US Intelligence Failed To Heed Warnings

As Jeralyn wrote about earlier, the evidence is beginning to point to a serious intelligence failure regarding the latest attempted terror attack. Remember the smoking gun delivered to President Bush in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing?

Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.

Apparently, there was something similar, though never delivered to the President, overlooked by our intelligence agencies:

The National Security Agency four months ago intercepted conversations among leaders of Al Qaeda in Yemen discussing a plot to use a Nigerian man for a coming terrorist attack[. . .]

After that, "the father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, now accused of the attempted bombing, visited the United States Embassy in Nigeria to express concerns about his son’s radicalization. The father [. . .] sought help from American and Nigerian security officials when cellphone text messages from his son revealed that he was in Yemen and had become a fervent radical. “Look at the texts he’s sending. He’s a security threat. [. . .] They promised to look into it. They didn’t take him seriously.”

Imagine if Mohammed Atta's father had delivered a warning prior to 9/11. Would there be defenders of such a failure? There was, as the President has said, a systemic failure. denial of this obvious fact is counterproductive.

Speaking for me only

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    Not just counterproductive. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:44:08 PM EST
    It also endangers lives as evidenced by the fact that the kid did get on a plane and he did try to blow it up.

    None of this is rocket science really.

    I've always said that if the 17 of the 19 9/11 hijackers that the government knew were bad guys well before the event had been denied their visas, we probably would not have seen that horrible day unfold as it did.

    The local DC news reported in the days after the tragedy that they were known quantities, but had been allowed in so that officials could surveil them - but they promptly lost track of their movements.  Why not just bar them from entry and play the spy games outside the US?  Never did understand that.  Probably never will.

    It is not rocket science (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:08:28 PM EST
    It is tedious.  It is unglamorous.  And it is not rocket science.  Count me as beginning to get really P.O.ed about this and the giant FAIL on the CIA side in Nigeria.  It is true though that the Bush administration just allowed Al Qaeda to run and grow rampant while they drug us all through the mud in Iraq.  Thanks Cheney, thanks Dubya.....I won't be returning the favor.

    It is my understanding some of the (none / 0) (#70)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:15:22 PM EST
    9 11 conspirators were in the U.S. on student visas, but had overstayed.  The U.S. government subsequesntly tried to set up a system to track expired student visa holders but announced it was not possible.  Did not get the cooperation needed from institutions of higher learning.  Big shrug.

    Which is completely ignorant when you think (none / 0) (#75)
    by cawaltz on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:40:54 PM EST
    about it. We passed laws that require campuses to allow recruiters on campus to get federal funding but we aren't or can't pass one that requires schools to keep a list of students who are foreign nationals here on a visa?

    This reminds me (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:50:13 PM EST
    not so much of the infamous PDB (which was pretty darn non-specific, to be honest), but of the less-famous "Islamic Extremist Learns To Fly" briefing received by George Tenet in August 2001.  In fact, Tenet was the highest-ranking official to see BOTH the aforementioned briefing and the bin Laden warning, and as we all know he got a medal for his efforts.

    It seems clear to me that we have an entity (the NCTC) that is supposed to be putting these pieces together in the wake of 9/11, and we need to figure out why it failed to do so in this case and how we can fix it.  It does sound like a systemic failure to me.

    The relevant bureaucracies can be expected to get defensive and go into a finger-pointing mode at this stage, and I hope Obama keeps his promise to get to the bottom of it and fix things with no excuses.

    Well, the full body scanner manufacturers (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:09:29 PM EST
    among others who enjoy big government contracts from the TSA would rather not have this story be about visas and incompetent bureaucrats.  They would prefer that the notion that all counter-terrorism measures should happen at the airport.  It is not surprising that some people are spinning this story - there is actually a lot of money at stake.

    I wonder who lobbies (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:13:27 PM EST
    for the body scanner manufacturer?  It's beginning to look like whatever entity manufactures puffers doesn't have a lobbyist.

    I wonder if the body scanner (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:32:29 PM EST
    could be monitored by a radiologist and do double-duty: screen for weapons and tumors.

    That's how (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:34:51 PM EST
    They're going to save money with the health-care plan!

