How Much Do Terrorist “Safe Havens” Matter?

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Terrorism.Afghanistan.jpg
Former CIA Counterterrorism official Paul Pillar has an important op-ed in today’s Washington Post that questions whether terrorists really need “safe havens” after all.
Pillar challenges one of the key assumptions underpinning the escalation of America’s involvement in Afghanistan – the notion that preventing a “safe haven” for terrorists in Afghanistan is one of the best ways to prevent future attacks on the American homeland.
From Pillar’s piece:

Instead, the issue is whether preventing such a haven would reduce the terrorist threat to the United States enough from what it otherwise would be to offset the required expenditure of blood and treasure and the barriers to success in Afghanistan, including an ineffective regime and sagging support from the population. Thwarting the creation of a physical haven also would have to offset any boost to anti-U.S. terrorism stemming from perceptions that the United States had become an occupier rather than a defender of Afghanistan.
Among the many parallels being offered between Afghanistan and the Vietnam War, one of the most disturbing concerns inadequate examination of core assumptions. The Johnson administration was just as meticulous as the Obama administration is being in examining counterinsurgent strategies and the forces required to execute them. But most American discourse about Vietnam in the early and mid-1960s took for granted the key — and flawed — assumptions underlying the whole effort: that a loss of Vietnam would mean that other Asian countries would fall like dominoes to communism, and that a retreat from the commitment to Vietnam would gravely harm U.S. credibility.
The Obama administration and other participants in the debate about expanding the counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan can still avoid comparable error. But this would require not merely invoking Sept. 11 and taking for granted that a haven in Afghanistan would mean the difference between repeating and not repeating that horror. It would instead mean presenting a convincing case about how such a haven would significantly increase the terrorist danger to the United States. That case has not yet been made.

Clearly, preventing terrorist attacks on the American homeland should be a priority of the U.S. government. Terrorist attacks kill innocent civilians and spread fear that is harmful to our nation’s economic and psychological well-being.
But we need to have a sober, fear-free, post-post-9/11 discussion about the best ways to use our limited resources to prevent terrorist attacks while pursuing our other national objectives.
I think Pillar’s piece raises an important element of that conversation.
You can read the entire article here.
— Ben Katcher

Comments

42 comments on “How Much Do Terrorist “Safe Havens” Matter?

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Carroll…good post thanks for the article…now understand better why they want to refer it to the UN Security Council…things are popping…
    neo control…oooooh…

    Reply

  2. Bart says:

    My first reaction to the Pillar op-ed about safe havens is that surely the wise ones at the White House and Pentagon are aware of this, but ignore it in the name of keeping the military and its suppliers used to war.

    Reply

  3. secret admirer says:

    ooooh, ooooh Nadine, once again I stand in awe of you powers of persuasion. How dare these rubes snigger at you.
    “You had better hope that Israel’s own internal sense of morality holds up, for YOU are creating the temptation for them to become much less careful of Arab civilian’
    And the way you throw around such wonderfully empty threats, it’s so titillating.
    How does it work? Do you get paid by the word or by the lie? I think I could do it, if I just knew who to contact.

    Reply

  4. nadine says:

    Yes, there are unfortunately many Jews who are leftist imbeciles, who obey the sole moral imperative of the modern left, which is to be indiscriminately undiscrimating. They figure if Israel stops fighting terror, peace must just break out all over, because everybody wants peace, right? This makes about as much sense as the small child who believes that he becomes invisible when he puts a bag over his head, but there you are.
    Israel fought an enemy in Gaza who wired houses to explode with the civilians still inside; who housed their military HQ in Shifa Hospital; who housed their firing posts and weapons caches in apartments, mosques, schools, etc.; who wore no uniforms and used children as combatants; who used ambulances as personnel carriers, etc.
    Israel took more measures to avoid killing civilians than the US army or any other army would do; including phoning apartments to warn of impending bombing raids and firing dud bombs to chase away human shield civilians, but of course real civilians died, in addition to the many combatants who were claimed as civilians once they fell.
    The authors of the Geneva Conventions, which you might read sometime, understood that they if they tried to make civilian persons and structures unconditionally protected, then would only INSURE that fighters used them as shields; the guarantee of 100% safety would make it irresistible. So they made the protection conditional upon their being used for civilian purposes only and allowed exceptions due to military necessity. But then, the authors of the Geneva Conventions had actually fought wars.
    For any other army, it would not be a “war crime” to blow up a mosque whose secondary explosions testify to the large amount of explosives stored in it, as here http://www.wikio.co.uk/video/735499
    But Israel is always judged guilty in advance. You had better hope that Israel’s own internal sense of morality holds up, for YOU are creating the temptation for them to become much less careful of Arab civilians. If they are going to be judged guilty of war crimes no matter how carefully they fight, then, the reasoning goes, they might as well fight less carefully and more effectively. After all, why not? if they will be judged equally guilty no matter what they actually do.

