August 16, 2006
All in the timing
"One question to ask is: Why now? The [British] police have had a 'mole' inside this operation since late 2005, but have yet to explain why they felt the need to swoop down and arrest alleged plotters at this moment (two days after the Connecticut primary produced a triumph for anti-war politics). The early claim that a massive takedown of a dozen airliners was set for August 16 is 'rubbish,' according to London authorities. So who decided this case was ripe for its public rollout?"
"U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.
"British officials knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.
"In contrast to previous reports, one senior British official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports."
"The White House’s Wednesday attack on Democrats as weaklings in the war on terror came as administration officials knew of the pending British arrests of terror suspects who allegedly planned to down several planes.
"The White House and the GOP, in a coordinated effort, had moved quickly on Wednesday to portray Democrats as weak on national defense. Cheney, in an extraordinary procedure, took questions from wire service reporters during a conference call as he was in Wyoming. Cheney rarely, if ever, takes questions from groups of reporters."
"What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people - not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times."
"For Cheney--and other Republicans like GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman--to suggest that those Americans are encouraging terrorism is reprehensible. To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane."
"The GOP message machine knows how ludicrous it is to keep tying the war in Iraq to the war on terror, but they also know how effective it has been. So there they go again, with Cheney claiming that Lieberman was 'pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security.'
"They know being against the war in Iraq doesn't mean you are against fighting the war on terror. It means you are against a failed policy that has created more terrorists than it has killed, that has cost America 2,591 lives and $305 billion dollars, that has thrown Iraq into a bloody sectarian civil war, and that has so lessened our standing abroad that we are unable to be a real power broker in an exploding Middle East.
"What Lamont's victory should really do is embolden Democrats to aggressively counterattack the Republicans' scare-tactics nonsense.
"It would help if the MSM reacted to the GOP drivel by treating it with the contempt it deserves instead of dutifully reporting it as if it contained even an ounce of logic or sanity."
"Friends, we are on a losing trajectory in Iraq, and, as the latest London plot underscores, the wider war with radical Islam is only getting wider. We need to reassess everything we are doing in this 'war on terrorism' and figure out what is worth continuing, what needs changing, and what sacrifice we need to demand from every American to match our means with our ends. Yes, the Democrats could help by presenting a serious alternative. But unless the party in power for the next two and half years shakes free of its denial, we are in really, really big trouble."
(Arranged and contextualized with links mostly poached from Dan Froomkin's always worthwhile White House Briefing.)
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