All posts by Tanstaafl

Insufficient Postage

Zawahiri Letter Shows Iraq’s Importance to al-Qaeda’s Jihad
October 07, 2005

First, the letter shows the al-Qaeda leadership’s increasing sensitivity to public opinion. Zawahiri writes of the importance of popular support for al-Qaeda, and rebukes Zawahiri for the Iraq insurgency’s “brutal tactics — noting that hostages can just as effectively be killed with bullets rather than by beheading.” I’ve written before (most recently in the Weekly Standard) of al-Qaeda’s increased efforts to tailor their message to appeasement-minded Westerners. Apparently, Zawahiri has also given some thought to how he can bolster al-Qaeda’s image in the Muslim world.

Second, the letter shows Iraq’s current importance to al-Qaeda’s jihad.

Letter to Zarqawi

(Speculation alert) Implicit within Zawarhiri’s message is an admission that the insurgency is headed for defeat unless it changes it’s policies and thereby its fortunes. Al Qaeda must have viewed with mounting alarm the increasing numbers of Iraqi troops that the US can field against them. The campaigns against the Euphrates and Tigris lines and the seize and hold operations now in progress must be hurting them. Therefore, despite their theological antipathy for the Shi’ites it must have occurred to them that their car bombs, beheadings, outrages and gratuitous murders — all dutifully reported by a media thinking it might chill American resolve — were working against them; this brutality was driving the Shia and the Kurds into American arms. And now Zawahiri admits this policy may be leading to their defeat.

Seized Letter Outlines Al Qaeda Goals in Iraq
By Susan B. Glasser and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 12, 2005; A13

Al Qaeda’s top deputy urged the leader of his Iraq branch in July to prepare for the inevitable U.S. withdrawal by carrying out political as well as military actions, and he lectured him that he risked being shunned by an Islamic world angered over his gruesome and not “palatable” killings of fellow Muslims, according to an intercepted letter released yesterday by the U.S. government.

The 6,000-word letter from Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri, to Iraqi insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi amounts to a detailed portrait of al Qaeda’s long-term goals in Iraq and the Middle East, and includes a striking critique of how Zarqawi has gone about waging his war against not only U.S. troops but also Iraqi civilians. The letter was posted yesterday on the Web site of Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte — http://www.dni.gov — after senior intelligence officials released excerpts of it last week.

Zawahiri’s Advice

…we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media…

Obviously Iraq is far from the senseless quagmire the Sheehanistas, Codepinkos, and miscellaneous naysayers argue it is. We’re fighting al Qaeda there. They know they can use the media to undermine us. They’re counting on a repeat of Vietnam. Woe to the pacifists, Crusader withdrawal won’t satisfy the Jihadis because the true goal of the Jihad is to restore the Caliphate.

P.S. Methinks the Jihadis doth protest too much.

More On Bush’s Speech

Two critiques of Bush’s recent speech I commented on a few days ago. The first is relatively succinct:

Defining The Enemy
Posted 10/7/2005

Over and over, President Bush called the terrorists “Islamic radicals.” It was a stunning departure from his usual rhetoric marginalizing the religious aspect of the long-term threat America faces. In past speeches, Bush has described an otherwise amorphous enemy of “evil-doers” motivated by a rather nebulous thing called “evil ideology.”

With Thursday’s speech, he also abandoned his mantra that Islam is a “religion of peace.” He called it a “noble faith,” and left it at that.

The president could have gone even further to explain what motivates the terrorists. He left the impression they are all heretics distorting the idea of jihad and defiling their scripture. He said they were “driven by ambition.”

Yet self-immolation is the antithesis of earthly ambition. Suicide bombers are inspired not by earthly gain, but by the Quranic promise of endless carnal delights in paradise — rewards that are reserved for jihadists who “slay and are slain” battling the infidels in the name of Allah. No fewer than 26 chapters of the Quran deal with holy war and the rewards for martyrs, or shaheeds.

The unpleasant truth is, Muslim terrorists are getting all these terrible ideas — from violent jihad to self-immolation to even the beheadings we’ve seen in Pakistan and Iraq — straight out of the text of their holy book.

The second is a point by point rebuttal of Bush peppered with Iraq War skepticism far more rational than anything I’ve ever heard from anti-war leftists:

News & Views
by Srdja Trifkovic
Friday, October 07, 2005

These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus—and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Contrary to what Mr. Bush seems to be suggesting, “the idea of jihad” does call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus and it is a distortion of that idea to suggest otherwise. “The idea of jihad” is a highly developed doctrine, theology, and legal system of mandatory violence against non-believers. It made Islam the first political ideology, already in Muhammad’s lifetime, to adopt terrorism as a systemic tool of policy, not as a temporary and unwelcome expedient.

Both via Jihad Watch.

