Well are we safer or not?
Bush has repeatedly told us that we are safer now. Ok, but how do you reconcile that with Cheney's statement in Utah yesterday.
Cheney swings through Utah
.... Cheney said terrorists are as determined to destroy America as the "Axis powers" of Germany, Italy and Japan during World War II. Borrowing a quote from the 9-11 Commission's report on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 2001, the vice president said the terrorists are "sophisticated, patient, disciplined and lethal."
"This enemy is perfectly prepared to slaughter anyone man, woman and child to achieve its ends," Cheney said. "This is not an enemy we can reason with. This is an enemy we must vanquish."
So now they are comparing al Qaeda to Italy, Germany and Japan at the height of their powers. Not only does it contradict Bush, its stupid.
Juan Cole , who seems to me to be getting a little more angry had some good observations on this. He noted that about 13 million men served in the German Army between 1935-1945 and there were 55 million people killed in WWII. On the other hand, he puts the number of Arab Muslim fighters at a few thousand. Note he is not counting Iraqi insurgents who for the most part are fighting to rid Iraq of an occupying force. I had seen earlier reports that had put the number of radical Muslim fighters at about 20k scattered over about 60 countries. He calls Cheney's remarks a "Himalayan exaggeration". In addition, he doesn't think that the over all quality of alQaeda members, with respect to carrying out complicated terrorist attacks, is very high. If Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid are any indication, a lot of them are one step away from from collecting old soda cans on the street in their grocery carts while mumbling about the radios the government implanted in their asses. .........September 11 was possible mainly because Ramzi Bin al-Shibh lucked out and managed to recruit some high-powered engineering Ph.D. students in Hamburg who knew something serious about kinetic energy. The organization does not have a lot of persons of that caliber, though Cheney has done everything in his power to make them easier for al-Qaeda to recruit.
Now Juan Cole asks the real question. The question that I have, though, is why, if Dick Cheney is in fact so desperately worried about al-Qaeda, he hasn't done more about it
1. The 20k US troops have not captured any high level al Qaeda, Pakistan has.
2. We've done nothing to stop the sale of $2B worth of heroin, some of the profits have to be going to al Qaeda.
3. Usamah Bin Laden and Aiman al-Zawahiri who planned 9/11 are still free
More questions by Juan Cole:
So let's get this straight. The US has 138,000 troops stuck in Iraq, which was no danger to the US homeland. They are mainly fighting local clansmen who had never before had any beef with the US, prior to the American invasion of their country.
If Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are the SS of the age, then why aren't 138,000 US troops combing Waziristan for them? Why haven't they been captured?
If al-Qaeda is the equivalent of the WW II Axis, why didn't the US liaise with Moroccan and Spanish security to prevent the Madrid bombings? How many FBI and CIA operatives do we even have in Rabat and Casablanca? Does Cheney even know the name of the Moroccan minister of intelligence? There is no evidence that he is making the fight against al-Qaeda any sort of top priority.
He tells us that the obvious answer is that Cheney is lying yet again. No surprise here. The real priority is controlling Iraq for its oil and potential for corporate profits. Professor Cole says that what needs to be done is developing a serious counter-insurgency plan for the Middle East that wins hearts and minds and deals effectively with asymmetrical threats. Don't hold your breath. With news being controlled more every day and Negroponte and Allawi running things the plan is to exert brutal force until the insurgents are dead or we've been defeated (less likely). There are rumors of Russia sending troops in October, I'm sure given their previous track record they would have no trouble getting with the plan.
My hope would be that the mixed messages of Bush and Cheney would first confuse and then scare off the few undecided middle ground voters left. The hard core supporters have no trouble holding completely contrary messages in their head with out any noticable conflict. After Kerry wins the hard core Rethugs will have to be sent to re-education camps where they will be forced to study the Bill of Rights and the Constitution ;-)