    Healthcare reform (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:36:45 PM EST
    Of course, I missed it again.

    I want to make it clear that I am not (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:39:23 PM EST
    raising the contractor influence issue just to complain about lobbyists or whatever though.  I raise it because they play a role not only in the spin, but also in how our government makes decisions about our national security apparatus.

    From what I understand, the State Department has suffered from some measure of under-funding while we've spent billions upon billions on stuff and junk much of which is privately administered or manufactured.  It is far cheaper and more efficient, to make sure that State Department officials have the resources to properly review visas and other data they receive in their posts overseas than it is to be patting down every wheel chair bound granny that attempts to fly to see her grandchildren for the holidays.

    I do believe that airport security is necessary, but I really believe that it is wrong to place so much of the burden on that part of the system.


    There isn't a decision made... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:45:59 PM EST
    in the halls of government that doesn't boil down to dollars and cents and who is getting them...not a one.

    Nope and all the campaign (none / 0) (#29)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:51:39 PM EST
    finance reform in the world won't actually change that either.  It might impact it, but it would never actually change it.  Insiders always have an edge and as long as we are privatizing a good portion of our national security apparatus, we will see this kind of influence remain high.  The State Department can't lobby Congress for additional funding.  The private contractors OTOH can lobby the government.  That dynamic alone makes a huge impact on how our government is run these days.

    The big lobbyist is Michael Chertoff (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by shoephone on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:27:29 PM EST
    After leaving his gummint job at Homeland Security, he co-founded The Chertoff Group, a consulting firm which represents body scanner manufacturers.



    All I have to say (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:09:34 PM EST
    is that it's just fortunate that the would-be crotch-bomber was incompetent, and the passengers on that flight were alert (thank you, Dutch guy!).  At least we won't have to listen to someone from this administration channeling Condi Rice and having to say "I don't think anybody could have predicted that......"

    Obama (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:19:04 PM EST
    already channeled Condi on that years ago on Hardball...

    MATTHEWS: Let me give you a scene that may face you in the next year or two, where the national security adviser calls you at 3:00 in the morning and tells that you a couple of jet -- commercial jets have been hijacked. And they believe it is al Qaeda. And, as we know, al Qaeda always tries a second time. They tried for the World Trade Center after '93. They came back in '01.

    They're heading for the Capitol. What do you do?

    OBAMA: Well, look, I am hesitant to engage in hypotheticals like that, because...

    MATTHEWS: But it has been predictable.

    OBAMA: Oh, well, the--I don't think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don't know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.

    Blechhhh (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:33:08 PM EST
    Too bad for Obama, and good for you, jbindc, for finding that quote.  It's just as well that the other side seems equally incompetent.  It would seem to me that the task of finding a would-be "suicide bomber" of any stripe would tend to select for delusional idiots- really smart people won't want to kill themselves in the process, they would want to make sure that they live, but that the "enemy" dies.  (Who was it who said that the point of warfare isn't to die for your country, but to make sure that the other guy dies for his?)  I realize that there are plenty of "suicide bombers" in the Middle East (Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc) who succeed, but all they have to do is allow themselves to be strapped with already-prepared material, provided by smarter people who don't seem all that keen to die themselves (but are more than willing to get some fool to do it for them).  

    Exactly so (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:49:41 PM EST
    Mohammed Attas and Ziad Jarrahs are pretty rare-- sane and very competent guys who are also willing to blow themselves up.  I suspect that's the main reason we've only seen one 9/11.  Not that it couldn't happen again, obviously, but the smart guys who know how to carry stuff like that out on the ground want to be managers, not suicidal worker bees.

    It's fascinating to listen to/read the cell phone communications between the Mumbai shooters and their controller in Pakistan and hear the story of the one guy they caught.  That was a film on HBO subsequetly repeated a couple of times on CNN.  Well worth looking for if it shows up again.