    Reply

  5. arthurdecco says:

    Outraged American, U GO GURL!

    Reply

  6. Outraged American says:

    See Nadine, your type are the reason The Chosen have been
    hated, and that’s really unfair to The Chosen who are good and
    great people.
    This never-ending bitterness does not become a religion — you
    crucified Christ for Christ’s sake — have we held it against you?
    Israel committed atrocities in the Gaza Strip within living
    memory, December and January; I think that most of us were
    alive then, some might have been in a pre-natal ward, using
    our tax dollars.
    No matter what Iran did it did not use our tax dollars, but to be
    fair I will call up an Iranian friend right now, one who used to
    translate for me whose brother was killed by the mullahs, and
    ask what the real story is about what happened to the Iranian
    protestors, as opposed to the Hasbara / Memri/ SITE story that
    the UsRael mainstream media is propagating.
    You Yids who think that Yids are Supreme Beings need to STFU.
    Guess who is behind this latest salvo directed against Iran?
    One guess.
    OK, you were wrong. It’s a former Israeli settler/ Duali named
    Makovsky.
    We need to take away those contraband copies of “The Joy of
    Sex” from those settlers and teach them Puritan values like we
    have.
    The Worms in the Apple (antiwar.com)
    Who’s really behind that “bipartisan” call to attack Iran?
    (excerpt)
    Other details about his background are … interesting. A USA
    Today article published in 1995 quotes a Michael Makovsky who
    lived at a settlement in the West Bank, and was a friend of Yigal
    Amir – the right-wing extremist who murdered Yitzhak Shamir.
    According to this report, Makovsky’s extremist allegiances aren’t
    limited to paling around with assassins. He was reportedly a
    member, in his student days at least, of the neo-fascist “Betar”
    organization, which has a military structure (members wear
    uniforms, and engage in “drills”) and calls for a “Greater Israel.”
    continues
    http://tinyurl.com/nwu7b8
    And Nadine, many of the guys over at antiwar.com are members
    of your tribe, and they call Israel out every chance they get.
    Because they’re smart and not insecure, and not holding onto to
    some imaginary vision of an imaginary country called “Zion” or
    rather “Glory Hole.”

    Reply

  7. Neo Controll says:

    “If Israel has a right to “defend itself”, so does Iran.”
    You do follow that, ‘Nadine’, or does it have to be broken down?

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If (God forbid) Iran nukes Tel Aviv tomorrow, you will still blame Israel for it”
    Blame them??? Not me.
    If Israel has a right to “defend itself”, so does Iran.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    Only the modern left has the gall to support a regime whose spiritual leader, Ayatollah Yazdi, tells his followers that it is legal to rape political prisoners who protested a stolen election and lecture about the soul of Judaism in the same breath! The soul of Judaism needs no lectures from fools who think appeasing genocidal extremists is the road to peace.
    I would compare you to Neville Chamberlain, except it would be an insult to Chamberlain. Hitler worked hard to fool Chamberlain, and once Hitler reneged on the Munich agreement Chamberlain understood that he had been fooled. You are incapable of that much understanding. If (God forbid) Iran nukes Tel Aviv tomorrow, you will still blame Israel for it.

    Reply

  10. JamesL says:

    Oops, my mistake. They wouldn’t be the same old Russian missiles. They would be the new improved Russian missiles.

