Monday, May 2, 2011

Closing a Long Chapter


It was nice to see Peter Bergen on CNN news this morning, commenting on the death of Osama bin Laden.  He was one of the clearest talking heads in the weeks and months immediately following 9-11, helping to explain the history of al Qaida, without resorting to histrionics.  Bergen was one of the few "infidels" to get a chance to interview bin Laden, and has since pieced together an oral history of the most wanted man in the world. I read Bergen's Holy War, Inc., which provided a rational perspective of events despite its incendiary title.

17 comments:

  1. "Hiding" within a few hundred yards of a Pakistani military academy? What the heck?

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  2. I was half tempted to title this post Death Comes for the Arch Villain.

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  3. I assume the Geronimo code name is left over from the "cowboys and indians" mentality of the Bush administration,

    'A U.S. commando's curt message to superiors signaled the end had come for the world's most wanted terrorist: "Geronimo EKIA," meaning enemy killed in action.'

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110504/ap_on_re_us/us_bin_laden

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  4. Yeah, I thought that name said a lot about the way this entire chapter of our history has unfolded. Hopefully we can get it behind us now.

    As per usual, I turned to Maddow last night to see some of this sorted out. She went through all of Bin Laden's speeches after 9/11 about how he had "invested" 500,000 with the goal of bringing down the U.S. economy. Even without the Wall Street bubble, it would appear he was successful -- or close to it. Let's hope that Obama can turn the war ship around and bring it back to American shores before he entirely wins.

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  5. I watched that on Maddow's show last night too. Here's a link in case anyone wants to see it. Very interesting. Wanted to break us financially first and foremost.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/42889180#42889180

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  6. OBL said that from the beginning. Seems a lot of Americans forgot the roller coaster ride we went on during the Bush years, and that we aren't off it yet. This "War on Terror" has cost us trillions of dollars, not just in war efforts, but the impact 911 had on the economy and beyond.

    I think mostly OBL wanted to drag the US into a war in Central Asia or the Middle East. He knew this was his most fertile recruiting ground and what better cause than to physically fight the Americans or any other "infidels" who dared to taint their hallowed ground.

    The aim was simple, out of this chaos he hoped to create new Caliphate states no longer beholden to Western interests, and look at what is happening now throughout North Africa and the Middle East!

    We are walking a very fine line at the moment.

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  7. Here's a short survey of books about al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in the NY Times website. I've read Steve Coll's THE BIN LADENS and Lawrence Wright's LOOMING TOWER, and I have GHOST WARS by Steve Coll.

    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/a-survey-of-books-about-osama-bin-laden-and-al-qaeda/

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  8. Another interesting point apparently made by Stiglitz in his Three Trillion Dollar War is that the invasion and occupation of the Middle East also led to the steep rise in the price of oil which in turn led to the steep decline in interest rates to counter that which in turn led to the housing bubble. Sounds like reading about that argument alone is worth the price of the book.

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  9. Here's a website on the book and the war:

    http://threetrilliondollarwar.org/

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  10. You look at the Stock Market alone, which tumbled to 6500 in the wake of 911. That alone costs billions. Ten years on and the WTC is still essentially a hole in the ground. And, it seems we still haven't learned our lessons from these wars, given our current situation in Libya.

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  11. I think this is the frustration (among many) that Trump is tapping into. You read this at Stiglitz's website and it is indeed frustrating. I remember hearing Carol Mosley Brown, when she briefly ran for President in 2004, say that if we can rebuild Baghdad, why can't we rebuild Baltimore:

    "This week [April 27] it was announced that the US has spent $4.6 billion to restore electricity — including renovating plants, buying power from outside the country and fixing transmission lines. The total supply of electricity is now approaching 8000 megawatts, which is nearly double what was available before the war.

    However, the demand still far outstrips supply — with Iraqis wanting 15,000 megawatts. This is partly because most Iraqi consumers pay little or nothing for electricity — it is virtually free. Thus the US taxpayer is not only paying to rebuild the grid, but is effectively subsidizing the electricity supply for Iraqis."

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  12. As long as the US is willing to pay for it, Iraqis will be willing to receive all these free handouts. It appalls me that we can spend so much money in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet don't want to spend $50 billion on a new highway bill that would create thousands of jobs, not to mention provide badly needed improvements. There is just no logic in any of this.

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  13. Hopefully, the closing of this long chapter in American history as you rightly call it is at hand.

    In the meantime, I just had the pleasure of watching the Trump Roast (is that an official cut of meat?) at the correspondents' dinner. In case you haven't seen it yet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9mzJhvC-8E

    followed by

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YGITlxfT6s

    The comedian was really good, but the president was simply great. Trump may be the only so-called republican willing to take the President on next year.

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  14. One of Geronimo's Great,great,? Grandsons was on the news tonight and said the US should be ashamed for using his name on this operation.He stated that there was nothing relative between Geronimo and Bin Laden.

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  15. True, but "Geronimo" has been a catch phrase in the military for a long time.

    Wasn't the name given to him by the Spanish? But, I guess few would know him as Goyathlay.

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  16. I think it speaks to how the military views all of our history -- renegades resisting occupation. But if the Bush administration did the naming, it speaks even more to their cowboy and Indian mindset.

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  17. Funny ... That's how they named Obama too .... Renegade.

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