Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hitchens Vs. The Times

One listened to the Osama Bin Laden tape of last week and concluded that it demonstrates weakness and Bin Laden's fear that the cause is lost; the writers at the other heard the same tape and got the same translation, and concluded that Al Qaeda is winning and Bin Laden is boosting the morale of his minions.

From Christopher Hitchens: Al Qaeda Is Losing

The conditions for this latest truce are of course impossible as well. All one needs, in order to earn Bin Laden's mercy, is to give up Afghanistan and Iraq. But this raises a more intriguing question. Why are formerly triumphalist jihadists using the language of "truce" at all? Not very long ago, God was claimed to be on their side and victory certain.

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon think they have the answer in The Times: Al Qaeda's Big Boast

Mr. bin Laden staked his claim to leadership of the Muslim world on 9/11, striking us as others only dreamed of doing. On the tape, he shows strength by taking credit for America's humiliation in Iraq and continues to do what we are not: fighting for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.

America's humiliation in Iraq? With the successful elections? With the ratified constitution? With the continuously growing and training, and ever-strengthening Iraqi security forces? With Iraqis now fighting with foreign insurgents. With Sunnis now joining the government and working within the fledgling democracy? I think not, at least not yet.

Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Simon have already ceded the war to the terrorists, and for no reason other than the fact that Bin Laden claims he's winning and magnanimously offering a truce. They, of course, call for tail-between-our-legs withdrawal from Iraq. They write that there is "so much evidence that the jihadists are winning sympathy," ignoring the move of Sunnis - including leading clerics - away from the terrorists, and ignoring the more frequent occurrances of "red on red" attacks. They write that more Iraqis are joining the terrorists when the evidence is otherwise.

Perhaps Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Simon are simply covering for themselves and trying to sell their books. After all, they were the director and senior director, respectively, for counter terrorism with the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration. This Random House author profile paints an interesting picture.

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon began working on this book shortly after leaving the National Security Council, where, as director and senior director for counterterrorism, they watched the rise of al-Qaeda and helped coordinate America’s fight against Usama bin Laden and his organization.

I don't recall that they coordinated much of a fight against Bin Laden at all, despite numerous Al Qaeda-derived terrorist attacks during their tenure. They did, however, do a lot of watching. These are just two more people who can't be trusted with America's security - and it's sad that they were. While Hitchens' declaration of victory is premature, he's a lot closer to the right track than Benjamin and Simon.


Thanks for the link!

Freedom Folks

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