shallow and vapid existence...I don't get it....

I guess I sound bitter but that's the taste that this day has always brought to my mouth. We're not normal but maybe we never have been. And, unlike they teach us kindergarten, sometimes that's not a good thing.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Promised and Delivered

As I write this, we have just learned that the president will shortly address the nation after he has made a surprise trip to Afghanistan and signed a long term agreement with Hamad Karzai, president of Afghanistan, regarding US involvement in that country.

He took the time to address the troops  and thanked them for their service to our country, leaving little doubt that on the issues of national security and foreign policy, his record has been stellar.

As promised, he turned our attention away from Iraq and towards an area of the world that has been a hotbed of international terrorism. On his watch, Al Qaeda has largely been decimated. Their ability to carry out significant, 9-11 style attacks, has largely eroded thanks to the president's efforts in this region of the world. bin Laden and Al-Awlaki aside, the increased drone attacks have taken out scores of Al Qaeda senior leadership. In short, we are indeed safer at home.

But his foreign policy cred doesn't end there. He signed a nuclear arms treaty with Russia, enacted tougher sanctions against Iran, shown no hesitation in dealing with Somali pirates, and sent 2,000 marines to Australia to counter rising Chinese influence in the region.

More importantly, he has improved the United States standing in the world which, in today's increasingly changing and competitive global market, goes quite a long way. One of the main reasons I voted for and support the president was because of his promised and delivered foreign policy.

As I predicted, he has not disappointed. Well done sir!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Well Done

When it comes to the issue of national security, President Obama has proven (once again) that he has been enormously effective in eliminating threats to this nation. In a significant new blow to al-Qaida, U.S. airstrikes in Yemen on Friday killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American militant cleric who became a prominent figure in the terror network's most dangerous branch.

Al-Awlaki was directly responsible for planning the Christmas bomb attack that was foiled in 2009. Al-Awlaki had also exchanged up to 20 emails with U.S. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the man behind the Ft. Hood rampage. Hasan initiated the contacts, drawn by al-Awlaki's Internet sermons, and approached him for religious advice.

This is one of the major reasons I voted for President Obama. The strategy by the Bush Administration against Al Qaeda was clearly the wrong one. This new strategy that combines intelligence gathering with surgical attacks has dealt Al Qaeda several serious blows since President Obama took office. It's ability to carry out any sort of significant attacks has been greatly marginalized and it's due the shift in policy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another Significant Blow

As the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, I am very heartened to see that the people who attacked us on that day are being taken apart. One of the main reasons why I voted for Barack Obama was his promise to focus more heavily on AfPak (where Al Qaeda actually is) and alter the strategy for dismantling their operational capabilities. His policies have been tremendously effective and much more successful than his predecessor.

Osama bin Laden is dead and the data we seized from his compound that day has led us to strike another crippling blow to Al Qaeda. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, Al Qaeda's #2, was killed in a recent missile strike in Waziritstan along with four other Al Qaeda members. From the article.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month that al-Qaida's defeat was within reach if the U.S. could mount a string of successful attacks."Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them," Panetta said, "because I do believe that if we continue this effort we can really cripple al-Qaida as a major threat."

Al Qaeda's defeat within reach? Amazing. There can be no denying that the Obama administration deserves the credit for this and I think that we may very well see Zawahari taken out by next year as well.

Once again, well done!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Putting Some Things To Bed

Let's put a few things to bed on this beautiful Friday, shall we?

First, let's examine the information we have thus far as to whether waterboarding led to Osama bin Laden.

Hassan Ghul, a Pakistani born detainee, was subjected to some EITs (sleep deprivation, slapping, nudity) and gave up the name of the courier. He was not waterboarded.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libbi gave false information about the courier after they were waterboarded repeatedly. Months later, during routine questioning, KSM still gave false information about the courier. It was these lies that raised the suspicions of the investigators and set them on a course towards doing the bulk of the effort which was (ahem) police work. Thank you, John Kerry.

I know you guys simply must win the argument on every discussion and continually be "right" but, as of this moment, I see nothing to convince me that "waterboarding worked and that's why we caught bin Laden." Grow the fuck up.

Speaking of growing up, bin Lade is dead. It has now been confirmed by the people who lived at the compound AND Al Qaeda. We don't need to see his body nor use it as a warning. The Navy Seals were warning enough. The last thing I would want to do is tell the father, mother, wife, husband, son, daughter of a member of our armed forces that their loved one was killed because of an attack resulting from release of the death photo.

More importantly, the non release of the death photo does not mean he is secretly alive. If he was, don't you think he'd be making us look foolish by parading around the airwaves? In addition, he hasn't been secretly dead since 2001 either. President Bush would not have kept that a secret as it would've certainly helped him during his administration.

So, enough with the silliness, folks. Let's focus on using the intel that we now have to hunt down the rest of these guys. It looks to me like they wanted to attempt something on the tenth anniversary this year with trains. I wonder what else bin Laden's hard drive will reveal?:)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Got Him!

This blog started as an email list back in the days immediately following the September 11th attacks as a result of trying to make sense of them. Eventually, it became this blog in May of 2005. Throughout those times, I expressed a great deal of frustration at how Osama bin Laden got away at Tora Bora and was never caught.

Yesterday, thanks to our special forces under the direction of our president, we finally got him. Osama bin Laden is dead.

Man, I've waited a long time to write that sentence. Words cannot express how I feel right now. It's been a long ten years and in so many ways I am relieved.

One of the main reasons why I supported President Obama during the election of 2008 were his assertions that he would refocus efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan. We saw that right away with the increased drone attacks inside of Pakistan. Now, we have seen that his strategy has paid off.

Apparently, the US received intelligence that bin Laden was at a compound outside of Islamabad last August. On Friday, that intelligence was confirmed and President Obama gave the go order. Late yesterday, our time, bin Laden was shot in the head and killed along with a couple of bodyguards. His body was secured and buried at sea.

The impromptu celebrations at the White House, Times Square, and the site of the World Trade Center warmed my heart. Although we quibble often in this country, at times like this we can see how united we truly are.

This is a major victory for all of us, folks. We should all be proud!