    Reply

  11. Outraged American says:

    I’ll be honest, which I am about once a year, it must be Yom
    Kippur, and say when you work in the industry you could
    potentially start to hate Jews. Oy gevalt can I tell you stories…
    My husband does and he’s half on his mother’s side, which gives
    him the ludicrously named “right of return.” He’d be out
    chaining fellow Members to the back of pick-up trucks and then
    taking them on a long haul drive if it wouldn’t get him sent back
    to maximum security.
    I do not. I believe that people should be taken for who they are
    and not for the labels that they or others have affixed to them.
    I have worked with so many Jews who are just extraordinary,
    although not many in the industry — almost everyone in the
    industry is a fucktard so you can’t really blame the Jews for that
    one — but in the peace movement.
    Passionate, committed, industrious, I wish I could say the same
    about Indians.
    One of my best friends, who I’ve worked with trying to stop
    further sanctions/ a blockade/ a war on Iran, is an Ashkenazi
    Jew. I told him last year that it kind of seems now that it’s the
    good Ashkenazi Jews, like him, vs. the bad Ashkenazi Jews, like
    Perle, deciding the fate of the world.
    Like it’s this internal struggle for Judaism’s soul and the rest of
    us are just along for the potential nightmare. My friend thought
    that was a very interesting perspective. In fact yesterday he
    encouraged me to leave my husband for him. Exchanging one
    Yid for another. It’s kind of like moving around congressional
    districts in LA.
    I do think that we have to be honest — cultural differences do
    matter-indoctrination into any belief system is far too easy and
    very hard to lose — but MOST IMPORTANTLY, judge people not
    for their race or religion or whatever, but for themselves and
    their actions.

    Reply

  12. JamesL says:

    OA: “Bibi’s trip to Russia was to draw a red line. Russia is supposed to deliver Iran missile systems, Israel’s demanding that she doesn’t.”
    Those wouldn’t be the Russian missile systems that the US and Israel both pooh pooh so much would they? “They can deploy ’em, but we’ll shoot ’em down if they ever try to use ’em.” That we heard about a few years ago when the US was having a carrier group meet in the shoals of Iran? As I recall the Russian announcement back then of the conclusion of another missile delivery to Iran was shadowed a few weeks later by China aiming a blunderbuss at space and letting fly, telling the US in a nice way that if it wanted to control space it could go ahead and spend all that money, but that a few ballistic shotguns waved at prime orbits, containing not super weapons, but possibly gravel, bb’s, dead refigerators, or maybe even donkeys would quickly put an end to anyone using space as any kind of platform at all, not to mention a weapons platform to impose control over humans. Wherever there is an expensive high tech “solution”, there’s a low tech workaround. Of course the major media didn’t follow those stories very far, and so most Americans still think that it was a waste of time and money for China to blow up its own satellite. Silly us.

    Reply

  13. Mr.Murder says:

    “Universal health care alone could have saved 150,000 American lives since 2001, likely for the same cost as the two wars or even less. Does anyone think Bin Laden would be capable of killing that many Americans in the same timeframe?”
    Well said, joe!

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Outraged American, Sep 17 2009, 11:12AM – Link
    Carroll, you have no idea what courage it took for Ebert (who’s
    supposed to be a pig BTW not just look like one) to do that.
    Even if you’re a Member of the Tribe, criticizing Israel in
    Hollywood is verboten. Ask Ed Asner.>>>>>>>
    Looks like that might change. A lot of big Jewish money men in HW just got whacked by their fellow Jew Maddof.
    I stared noticing after the FEDs shut down the Jewish meat plant in KS for about a dozens crimes that there seems to be a trend. Going unnoticed is a lot of Jews or zionist/Israeli supporters have been put on the financial skids lately,like the casino owner in LVagas and several others. About 4 of the major,major zio Israel and dem donors are in dire $$$ straits due to one thing or another and some fraud investigations.
    If I didn’t know better I would think some agencies are out to get them.

