|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
Subscribe to get this blog by e-mail.
New: Read what I'm reading on Bloglines.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
A test of photoblogging from flickr
. 4:58:50 PM
Why Bush let Zarqawi walk. By Daniel Benjamin "military leaders and the CIA felt Zarqawi was a threat that could and should be removed. On at least three occasions between mid-2002 and the invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon presented plans to the White House to destroy the Khurmal camp. Each time the White House declined to act or did not respond at all. It is impossible to see that refusal as anything other than an enormous blunder. .. What seems evident is that the administration viewed Zarqawi as a lower-tier concern, despite his well-known history ..
The idea that states are the real issue and terrorists and their organizations are of secondary concern has been present throughout the Bush presidency. .. [T]he long, aimless road the administration took to the first meeting of its national security Cabinet on the issue of al-Qaida on Sept. 4, 2001, speaks volumes. By contrast, the first "principals" meeting on the issue of regime change in Iraq took place in January 2001, shortly after Bush's inauguration. After 9/11, senior officials such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, simply refused to believe the assessment of the intelligence community that Iraq had no hand in the attack and that al-Qaida operated independently of state support. ..
It seems never to have occurred to President Bush and his advisers that in a globalized world, where borders are porous and technologies of massive destructiveness are available, hidden networks can be far more dangerous than a state, which can be threatened and contained. Yet that surely has been the lesson of the last three years. It is an added irony that the administration's inability to fully assimilate the threat from "non-state actors" is leading, thanks in part to Zarqawi, to the failure of its effort to reinvent Iraq as a stable democracy in the Middle East." 8:57:14 AM
Bin Laden's Re-Branding: "hese experts say bin Laden appears to be intensifying his campaign to "re-brand" himself in the minds of Muslims worldwide, and become known more as a political voice than a global terrorist.
"In some ways the tone of the message is as intriguing, and alarming, as the timing," said a U.S. official familiar with the tape, and the U.S. intelligence community's analysis of it. "The absence of an explicit threat does represent a different point of emphasis for this guy. " ..
The U.S. official said "a political spinoff (of al-Qaida) is one of the greatest fears" of U.S. counter-terrorism authorities, in which bin Laden and the terror network follow the path of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hezbollah and members of the Irish Republican Army. Over the years, those groups evolved from having an emphasis on committing terrorism into broader organizations with influential, widely accepted political wings."
Here's one speculation: If bin Laden does not and cannot control the various local terrorist groups, he could become a symbolic leader, like Arafat, a unifying but ineffective figure. 8:52:16 AM
Rights Group Warned U.S. of Munitions Cache: Not just El Qaqaa. "Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of high-explosive warheads in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials appeared uninterested and still had not secured the site 10 days later. The disclosure, made by a senior official of the New York-based human rights group, raised new questions about how U.S. forces dealt with known stashes of dangerous weapons in Iraq after the invasion. ..
Peter Bouckaert, who heads Human Rights Watch's international emergency team, said he was shown two rooms "stacked to the roof" with surface-to-surface warheads on May 9, 2003, in a warehouse on the grounds of the 2nd Military College in Baqubah, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. The site also included antitank and antipersonnel mines, he said. Bouckaert said he photographed the stockpile and gave U.S. officials the exact location of the warheads, but that by the time he left the area on May 19, 2003, he had seen no U.S. forces at the site, which he said was being looted daily by armed men. "They asked mainly about chemical or biological weapons, which we hadn't seen," he said. "I had a pretty hard time getting anyone interested in it."
Bouckaert said displaced people with whom he was working in the Baqubah area had taken him to the warheads. "They said, 'There's stocks of weapons here and we're very concerned -- can you please inform the coalition?' " he said in a telephone interview from South Africa. "Looting was taking place by a lot of armed men with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades," Bouckaert said. He said each of the warheads contained about 57 pounds of high explosives. ..
Car bombs such as those used by insurgents in Iraq require about 6.5 pounds of explosives, Human Rights Watch said. " 8:50:55 AM