    You're right, gyrfalcon (none / 0) (#35)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:18:43 PM EST
    We're very lucky that there haven't been more Attas and Jarrahs.  I've always been somewhat morbidly fascinated by the "suicide bomber" types, and why this seems to be a peculiarly radical-Islam thing (at least, in modern times).  Although the Palestinian Christians (who do exist, although many of them have managed to leave the area) live under the same heavy-handed strictures as the Muslim Palestinians, to my knowledge, not one Palestinian suicide-bomber has been Christian.  The IRA executed acts of terrorism, but I'm not aware that any of them voluntarily blew themselves up.  Same with the radical anti-Viet Nam war groups here, the Baader-Meinhof gang, the Irgun and the Lehi (Stern Group) at the founding of Israel.... they all seemed to be composed of people who were willing to take chances with their lives, it's true, but produced no-one (or very few, if that) willing to blow themselves up in the process.  It cannot be only the promise of "72 virgins" in Paradise, because there have been female suicide-bombers, and as far as I know, they're not promised the same type of "eternal reward."  Does anyone have a grasp on this?  I would truly like to know all of your thoughts.

    The martyrdom role (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by christinep on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:56:53 PM EST
    Before saying anything, my qualifier here is: I'm sure that there are multiple, interrelated, etc. etc. reasons for the suicide angle.  (Tho, remember the Kamikaze pilots--an organized, but suicidal--group in the WWII Pacific theatre.  And, the burning monks in 60s Viet Nam.) Perhaps, the strong emphasis on martyrdom as a highest calling provides a foundational base for certain Muslim sects. The Shi'a and the imitation of Ali?
    Although many early Christian martyrs have been canonized and considered Saints, the emphasis on martyrdom there has always been separated from hurtling oneself in a deliberate life-taking way (which, theologically, is condemned and not rewarded.) If certain radical Muslim teachers are now teaching that suicidal actions (including killing others not so inclined) is a rewarded sacrifice in a jihad sense, what an example of reward, punishment, and behavior modification!

    Kamikazee pilots is an excellent (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:07:18 PM EST
    example, though I wouldnt lump the Vietnamese monks in there: that was about ending war and suffering, not perpetuating it by causing MORE suffering.

    Thanks to all of you (none / 0) (#48)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:17:55 PM EST
    for your thoughts.  The "suicide bomber" thing continues to flummox me, and I agree that it would be well if we could get a handle on this.

    But we've lost track (none / 0) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:27:53 PM EST
    of the fact that suicide is not the object.  Inflicting terrible damage on the enemy is the object.  If you're powerless against a mighty and technologically adept, and now very vigilant force, pretty much the only way you can do that is by carrying a homemade bomb on your person and setting it off.

    This kind of terrorism is what otherwise powerless people resort to. (Putting aside for the moment the arguments about state terrorism, such as predator drones, etc.)

    There has absolutely been a cult of martyrdom around suicide bombers that's grown up after the fact, encouraged and fed by the puppet-masters so that they'll have a continuing supply of volunteers.

    It's frankly pretty hard to figure how something on the scale of 9/11 could have been carried out without people willing to die in the execution.

    They tried first, remember, with a non-suicide bomb in the basement of the WTC.


    They're not powerless at all (2.00 / 0) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:43:41 PM EST
    They could just quit supporting people that call for the stoning of women, hanging gays, "honor killings" of girls that won't marry their 70 year old cousins back in the old country, etc., etc.

    I bet peace would break out in a New York Minute.

    But anyway you look at it, the attackers have been vastly middle class and above. That tells me their is something in the culture that leaves them vulnerable to calls sacrifice.


    Inflicting Damage (none / 0) (#87)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:32:07 PM EST

    Thanks for your edifying post about the purpose and etymology of suicide bombers by pointing out 9/11 was their answer to a highly evolved techological country by those of limited resources who wanted to destroy.  You are right about 9/11 in that it could never have happened unless people were willing to die.


    Self-martydom also is something (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:16:40 PM EST
    different.  Martyrdom for the faith is applauded in those gosh-awful stories inculcated in a Catholic upbringing -- but done to the martyrs, not by them.

    What is the name of the Jewish settlement (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:30:38 PM EST
    atop the mesa in Southern Israel? Didn't all the people there under siege commit suicide rather than be captured?

    Masada (none / 0) (#74)
    by mollypitcher on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 09:06:24 PM EST
    In their case, it was a case of d-i-y before the conquering Romans do it for you.