    Reply

  15. Outraged American says:

    JamesL; Bibi’s trip to Russia was to draw a red line. Russia is
    supposed to deliver Iran missile systems, Israel’s demanding
    that she doesn’t. This per the expert (and he really is one) I
    spoke with yesterday.
    The good news is that The Expert doesn’t think that many will
    die in the initial Israeli attack on Iran. He didn’t have time to
    clarify but he said that relatively new weapons would allow for an
    attack on Iran’s nuclear plants without releasing massive
    amounts of radiation.
    The bad news is that The Expert feels strongly that Israel is a
    wild card and will behave irrationally even when it will clearly
    harm her own interests.
    If you want to know more ask Steve for my email address.
    Hell, everyone else has it. easy e is scrawling it on the walls of
    public toilets after I told everyone his corn cob isn’t shucked and
    the size of the middle finger I’m pointing right now at the Israel
    lobby/ terrorism/ military/ industrial complex.
    Just called Howard Berman’s office, chairperson of the House
    Foreign Affairs Committee, who’s yet again asking for stricter
    sanctions and a blockade on Iran. Technically that ass bite still
    “represents” me.
    I told the fucker who answered the phone at Berman’s office,
    and was eating lunch in my ear, that I was married to a Tribal
    Member and we were both fed the hell up with Congress acting
    more Likud than the Likudites.
    Giraldi has a great article on Berman’s treason over at
    antiwar.com:
    Congressman Howard L. Berman of California, who is
    unfortunately the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs
    Committee, is also on board the Bash the Mullahs bandwagon.
    He celebrated September 10th by addressing the National Jewish
    Leadership Advocacy Day on Iran. Berman called for “…
    stopping Iran from achieving its nuclear ambition. The Iranian
    nuclear issue is at the forefront of my policy agenda.” He favors
    a draconian sanctions regime, “I intend to do my best to make
    sure that those consequences are serious and have a real
    impact. I will urge the Administration to pursue the strongest
    and the most effective sanctions measures possible… I intend to
    take action on my bill — HR 2194, the Iran Refined Petroleum
    Sanctions Act — expeditiously and at the most opportune time
    to accomplish our shared goal, if Iran does not reverse course.
    Absent some compelling evidence as to why I should do
    otherwise, I will mark up my bill next month and begin the
    process of tightening the screws on Tehran.”
    http://tinyurl.com/p672qd

    Reply

  16. JamesL says:

    In all the above posts it is US US US US Israel US US Israel. All whirling around what used to be the center. I would think Russia might have something to say, probably behind the scenes so America could continue its self propagating slide. Or China, which would have little reason to prevent the US debilitating itself. I suppose the ISI is just sitting around too, no cares and no opinion about Israel attacking Iran or randomly sticking hot pokers in every direction.
    So where DID Bibi jet to? Moscow, where one would expect more straight talk than DC, and a probable thumbs down on an Israeli attack on Iran? Did Obama privately trade continued Israeli building in Jerusalem for Israeli assurance of no attack on Iran, concurrent with PR leaks that an attack WILL happen at year’s end being a smoke screen and to keep everyone jumpy? Or did Obama collapse on settlements, to be further backstabbed later when Israel DOES attack?
    Few nations would refrain from considering how world power concentrations will be arranged after the US has played with itself until it is bankrupt, and after Israel does finally attack someone and get the Really Big War it seems to want so much.
    The US in Afghanistan is a replay of the Soviet
    occupation, and America will bleed and sweat out its trucked-in water there until it finally finds a good exit excuse and goes home. The US can attack all it wants, but it can’t occupy and it can’t control. The longer it stays the more it will destroy and the more enemies it will make. As someone said, those Taliban are home town boys and they aren’t going anywhere any more than the Viet Cong dreamed of emigrating to a better land.
    Joe: “Foreign terrorists have killed roughly 3,500 Americans in the past half century.” You forgot to mention that most of those 3500 died because of the greatest show of US military/political incompetency since Pearl Harbor. America has invested thousands or millions of tons of dollars in an air force that was supposed to control American skies 24/7 and protect it. But instead of US victory over Soviet fighters or bombers or cruise missile ships (the only things planes can defend against), we got a COMPLETE failure of the US Air Force. Busy training somewhere else is the official word. For over an hour they couldn’t even manage to find four airliners blipping about in US airspace with their fancy interceptors and a satellite system that could read license plates on cars 40 years ago. Was the Air Force really that incompetent? If so, investing even more money in it makes no sense.

    Reply

  17. Outraged American says:

    Carroll, you have no idea what courage it took for Ebert (who’s
    supposed to be a pig BTW not just look like one) to do that.
    Even if you’re a Member of the Tribe, criticizing Israel in
    Hollywood is verboten. Ask Ed Asner.
    Kudos to Ebert. Kudos to Jane Fonda. The truth is starting to
    come out. You have no idea what it was like in the industry
    back when I started almost 20 years ago. Tel Aviv on the Pacific.
    The people in charge weren’t Israelis per se, just Zionists.
    Which it is again but in a different way: now they’re all these
    young Israeli ex-pats swanning around opening up schwarma
    shops on Ventura Blvd., probably all “art students” because
    there’s also a huge Iranian population in the Valley. Gotta get
    that false flag started to blame on Iran before December.
    Another article confirming what the US military planner told me
    yesterday about an Israeli attack on Iran around December:
    Iran attack: Israel ex-min sees end-yr deadline
    http://tinyurl.com/kqhunr