Clinton Asleep At The Wheel


Freeh decries Clinton’s ‘moral compass’
Clinton spokesman: Book ‘a total work of fiction’
Friday, October 7, 2005; Posted: 5:48 a.m. EDT (09:48 GMT)

In his upcoming book, “My FBI,” Freeh says Clinton failed to pressure Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to let the FBI question suspects the kingdom had in custody.

“Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudis’ reluctance to cooperate and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton library,” Freeh writes.

. . .

Jay Carson, Clinton’s spokesman, said Freeh “wasn’t even present for the meetings he describes. President Clinton repeatedly pressed the Saudis for cooperation on the Khobar Towers investigation and his pressure led to the eventual indictments.”

Clinton aides challenge claim by ex-FBI chief
By Howard Kurtz
The Washington Post

Under strong pressure from former President Clinton’s advisers, CBS’ “60 Minutes” has agreed to read a statement denying a charge being made on tonight’s program by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

In the statement, Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national-security adviser, challenges Freeh’s assertion, also made in his new book, that Clinton failed to press Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to cooperate with an investigation of the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in that country, and used the occasion to ask for a contribution to his presidential library.

It’s a little strange how every mainstream news story about Freeh’s book and upcoming 60 Minutes appearance include, or are even dominated by, a pro-Clinton counter-point. The above articles are among the current top matches. Search Google or Yahoo and see for yourself.

It’s as if they wouldn’t report the story until they had some opposing points to print with it. Wouldn’t it be great if they did this every time? Unlike say how Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill, and Dan Rather (speaking for Bill Burkett) got to sucker punch Bush on prime time TV during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The following article provides some counter-counter-point in support of Freeh.

How the Left Undermined America’s Security Before 9/11
By David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 9, 2005

Underlying the Clinton security failure was the fact that the administration was made up of people who for 25 years had discounted or minimized the totalitarian threat, opposed America’s armed presence abroad, and consistently resisted the deployment of America’s military forces to halt Communist expansion. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was himself a veteran of the Sixties “antiwar” movement, which abetted the Communist victories in Vietnam and Cambodia, and created the “Vietnam War syndrome” that made it so difficult afterwards for American presidents to deploy the nation’s military forces.

Berger had also been a member of “Peace Now,” the leftist movement seeking to pressure the Israeli government to make concessions to Yasser Arafat’s PLO terrorists. Clinton’s first National Security Advisor, Anthony Lake was a protégé of Berger, who had introduced him to Clinton. All three had met as activists in the 1972 McGovern presidential campaign, whose primary issue was opposition to the Vietnam War based on the view that the “arrogance of American power” was responsible for the conflict, rather than Communist aggression.

What Causes Jihad?

Compare and contrast the following viewpoints. The first, from an article posted on Jihad Unspun written by an American “activist writer”, reviews all the popular arguments blaming everyone but the “terrorists” for terrorism:

MILLER: Viewing Terrorism Through A Different Lens
Oct 08, 2005
By Jason Miller

Why do the “terrorists” and other people of the Middle East hate us? The truth is much more complicated than George Bush’s disingenuous, propagandistic explanation to the American public. However, Bush’s assertion was accurate in one sense. When he said, “They hate what we see right here in this chamber,” he captured the true focus of the ire of the Arab world: the US government.

Since the internal combustion engine became an indispensable aspect of economic vitality, the United States government has invaded, exploited, manipulated and cheated Arab nations in its ongoing quest to purloin their precious oil. Preying upon internal strife and ongoing unrest amongst varying factions and sects of the Islamic faith, the US government has raped the people of the Middle East for decades. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease. Acts of retaliation against the US are the result of victimized people attempting to thwart their over-powering, deceitful oppressors in Washington.

The second points out the elephant in the room:

Why Ask Why?
Terrorist attacks aren’t caused by any policy except that of the bombers themselves.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Oct. 3, 2005, at 8:00 AM PT

Never make the mistake of asking for rationality here. And never underestimate the power of theocratic propaganda. The fanatics look at the population of Bali and its foreign visitors and they see a load of Hindus selling drinks—often involving the presence of unchaperoned girls—to a load of Christians. That in itself is excuse enough for mayhem. They also see local Muslims following syncretic and tolerant forms of Islam, and they yearn to redeem them from this heresy and persuade them of the pure, desert-based truths of Salafism and Wahhabism.

Getting Warmer


President Discusses War on Terror at National Endowment for Democracy
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.
October 6, 2005

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus — and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Congratulations! We’ve finally officially identified the enemy. Now maybe we can work on understanding what really motivates them. For instance, the Jihadis are not the ones distorting the idea of Jihad. That would be the work of the apologists for Islam and the willfully ignorant multiculturalists who pretend Jihad is nothing more than soul searching or defensive war.