Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader took stock of America's new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet. "A house Negro," Ayman al-Zawahiri said.Especially when I read this:
The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda's skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group.
Al-Qaeda's rhetorical swipes at Obama date to the weeks before the election, when commentators on Web sites associated with the group debated which of the two major presidential candidates would be better for the jihadist movement. While opinions differed, a consensus view supported Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the man most likely to continue Bush administration policies and, it was hoped, drive the United States more deeply into a prolonged guerrilla war.
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.This little fact has the wing-nuts in a dither. But, frankly, it's a natural and logical consequence of our actions taken under the wing-nut rule of George Bush. For those who don't know of this man, he wasn't a terrorist before we caught him and tortured him for years. Eventually, after the torture, he was cleared, by the Bush Administration, as a non-terrorist. With some classic "Whoops, our bad. So sorry. Well, off you go..." send-off to some rehab program in Saudi Arabia. Which he completes, leaves and travels to Yemen where he promptly joins Al Qaeda.
Even though if we hadn't have illegally detained him and tortured him, by following proper rules of evidence and law, he'd still be a rug merchant in Saudi Arabia.
Something the nut-cases on the far right never seem to get into their heads is that if you torture people, disenfranchise them, treat them like crap... They may end up hating you and becoming exactly what you fear. Think of them as pit-bulls. Pit-bulls are, if properly treated, rated higher on the temperament/docility scale than Labrador Retrievers (83 to 82). But if your average thug (like Michael Vick) buys one... Well, you can turn any dog into a brutal, vicious killer by mistreating it. So, when the dog you've abused for years suddenly bites you... The problem isn't the dog who is acting like a dog. The problem is you, the human, who failed to act like a human who caused the problem.
So, the bottom-line becomes you continue to create your bad-dog terrorists (and alienate your allies) with your behavior. Then, lacking the ability of introspection, you're then stupid and think to ratchet up the cycle through your pseudo-tough-guy routine instead of being smart and trying to calm the cycle. Ultimately, it'll just get worse.
If you can't see it applied to the US, look at Israel, they're a classic example of creating/exacerbating their own problems. Most everything their conservative (Likud) governments have done since the 80's has made the situation worse, not better. Their foray into Lebanon backfired internationally and ended up making Hezbollah stronger. The same is happening with Hamas in Gaza. Further, their actions in Lebanon and Gaza have gotten the US to the point where, frankly, most US Citizens are no longer "on their side" and are becoming neutral with respect to the Palestine/Israeli conflict.
So while it remains incontrovertibly true that our old, toadying government officials still drink the "St. Israel" kool-aid, a new generation of men and women are slowly working their way into power. Long gone, for them, will be the sympathy of the 1967 war and Israel's positives that ruled my life for so many decades. Instead the impression will be the brutal, naked aggression of Lebanon and Gaza with thousands of civilian, non-combatant casualties coupled with the apartheid state of Palestine while Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine.
Ultimately, as a country, we have a choice. We can continue to act like six-year-olds that want to dominate the sandbox. Or we can grow up.
Being six was fun. When I was six. But when you're supposed to be a grown-up, being six is, well, just stupid, especially when that simplistic mentality stretches to complex issues with no easy solutions.