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    Here a bite, there a bite.
    Israel Struggles to Wriggle Out of the Dock
    by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, September 17, 2009
    Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo in Washington contributed to this report
    JERUSALEM – The Goldstone Commission has delivered an unremittingly scathing report on Israel’s 22-day war against Hamas in Gaza last December and January.
    But the outstanding question is what kind of action the report – legal and political – will yield. Will it, in fact, result in any action at all?
    The 574-page report was submitted at the UN on Tuesday. Headed by former South African Supreme Court Justice Richard Goldstone, the Commission concludes that Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” during its Gaza offensive.
    It further asks the UN Security Council to call on Israel to conduct “appropriate investigations”. If these internal probes are deemed not to meet international standards, then Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war should be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Goldstone recommends that the Security Council act if, within six months, Israel does not carry out such an investigation.
    Devoting much less space to violations by Hamas, the report found that the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups also amounted to war crimes. It calls for a similar legal process against Hamas.
    But, the report comes down especially hard on Israel, lambasting its disproportionate use of force.
    Despite the strong conclusions and recommendations of a process that could eventually land Israel in the international dock, there is skepticism about how far the proposals can actually go.
    Israel is determined its condemnation does not go beyond the report.
    It is pulling out all the stops, political and emotional, to back up a fierce diplomatic battle that it has unleashed to prevent it even being put on to the Security Council agenda, thus breaking a chain that might lead to the ICC prosecuting Israeli officials involved in the military campaign.
    The UN Human Rights Council, which appointed Goldstone, will be convening in Geneva for a special session on the report on Sep. 29.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency consultations on Tuesday night. “The goal is to avoid a slippery slope which would lead Israel to The Hague,” said a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office.
    Israeli officials had anticipated condemnation, but say they were taken aback by the “harsh tone” of the report and by “the sweeping and unrestrained judgment.”
    “Exactly what we feared occurred,” said Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev on Israel Radio Tuesday evening. “The mandate of the Goldstone Commission was one-sided from the outset. The initiative to establish the commission came from the UN Human Rights Council which is known for its routine condemnation of Israel.”
    Dismissing criticism at home that Israel should have cooperated with the Commission (which Israel steadfastly refused to do from the outset), deputy Israeli foreign minister Dany Ayalon, said before traveling to New York, that had Israel worked with Goldstone, “not one word of the report would have been altered.” On the contrary, said Ayalon, it would only have “legitimized” the findings.
    “A prize for terrorists,” is how the Israeli Defense Ministry is describing the report. “The comparison between those who foment terrorism and its victims is unconscionable,” said one defense official, requesting anonymity.
    The Israel army is leaving rebuttals to politicians and diplomats. But army spokespersons point out that the Judge Advocate’s Office of the Israel Defense Forces provided details to the foreign ministry of investigations into 36 specific incidents wherein troops allegedly violated international law.
    The battle between Israel and the international community is shaping up as a battle about de-legitimisation.
    On the one hand, the compilers of the report have set out to de-legitimize the excesses of war. In Judge Goldstone’s words: “I think we should all rejoice in living in a world today where there is accountability for war crimes, there wasn’t until very recently, it’s a very new situation, and it’s very important that there should be…no impunity for international crimes that are committed.”
    On the other hand, Israel is desperately aiming to de-legitimize the critics of what it considers a legitimate war of defense
    Although alarmed by the impact that the Commission’s findings could have on Israel’s international standing, Israeli officials are reasonably confident that its friends in the Security Council, especially the U.S., will prevent the Goldstone recommendations being transferred to The Hague.
    Their practical worries do extend, however, to another front. Robbie Sabel, a former legal advisor at the Israeli Foreign Ministry and now on the staff of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told IPS, “There is a real possibility that this could give legitimacy to private legal initiatives in Western European countries, like in Britain and Scandinavia, for the issuing to Israeli officials and army officers of warrants for war crimes.”
    Already, the Israeli defense establishment is understood to be working out plans for extending legal aid to officers who may face indictment on war crimes charges.
    Israeli Human Rights groups called for Israel to carry out its own thorough investigation, as proposed by the Commission. This was ruled out by Israel’s UN ambassador: “I don’t think we will change because of the report,” said Shalev. “I know the ethics of the Israeli Defense Forces. Every complaint is being looked into, hundreds are being looked into.”
    Justice Goldstone suggested that past inquires carried out within Israel did not meet the standards of a full and proper investigation. “It’s tantamount to demanding that the Manhattan police force investigate serious crime in New York and confine itself to interviewing the murderers.”
    The Human Rights Council made a point of releasing the findings on the eve of the new General Assembly session. This, say some, adds significance to the Goldstone call for accountability, and for a timetable to achieve it.
    The immediate outcome on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may, however, be just more of the familiar acerbic finger-pointing and attempts to score tactical points.”