    Masada (none / 0) (#88)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:33:36 PM EST
    It was die or certainly be killed. This was not suicide.



    War By Suicide (none / 0) (#76)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 07:20:55 PM EST
    There are many examples of suicide as the extreme and pure sacrifice of oneself in pursuing a higher goal.  All through history there have been conflicts of varying kinds but......

    How much difference is there in going to war knowing there is more than a 50% chance of being killed, but the soldiers go?

    Martyrdon exists in varying idealogies to express pure patriotism, be it a suicide bomber, or a willing soldier going into a dangerous war zone because in his/her mind they are risking their life for the common good?

    The different ways of suicide are cultural, religious, economic, idealogical, or all of these.

    Suicide bombers are expedient for poor and repressive countries, and religiousity is used to promote destruction of the perceived enemy.

    Drafting fighters for fighting in 'Nam with most certainly facing high fatalities  is allowing someone to coerce one's self into becoming  a killing machine. The chance of dying operates as a choice to sacrifice  human life.

    Suicide bombers are doing the same thing but in a way that's expedient for them.

    Chess is war.  But all other wars imply the conscious act of facing death either by choice or coersion [drafts].

    So, ALL war is suicide. It's the menus that vary.
    Like religious wars and wars that "save us from Hitler, etc].  Called "good wars".  By us.

    There are dozens of historical examples of wars that depict sacrifice and suicide.  Some suicides in our own culture are called, "Acts of extreme bravery".   Google.


    Christians do not countenance suicide (none / 0) (#37)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:25:22 PM EST
    and especially Catholics.  That could be a difference?

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:53:35 PM EST
    I've never read the Koran, but supposedly suicide is verboten according to mainstream Islam as well.

    Are hunger strikes a form of suicide? (none / 0) (#42)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:55:49 PM EST
    Do names like Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes ring a bell in your head, CC?

    Sure -- and that was denounced (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:13:59 PM EST
    by the Catholic church in Ireland, quite clearly.  Or did not those ring a bell in your head?  (From what I've seen of you here, something is going on in your head. . . .)

    I don't see a similar level of denunciations in these cases now.  I actually see some clerics encouraging these suicide attacks.  

    So I think, Steve M, that there must be quite a split in the Muslim faith in practice, as well -- but also a split among the leadership at the top.


    Well (none / 0) (#54)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:38:37 PM EST
    the crazies are quite capable at rewriting religious doctrine to suit their own purposes, as with the folks who think they are doing the Lord's work by murdering abortion providers.  My impression is that there isn't any serious theological divide over the Islamic view of suicide - it's pretty clear to rational people, I guess, that Allah disapproves - but the violent fundamentalists have reinterpreted the doctrine to suit their purposes.

    I think one important difference is that the Catholic Church is more of a top-down organization than you'll find in just about any other religion.  So people with radical views of Christianity are less likely to rise to a position where their word counts for anything.  A Catholic priest who encouraged or condoned the murder of abortion providers, I'm assuming, would face swift discipline from the Church hierarchy.


    Top-down religion (none / 0) (#59)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:35:29 PM EST
    Christianity in general is the only one of the four great religions that has any kind of religious hierarchy.  In classic Islam, imams aren't even anointed as such except by general and evolving community consensus.  They're not required to have any training, they're just people considered by the community to be learned and wise.

    Imams don't "have" mosques, the way Christian ministers/priests have churches, or even rabbis have synagogues.  There's a mosque.  Various people with something to say go there and preach.  People come and listen or they don't.  A really popular preacher who draws lots of people will become de facto the leader of that mosque.  But it's not "his" mosque.


