As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Right Wing And Pentagon Remnants Work Overtime To Fearmonger

This completely unsourced New York Times article is yet another in the drumbeat of warnings to Obama that he can't very well use the rule of law as a guidepost when terrists wanna kill us in our beds and that.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. “He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but his movements to Yemen remain unclear.”

Wondering if that counterterrorism official just happens to not be part of the new Obama team. Signs point to yes.

It really doesn't matter if they're in power or out of power, conservatives can plant their stories in the media whenever they choose. Glenn Greenwald links to a bunch of them today. There are hosts of howls from the right that we'll all be killed if we try terror suspects in US courts, shut down gulags and release the innocent.

National Review's Jim Geraghaty spent all day yesterday fantasizing about all the scary things that could happen if we have Al-Qaeda Terrorists in our communities (near nuclear facilities and airports!). Former Bush aide and chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen warned yesterday in The Washington Post that if there is a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Americans will blame Obama because he stopped torturing and closed Guantanamo, and Democrats will be "unelectable for a generation." Today, at National Review, Thiessen, citing yesterday's Executive Orders, declared Obama "to be the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office." And yesterday, of course, The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt echoed the standard claim that our regular federal courts were inadequate to try dangerous Terrorists.

All of this is pure fear-mongering -- the 2009 version of Condoleezza Rice's mushroom cloud and Jay Rockefeller's "we'll-lose-our-eavesdropping-capabilities" cries. Both before and after 9/11, the U.S. has repeatedly and successfully tried alleged high-level Al Qaeda operatives and other accused Islamic Terrorists in our normal federal courts -- in fact, the record is far more successful than the series of debacles that has taken place in the military commissions system at Guantanamo. Moreover, those convicted Terrorists have been housed in U.S. prisons, inside the U.S., for years without a hint of a problem.

Not to mention this zombie lie that I mentioned yesterday, the new "big stat" thrown around by major news organizations, that 61 terrists have "returned to the battlefield" from Guantanamo. Putting aside the difficulty in believing this nonsense - past examinations of Pentagon claims have shown that they're counting people who've never been to Gitmo and people who have written letters to the editor to newspapers - Atrios points out the absurdity:

Without even getting into the actual accuracy of the latest bit of wingnut porn about how 61 released Gitmo detainees supposedly returned to take up arms against the US, can anyone explain how this is supposed to represent a failure of Obama's policies? He didn't let them go. Liberal bloggers didn't let them go. The ACLU didn't let them go.

And if George Bush has "kept us safe," what exactly is it that these terrorists have done?

All this folds in on itself at some point. But the point is to make sure everyone is aware that we can be killed at any moment, to restrict Obama's break from the past and ensure that their little fantasies are not repudiated. I believe we do have to be skeptical of those loopholes, and work on our own side to ensure their removal.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the committee, said that despite the executive orders she still planned to press for legislation mandating a single standard for military and C.I.A. interrogators. Such a law would be harder to reverse than Mr. Obama’s executive order, which he could alter or cancel at any time by issuing a new order.

“I think that ultimately the government is well served by codifying it, by having it in law,” Mrs. Feinstein said.

Some liberal groups, while praising the Obama orders, said they supported legislation like Mrs. Feinstein’s because they were concerned about what his task forces might propose. They also said they would continue to press for a full investigation of detention and interrogation programs under President George W. Bush.

Of course, this isn't totally about legislation for the wingnuts. It's about scaring an electorate for political advantage, hoping to pin whatever terrorism might arise in the next several years on Obama and using that in the next election. the way, this is how you deal with terrorists, through law enforcement and detective work. But there isn't enough crushing of testicles involved, so it's deeply disappointing to the man-childs on the right.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,