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    For those not familiar with this flap…the government of Israel rigged a deal to try and help their image by being the sister city for the Toronto flim festival.
    Hollywood decided to step up on I-P and a number of well known actors, writers and producers started a protest and made a formal complaint about Israel being featured in the festival.
    Now it’s cascading.
    Roger Ebert amends his review of the Toronto protest
    by Adam Horowitz on September 16, 2009 · 21 comments
    Two thumbs way up for Roger Ebert. He has done an about-face on his criticisms of the protests against the Toronto International Film Festival’s City to City program with Tel Aviv. Here is part of the what Ebert had to say initially on his Journal from Toronto:
    The protest is misguided and destructive. For what it’s worth, I believe the Palestinians deserve a homeland, and that Israel’s treatment of them has not been worthy of a nation that was itself founded as a homeland. But the artists of a nation cannot be fairly held responsible for the politics of that nation. All “sister cities” programs have a similar objective, to increase person-to-person contact with people from different lands. The City-to-City program, featuring filmmakers based in Tel Aviv, doesn’t link Canada and Israel, but simply spotlights recent work from a center of much recent cinematic achievement.
    And then a day later he added this:
    I’m writing this the day after first posting this entry. I now regret it. The point I make about artists is perfectly valid but I realize I wasn’t prepared with enough facts about the events leading up to the Festival’s decision to showcase Tel Aviv in the City-to-City section. I thought of it as an innocent goodwill gesture, but now realize it was part of a deliberate plan to “re-brand” Israel in Toronto, as a pilot for a larger such program. The Festival should never have agreed to be used like this. It was naive for the plan’s supporters to believe it would have the effect they hoped for.”
    One bite at a time..

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    Posted by FBI special agent #****, Sep 17 2009, 10:05AM>>>>>>>
    LOL
    Unless you have made huge gains since your agency deep sixed the warning reports prior to 911 and refused to issue a search or detain warrant for the one of the hijackers that you were “told” had a US visa and that you were “told” was entering the US for “flight training”..then I’am not worried.
    If you were doing your fricking job ..which is to defend the US against “domestic enemies” ..congress would already be in ashes.

    Reply

  21. FBI special agent #**** says:

    Duly noted, Carroll. Thanks for the heads up!

    Reply

  22. Carroll says:

    The only reason I’am not a terrorist and probably a lot of other people aren’t is lack of opportunity.
    I can’t find the right group to join to burn down congress.
    But I’ll keep looking.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Another failed mission to Israel goes on Mitchell’s record, and another day of the Israel/Pal/USA story gets totally ignored by TWN and MSNBC.
    Anyone else notice the Islamic terrorist boogie man card is getting waved in our faces hot and heavy right now, by ALL the media whores, and even TWN???
    Of course, its just a “conspiracy theory” that we are being set up and manipulated by Washington, Israel, and our “Fourth Estate”, isn’t it? After all, look how honestly we were served Iraq on a shit covered platter.
    Here we go again.

    Reply

  24. Neo Controll says:

    The old “1% doctrine”, eh Nadine? Sure, we can afford that, even if it costs billions per .0001%, and millions of innocent lives. Good thinking. Makes you a real patriot. I get it.
    Obama as ‘pacifist’? Yeah, that’ll fly. LOL.
    – NCHQ