    Correct. (none / 0) (#68)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 06:46:50 PM EST
    (1) There is no serious theological divide on the issue of suicides between Christianity and Islam. Both religions frown on suicides.
    (2) The concept of martyrdom is important to comprehend while understanding the psychology of suicide bombing. Most religions and cultures in the world glorify martyrdom, it is also a very big part of Islamic history.
    (3) Every religion in the world (including Islam) denounces the killing of innocent life.
    (4) The Catholic Church is a more top-down organization in terms of global reach than can be found in any other religion, including Islam (the Shiite hierarchy in Iran is an exception, however their influence is only limited to a few countries-namely Iran, Iraq and Lebanon).
    (5) Missionary activities and conversion of people from other faiths to their own is encouraged in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism; proselytization is not a part of the culture of Judaism, Hinduism and Zoroastranism.
    The masterminds of Islamic suicide bombers have been successful in cynically melding the concept of martyrdom with the feeling of victimization (rampant in the Islamic world) to reinterpret Islamic doctrine. They have also been able to successfully cast political and economic conflicts in terms of "war of civilizations" or "crusades" to some extent.
    Even though the killing of innocents is forbidden in Islam, many young Muslims have been brainwashed into thinking that suicide bombers are the equivalent of electronically guided missiles that western countries have used in their lands (the killing of non-combatant women and children are unfortunately not seen by many in Islamic countries as accidents but perpetrated intentionally by western countries to inflict terror on Muslims). In a PBS/CNN program that I watched some time ago, I saw a Palestinian kid say that if they had Cruise Missiles that they could target on military targets in Israel and America, they would not need suicide bombers any more.
    The Republican Right in America is wrong in interpreting our conflict with radical Islam as solely a "war of civilizations". The pacifist left is wrong in interpreting our problems with the Muslim caused only because of "imperalism" or "American empire". The dynamics of the problem are complex; it is fueled by a multitude of factors-political, social, economic and religious.
    It will however be naive to imagine that if we just withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan and every Muslim land, our problems would get solved and we would not have to face the prospect of suicide bombing, anymore, inside American soil.



    You Forget (none / 0) (#86)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:23:51 PM EST
    About all the Christian Martyrs.

    And they're (none / 0) (#50)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:21:26 PM EST
    not the only ones, Politalkix.  Good point.

    Although, (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:21:36 PM EST
    on second thought, there is a difference between the hunger-strikers and the suicide bombers.  The hunger-strikers only place themselves in jeopardy, not anyone else.  The suicide bombers kill (or hope to kill) others besides themselves.  The suicide bombers seem to be closer to the Japanese kamikaze during WW II.

    The kamikazes (none / 0) (#61)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:40:39 PM EST
    only attacked military targets, though, right?

    This is true (none / 0) (#65)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 05:01:21 PM EST
    at least, as far as I know.  But I suppose it depends on what one considers "military" (or maybe more accurately "legitimate") targets.

    Hunger Strikers Are At War (none / 0) (#85)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:21:57 PM EST
    Sorry. The definition of suicide is to do harm to onself.

    Hunger is suicide for a "cause".   Hunger strikes are a form of making war through coersion.

    Doing harm to others is done by every soldier everywhere, and hunger strikers impact on others negatively through their sacrifices.


    Oh, and the gotcha mentality (none / 0) (#51)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:22:17 PM EST
    in your head is a waste of my time -- and exactly what is not helping us figure out how to become a safer country without going so far as some nations have had to go, I hope.  

    Answering with gotcha parallels is not helpful, when what we are dealing with is something different from our western (and that includes Ireland) mindset.  I learn from those here who raise useful points, who have useful experience in or with other cultures.  Can you contribute?


    Catholics Don't Make Wars?? (none / 0) (#77)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 07:33:39 PM EST
    Catholics don't kill in war?  Catholics are not officers of armies?  Catholics have not fought in religous wars such as in Elizabeth the First's reign where the Catholic Heirachy plotted to kill her and replace her so that Catholic's could rule England?

    The Catholic Church was behind Mary Queen of Scots plot to invade England, murder Queen Elizabeth, and rule by forcing Catholicism and banishing Protestants and  all Protestant rulers.

    You have an abysmal lack of historical knowledge and just go to Google.  It won't make up for your ignorance but you might learn exactly what wars Catholics engaged in, including burning women as witches on the stake.

    Did you ever hear of Queen Isabella and the Spanish Inquisition which was a reign of terror not unlike Hitler's?  Become Catholic, or die. Become Catholic or leave Spain.

    For God's sake read some books or go Google before you spew any more nonesense.


