If nothing else, this attack should teach us that we have been wrong, if we thought of Afghanistan and Pakistan as the center of terror for Islam’s religious right extremists.
Regardless of whether or not the Nigerian who tried to blow up a US-bound jet on Christmas Day was instructed in Yemen by Al-Qaeda, the White House insists it is not slacking in its anti-terror battle.
"Airline passengers walk into a security checkpoint inside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, VA, near Washington, DC. Regardless of whether or not the Nigerian who tried to blow up a US-bound jet on Christmas Day was instructed in Yemen by Al-Qaeda, the White House insists it is not slacking in its anti-terror battle."
In early December as he ordered 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, US President Barack Obama warned of the "violent extremism practiced by Al-Qaeda," and stressed that "this is no idle danger, no hypothetical threat.
"Where Al-Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere -- they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships," Obama said.
His spokesman Robert Gibbs hit the talkshows Sunday to assure Americans after the latest botched attack that there was no let up against Al-Qaeda, and to counter vehement criticism Obama was a soft touch.
"The president certainly has taken steps in his time in office to reorient our priorities as it comes to fighting that war on terror," Gibbs told NBC.
"We're drawing down in Iraq and focusing... on Pakistan and Afghanistan, the place where the attacks of 9/11 originated and where people sit in caves and in houses today planning more attacks in this country, using all elements of American power in places not just like Pakistan, but throughout the world in places like Yemen and Somalia.
"File photo of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. US authorities have charged Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet, using explosives and chemicals he sneaked past security checkpoints in Lagos and then Amsterdam."
"And you've seen already leaders from Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that have been targeted and eliminated."
Experts and US lawmakers warned that even if no conclusive Al-Qaeda thumbprint is found on Friday's attempt to bring down a plane as it landed in Detroit, the group's radicalized ideology has "metastasized" well beyond traditional safe havens.
US authorities have charged Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet, using explosives and chemicals he sneaked past security checkpoints in Lagos and then Amsterdam.
According to US media citing unnamed US officials, Abdulmutallab confessed once in custody that he had received specific training for the attack from an Al-Qaeda bombmaker in Yemen... [emphasis added]
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As expected, the US right is trying to blame this incident on Obama. One ChickenHawk came out of hiding long enough to confirm such an assertion on Faux Noise.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) told Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday that it is "fair" to hold the Obama administration responsible for the a failure to detect an attempted terror attack. Friday, Hoekstra told the Detroit Free Press that the Obama administration needed to "connect the dots."
"You were quoted in the Detroit Free Press [de-linked] this morning as saying that, you know, the key is to connect the dots and maybe the Obama administration will now realize that. Is it really fair to hold the Obama administration responsible here?" asked Wallace.
"Yeah, I think it really is," replied Hoekstra. "Connecting the dots here is not really on this particular case. It's connecting the dots that we've seen over the last 11 months, over the last eight years."…
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This is pure bull. It took several years to set up the Department of Homeland Security, under complete Bush/GOP control. It will take several more years to reorganize it in a manner that will actually provide security, not just GOP propaganda. If Obama has been a little slow in embarking on that task, we must remember that there is no aspect of American life that Bush and the GOP did not leave in chaotic shambles. Obama is not at fault because the system left in place by his predecessor failed.
As if this is not bad enough, one Republican Senator (even if he calls himself an independent Democrat) has called for war.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Senator Joeseph Lieberman (R-CT) [party affiliation corrected], who leads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has a vision of "tomorrow's war."
"Somebody in our government said to me in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, Iraq was yesterday’s war," Lieberman explained. "Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war. That’s the danger we face."
Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), also appearing on the program, seemed to agree, calling an attack against Yemen "something we should consider."
"Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan -- the Army officer who killed 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in November -- was linked to Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric now based in Yemen," The Hill noted.
Unnamed administration officials told US media in the aftermath of the thwarted attack that their suspect had confessed to traveling to Yemen and receiving training by Al-Qaeda…
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Let us not forget that LIEberman campaigned for McConJob and Mooseolini. He supported their war policy. That was nothing more than an extension of Bush’s war polity. Some do not remember it. Most never knew it, because the regime tried to keep it secret. Those of you who were with me during the previous incarnation of this blog, may remember this video by General Wesley Clark that explains the GOP’s imperialist intent to conquer several nations. The subsequent attacks did not occur only because the GOP is so incompetent that they botched the first two wars.
Now if you are unhappy with how Obama is handling US security and foreign policy, consider the alternative. Need I say more?