Thursday, September 28, 2006
It seems that Andy McCarthy's fine work as a federal prosecutor has come to the attention of Al Qaeda in Iraq:
An audio tape has been released apparently showing al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Hamza al-Muhajir making a plea to supporters to capture foreign hostages.
Hamza urged his followers to undertake the kidnappings in a bid to try and free a Muslim cleric jailed in the United States.
"I call on every holy fighter in Iraq to strive during this holy month [Ramadan] ... to capture some dogs of the Christians so that we can liberate our imprisoned sheikh," said the speaker, who has been identified as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.
It is thought the comments were referring to Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman who was jailed over charges linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York.
As most of you know, Andy McCarthy prosecuted the "blind sheikh" before he became a pundit and blogger (at The Corner). How many of us can say that we've actually pissed off al Qaeda? Cool.
I do have a question, though. If al Qaeda's exploitation of the Iraq war to promote terrorism constitutes evidence that we should not have invaded Iraq, is its exploitation of our prosecution of terrorists, also to promote terrorism, evidence that we should not prosecute terrorists? If not, why not?
"is its exploitation of our prosecution of terrorists to promote terrorism evidence that we should not prosecute terrorists? If not, why not?"
Great question and one that gets to the heart of the matter, I think.
The answer is No. Just because al Qaeda might try to exploit prosecutions against them for their crimes, doesn't mean people will buy it.
On 9/12, the world was pissed off at al Qaeda. Wanted justice against these terrorists. Supported us in our efforts to capture and prosecute these criminal thugs. If we had stuck to searching for and prosecuting al Qaeda, we'd still have world support.
Instead, we pursued a questionably legal war. Al Qaeda can and does exploit that invasion because people around the world are wise enough to know that Iraq's invasion had little basis in WMDs, opposition to terrorism or any actual threat. When innocent people start dying at our hands in the prosecution of questionably legal and - according to the majority of the world - unquestionably immoral invasion, the terrorists gain credibility. Maybe the US IS the Great Satan. They are at the least a rogue and dangerous nation.
THIS is what opposition to the Iraq Invasion is all about. NOT prosecution of al Qaeda. EVERYONE supports legal prosecution of dangerous people and al Qaeda can't use that to their advantage unless distrust and distaste of the US grows to such an extent that we can do no right. A very real danger given our current policy.
Or so the Just Peacemakers and, I'd argue, the majority of the world believes.
...is its exploitation of our prosecution of terrorists to promote terrorism evidence that we should not prosecute terrorists?
It could be argued that we simply should not allow terrorists such as the "blind sheik" to live. If this guy had been given the death penalty, there would be no impetus towards any further acts of terrorism meant to spring him. Alternatively, we could hold such people under a suspended death penalty to be imposed when necessary to serve as a deterrent to attempts at just this type of terrorist coercion.
"If al Qaeda's exploitation of the Iraq war to promote terrorism constitutes evidence that we should not have invaded Iraq, is its exploitation of our prosecution of terrorists, also to promote terrorism, evidence that we should not prosecute terrorists? If not, why not?"
Why not? Because this is a fallacious logical construct. People make decisions by comparing the costs and benefits of each potential outcome, not by comparing a single cost, in isolation, between different decisions.
If you still don't see it I offer you this example:
Q: If the irritation of my anal sphincter by the eating of too much granola constitutes evidence that I should stop eating too much granola, is the irritation of my sphincter from wiping with toilet paper evidence I should stop wiping? If not, why not?
Thus it is formally proven, that I wouldn't wipe my ass with that rhetoric.
Dan Trabue's response is based on a very narrow analysis of this conflict. In reading his comment I get the impression that Al Qaeda is, in Dan's view, the only Islam inspired threat we face.
To me Al Qaeda is symptomatic of a huge dysfunction in the arab/muslim culture. That dysfunction is so deep and so pervasive that simply limiting our response to Al Qaeda would not be effective.
Now we are literally in the heart of the region. We have a huge presence and a huge impact. the Middle east apple cart was overturned.
Getting from the deep dysfunction that lead to 9/11 to a culture that can effectively co exist with the rest of the world will be a long tough effort. it will require military, diplomatic and social initiatives.
the good people of Finland, for example, may demonstrate disdain for our Iraq venture, but I don't recall any overt action or even threat against them. The Islamic republic of Iran doesn't have a "hate Finland" day. The Iranians do, however, have a hate America day.
it is foolish to base our foreign policy on the vagaries of worldwide public opinion. Rather we must look rationally at the facts and the dynamics and make the choices that are deemed best for America and Americans.
It is my opinion that the dyfunctional hatred demonstrated by the Arab/muslim people would exist irrespective of what we in America do. Reading OBL's 1998 Fatwa makes it clear that the litany of grievances was long and growing well before we toppled the Taliban in Kabul and deposed Saddam in B-dad.
Iraq looms as a central theatre in this global war. It was a good strategic decision to take this ground. If the Islamic radicals use it as an excuse for murder so be it. They hardly need an excuse in any case.
Lanky Bastard's granola/sphincter analogy is perhaps unintentionally apt. To continue along those lines, seems to me we've been wiping with sandpaper....might be time to look around for something a bit more gentle yet still absorbent. I'm just saying. Though I think I already hear Mr. Rumsfeld saying "you go to war with the toilet paper you have".
PS -- for what it's worth, in some cultures (Thailand comes to mind), they don't use paper at all. They use their hands and lots and lots of water. Sounds disgusting at first, but after the initial shock, the net results are actually pretty clean. I have no idea, however, what this particular method would represent in our metaphor here.
Well you do have to be pretty mindful about what you do with your left hand. Many opportunities for unintentional rudeness. Hmmmm...sounds like yet another potential metaphor for our current geo-political situation, but again, not sure what it is yet.
Dear (ahem) Sir,
I do apologize for the formal tone, but when one couples the rhetorical to the scattological, care must be taken to avoid being crude.
Enough of that. This particular logical structure is easily reduced to absurdity. Beyond that, it was just a pun. Either have fun with it or roll your eyes and move on. I'm already ashamed for having distracted from the substantive discussion that Tiger had no doubt sought. Sorry Tiger, straight to the gutter, and this one's my fault.
In the type of asymetrical war which al Qaeda and the rest of Salafist Islam wishes to fight, why would you be surprised at such an action as taking hostages to ransom for Rahman, Ramzi Yusef, etc.?
The PLO did this with Israel for years, and they are the archetype for much of the modern 'asymetrical' warfare.
Did you expect them to fight 'fair', like abide by any of the Geneva Conventions or something?
So yes, in regards to the internal logic of modern asymetrical warfare, taking high value prisoners of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc., would mean you should expect hostages and ransom/freedom demands.
Where have all you people been for the last 30 years?
If al Qaeda's exploitation of the Iraq war to promote terrorism constitutes evidence that we should not have invaded Iraq, is its exploitation of our prosecution of terrorists, also to promote terrorism, evidence that we should not prosecute terrorists? If not, why not?
I'm all in favor of ceasing legal prosecution of terrorists, if it means just killing the b******s before they can lawyer up.