    Interesting question, and (none / 0) (#38)
    by MKS on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:28:16 PM EST
    the answer would be extremely helpful to know.

    It may be as simple (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:00:39 PM EST
    as the "human bomb" being the most fail safe method to inflict maximum damage on the part of those who are outgunned + a religious martyrdom p.r campaign to make willing participation more likely on the part of those who might otherwise have qualms about risking life-and-limb, and or, engaging in sinful behavior.

    Like the old song says, they have to be carefully taught.


    You forget the raping of women (1.00 / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:38:50 PM EST
    which makes them no longer acceptable in society and thus candidates to be suicide bombers.

    Women Are Always Used (none / 0) (#78)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 07:51:22 PM EST
    as slaves and subjigated  by rape, denying of equal protection [America}, economically held inferior, societally dominated by men and held captive to men's values. Right to choose  has been denied to women as the right to equal protection.

    Women are held to a different moral standard in all levels of societies. Women were the last to own the right to vote in America and in other countries either entirely denied.

    Women's bodies are used by men through force of rape, through force of male values that determine that they will decide what women may do with their bodies. If we behave the same way men do sexually we are considered whores, yet with men it's wink,wink.

    Women had to fight for centuries here for their legal rights to inheritance, land, voting, etc.

    It is not Muslims alone who rape and use shamed women into suicide bombers.

    How about our wonderful democrats Stupak and Nelson that have cynically used women's bodies for political expedience in the HealthCare fiasco?

    How about Pelosi, Reid, and Obama's silence who allowed this end run on Roe v Wade?

    Women are exploited in varying evil ways in every society in the world.

    Women in our army are raped continually and find
    no recourse.

    It's really not exclusively a Muslim idea.


    Many suicide bombers of the LTTE, (none / 0) (#40)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:43:30 PM EST
    which is a terrorist organization, based in Sri Lanka are Christians and Hindus.
    The LTTE originated suicide bombing, some Islamic radical organizations have taken it to a completely new level.

    Also the IRA (none / 0) (#62)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:42:34 PM EST
    tried very hard to avoid casualties in their bombings and had a whole code system with media and the police so they could call and give enough warning for buildings to be evacuated before a bomb went off.  There were a couple of mistakes where people were killed or nearly killed, but those were mistakes.  They were totally brutal with informers, but they made a distinction the jihadis don't make between their direct enemies and innocent bystanders.

    There are very, very few real points of comparison between either the structure or the tactics of the IRA and Islamic terrorism or even al Qaeda specifically.


    Does that include (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 05:12:09 PM EST
    the time they tried to blow up Margaret Thatcher?  In my experience, people who really want to avoid casualties simply avoid setting bombs in the first place.

    Can't remember the details (none / 0) (#67)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 05:45:02 PM EST
    that emerged about the Brighton bombing, but I believe that IRA central did not intend to actually assassinate her.

    Although even if it did, it quite obviously doesn't change my main point.  Assassinating a head of state who's directing the policy of oppression you're fighting is to most people a very different thing than blowing up people who are mere bystanders.

    I've not suggested IRA was/is some kind of noble and elevated group, but the fact remains that the Brighton bombing was an anomaly for them.  There were very, very few casualties in the course of their long campaign.  That was not, I should think it's obvious, because they were incompetent.


    Assassination of Lord Mountbatten? (none / 0) (#69)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:12:12 PM EST
    Please follow link

    IRA justified the bombing by saying "this operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country".


    Exceptiont (none / 0) (#81)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:13:12 PM EST
    You're clearly right about Mountabatten, but it has no impact on my basic point.  IRA did not concentrate on murdering innocent civilians but knocked itself out to avoid doing so.

    The whole point of jidhadi terrorism, OTOH, is to murder as many innocent civilians as possible.

    My point is not that the IRA were saintly, but that there are no points of comparison between them and jidhadi terrorism.


    IRA (none / 0) (#83)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:16:49 PM EST
    Managed to kill many innocent women,children and elderly.

    Anther religious and economic jihad.


    No, they didn't (none / 0) (#89)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:42:45 PM EST
    That is just factually incorrect.

    They surely did a very poor job of (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 07:32:08 PM EST
    it then.

    A "very poor job" of what? (none / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:19:01 PM EST
    The IRA killed or even injured very few people.  That's just a fact.

    AFAIK, the tactics and strategy (none / 0) (#73)
    by Politalkix on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 08:24:13 PM EST
    of various Islamic terrorist groups are not the same (or were atleast not the same till the mid 1990s). The PLO (till the 2nd Intifada) functioned very differently from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda. Various reports have been published which state that PLO and IRA collaborated to some extent while training and received help from countries like Libya in the 1970s and 1980s.
    The terrorism acts that the PLO carried out in the 1970s and 1980s mostly involved high profile hijackings and kidnappings, not suicide bombing of civilians. Hezbollah mostly targetted Israeli military bases and settlements.
    Hamas, Al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad mostly used suicide bombers to target civilians from its earliest days.



    72 virgins (none / 0) (#64)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 04:45:46 PM EST
    I'm no expert on this, but I have read that this is largely a Western myth.  In any case, it's certainly not a widespread belief even in jihadi circles, is my understanding.

    Patton supposedly said it (none / 0) (#34)
    by MKS on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:13:31 PM EST
    Yes, MKS, (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:18:47 PM EST
    I believe you're right- it was Patton.

    Hard to believe he... (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Romberry on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:58:37 PM EST
    ...actually said that, especially at that (April, 2008) late date. Seems like no one wants to rock the boat and talk about the truth with the truth not being any conspiracy theory but that Richard Clarke was running around the White House in July sounding alarm bells, trying to get someone to pay attention, being ignored because it was a "Clinton thing" and having that followed up by the August "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the US" PDB which specifically mentioned hijackings. (Of course the PDB didn't give date, time, airline and/or flight numbers so according to Condi that meant it was essentially useless. Maybe next time we can get the bad guys to call in advance?)

    Anyway...any pol who spews the "no one could have known/I don't think anyone predicted" line (or some variation thereof) ought to apologize to the public and consider whether or not they are in the proper line of work.


    Richard Clarke (none / 0) (#79)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:03:19 PM EST
    One of the really few Security mavens that sounded the bells and is truly an expert re: Intel and Nat'l Security. Bush removed him as he was leftover from Clinton, but had also worked for Bush 1.

    He rocks the boat as he's strong, knowledgable and honest.
    Napolitano couldn't file a letter in his office.

    All of Obama's picks have been selected by Wall St and corporate America as well as his payback political appointees like Napolitano,Sibelius, and the others like Social Secretary of WH Desiree.  A friend, er, who said, "I don't need anyone walking around with clipboards".

    Of course, Desiree it's not chic.

    Back to Clarke.....we could use his talent.


    Thanks for the article (2.00 / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:09:18 PM EST
    The title compares Obama's answer to Rice, which indicates that the writer either has never heard of the 7/5/01 meeting or else is being disingenuous. (See my comment below.)

    Biden warned of it, too -- remember (none / 0) (#39)
    by Cream City on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:28:26 PM EST
    his blabbing, Biden-style, that terrorists would "test the mettle" of Obama, or some such wording, before Obama's first year was out?  Biden had come from some security briefing and was freeked by it, as I recall.  (And then his handlers got the muzzle back on him.:-)

    The good news (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by MKS on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:18:01 PM EST
    is that we apparently have no problem getting raw intelligence data that is valuable, and we had the help of the Muslim community in the form of the father.

    So, we don't need torture to get more raw data. The people in the field are apparently doing their jobs quite well....

    Now, if we can only get someone with half a brain to analyze and correctly act on the data that we do have....

    Good point (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:28:10 PM EST
    I understand they could use some more translators too.  .  .

    As if we did not have working (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:33:48 PM EST
    relationships on the ground prior to this.  And as if we tortured for all actionable intelligence prior to this.  Maybe Dick Cheney did, but the people on the ground that serve this country have never been that stupid.  Maybe not funded, maybe not listened to, perhaps sidelined for years....but they've never been that heinous or stupid.

    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:35:24 PM EST
    but not if they're gay. <snark>

    Yup, that's what I was going for. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:39:39 PM EST
    Why? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Romberry on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:59:41 PM EST
    Do we have something against happy translators?

    (Flintstones, we're the Flintstones...)


    Though it appears.. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:33:37 PM EST
    we have an over abundance of intelligence data collection problem which makes it difficult to identify actual threats.

    In other words, we spy too much.


    The actual threats have been ignored (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:35:25 PM EST
    for so LONG and our resources poured into that stupid Iraq POS.......that when we began to actually address the threat - imagine where we are starting from?

    Drowning in data to a point (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:22:21 PM EST
    at which it probably verges on white noise.

    If the founding fathers, who talked about a nation losing it's soul through foreign involvements and the maintenance of standing armies could come back and see the present state of affairs, they'd commit  hari-kari.


    I wonder if people know (none / 0) (#13)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:21:27 PM EST
    how much of our intelligence analysis has been outsourced and PRIVATIZED since 9/11.  Intelligence analysis!

    Some people in the field are (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:27:59 PM EST
    obviously not doing their jobs quite well.  Some people are obviously not even doing their jobs.

    The Good News Is The Bad News (none / 0) (#80)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:10:07 PM EST
    there is systemic failure all around and certainly no coordination and no workable computer program to bring this into century 21.

    The bad news is that no one at the WH knows what the hell they're doing.

    As for Team Obama's response to this by giving us Napolitano we have seen how s l o w American Idol's reaction time is. His judgement in sending this beaut out to us?

    Let's not even think about Homeland Security in the hands of an incompentent political appointee with no experience for this critical job.

    There's a lot of tone deafness coming out of the WHouse.


    BTD - Nope, the 8/6 PDB was (2.00 / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:01:43 PM EST
    not really a surprise to Bush, or the agencies in his administration.

    I quote from NSA Rice:


    We convened on 5 July (2001)a special meeting of domestic federal law enforcement agencies because we could not rule out the possibility that the attack would be in the U.S." In fact, that was the meeting that we asked him to convene.

    "At the special meeting on July 5 were the FBI, Secret Service, FAA, Customs, Coast Guard, and Immigration. We told them that we thought a spectacular al Qaeda terrorist attack was coming in the near future." That had been had been George Tenet's language. "We asked that they take special measures to increase security and surveillance. Thus, the White House did ensure that domestic law enforcement including the FAA knew that the CSG believed that a major al Qaeda attack was coming, and it could be in the U.S., and did ask that special measures be taken."

    Link to article.

    The 8/6 PDB was redundant in that Bush already knew and had told, through his NSA, the agencies to take special measures. His abrupt response to the lack of new information was displayed at that time.

    My bone with Bush was, and is, that he didn't fire the head of all the agencies and three deep down just to get the bureaucracy's attention that this stuff is serious.

    But take comfort (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:52:12 PM EST
    John Brennan is on the case!

    He seems disqualified by conflicts (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 12:55:44 PM EST
    but what the hell.

    Not a problem... (none / 0) (#32)
    by oldpro on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:03:29 PM EST
    "Senior administration officials said that for the past few days, the White House's legal and ethics counsel has been reviewing Brennan's ties and determined that given Brennan's knowledge of and experience with the intelligence community, any conflict was outweighed by the need for Brennan's expertise on the issue. "

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1209/31076.html#ixzz0bIZNcmbp


    Grr (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:03:23 PM EST
    Who knows, maybe they'll heed you.

    I suspect the Google search algorithm would do (none / 0) (#27)
    by steviez314 on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 01:49:10 PM EST
    a better job of data mining the databases than the CIA.

    No. (none / 0) (#53)
    by Fabian on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 03:35:26 PM EST
    Google is influenced by various means.

    You'd need a strictly unbiased search engine for a better comparison.


    CIA Data Bases (none / 0) (#82)
    by norris morris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:14:26 PM EST
    Unquestionably, CIA operatives, et all need to Google.

    Better yet Wal-Mart has the finest computer systems in America and far superior to the Pentagon's.

    So Google,Wal-Mart, and Amazon could save America?


    TSA secondary screening guy: (none / 0) (#31)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 31, 2009 at 02:01:58 PM EST
    "this guy looks suspicious!"