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    Just started reading quite belatedly “The Looming Tower” and what is striking from the get-go is that it’s seemingly not possible to filter all of the experiences that might lead someone to become an instigator, and that what leads someone to take on this role is a complex interchange of internal forces and external experiences.
    So we can’t really stop individual activists — not by changing our behavior, getting people in or out of a particular place, giving someone one less excuse to attack or whatever. If someone has the requisite internal and external pushes, that someone will become an instigator and that’s that.
    Tim McVeigh didn’t have problems with Israel, at least not so far as I know. Probably there’s a website somewhere…..
    If we can’t really stop individuals, the next question has to be whether or not we can do something about groups. What size of group is visible enough, what kinds of institutional supports do such groups need in order to go from talking the talk to walking it.
    And this is where the safe haven thing comes in. A state that doesn’t care to look for groups, that might even prefer to have some of those groups around as either an outlet for internal pressure or as a focal point to help keep power in the hands of the powerful might actually be a real problem.
    It’s not a domino effect that’s the problem; rather it is a mutualism effect we have to worry about. But I don’t know how much we have to worry about it.
    “Safe haven” might be something of a misnomer in that it fails to show the ways in which terrorism and the government support each other. Might be better to look at the metaphor as a biological mutualism. If the Afghan government under the Taliban would depend on terrorism as a major export commodity, then maybe we need to “do” something.
    This something is, in this case, motivated by defense. There still remains the fact that the Taliban are pretty cruel all in all and maybe some amount of human rights thinking is appropriate whatever else is an issue.
    It’s a mess to tease out what the acceptable range of justifications should be. Even defense can be a problem when that very defense requires inhumanity. Broadening the range to include OUR version of how women should live is a thing to think about. But what happens if we don’t broaden it?
    I brought this up on a different thread to a certain amount of derision and “charity”, but the point still holds. If we don’t act, those who suffer from our lack of action suffer in a particularly horrendous way — someone is watching the rape and doing nothing, someone might even be cheering it on. No one is taking action to help. What is the point of humanity if people can sit and watch? Imagine being the victim — aware that one is a spectacle as well.
    And further, if we collectively do nothing in the face of someone’s suffering, what must we become?
    (here comes the derision, I can feel it across the web…)
    So the victims of the violence are also victims of inaction.
    And the passive witnesses are stunned in their passivity.
    What are we?
    If I had any idea how to deal with the twin evils of the wickedness of doing nothing and the wickedness of doing something (that might even be ineffective) I would be much more than I am.
    But we should at least recognize that there’s an actual dilemma in every humanitarian disaster as we try to balance doing and watching.
    If we pull troops out of Afghanistan, we may have defensive problems, and we will become witness to horror.
    If we leave troops in or even add more, we are certainly sacrificing lives, quite probably causing other problems since troops do that, possibly defending against terrorism, and certainly not being mere passive witnesses to the horrors of the Taliban. How to choose from this list?

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    So joe, is it all one to you whether your old Dad dies of old age after the doctors have done all they can, dies prematurely because some insurance bureaucrat refused to pay for a treatment his doctor thought worth trying, or is deliberately murdered? After all, he’s dead either way!
    Doesn’t sound like such a good argument when you put it that way, huh?

    Reply

  27. TonyForesta says:

    Forgive the double post, but I offer another reason why positing thousand of troops in uniform and tons of hardware in the most hostile regions on earth is a fruitless and impotent (not to mention costly, bloody, doomed to fail)enterprize.
    We should allow and encourage (through covert ways) the establishment of these superduper scarry terrorist training facilities. Target them, and wait for their big graduation day or some goat buggering celebration, send in a few Reapers, and Predators, and torch every single jihadi in 3 square mile radius. No troops in uniform at risk, relatively little hardware involved, and the molto dead jihadis. And don’t tell me we can’t find and target these facilities. America spends 600bn taxpayers dollars a year and defense, and tosses another unknown unknown amount of billions to contractors, and the socalled intelligence operators. WE OWN THE SKY!! Target and kill these freaks from the air with drones, and cease this stupid and fruitless neverendingwaronterror nonesense, which a toxic remnant and malignant legacy of the of the fascists in the bushgov. This work will not be pretty, or bloodless, and some innocent people which the jihadi’s coward use as shields or mask will die – but alas, – when in comes torching jihadis’ – “it is better to give than to recieve!” Or we can turn our backs on the terrible truths and continue the status quo. Innocent die either way, but at least we can focus on eliminating the real threats to America, and quit using the fiction of the Pearharborlikeevent of 9/11, another Riechstadt fire as a feable excuse for advancing protecting and shielding the interests of America’s predaorclass.

    Reply

  28. TonyForesta says:

    Nice post Mr. Clemons. We do in fact “…need to have a sober, fear-free, post-post-9/11 discussion about the best ways to use our limited resources to prevent terrorist attacks while pursuing our other national objectives.”
    I wouldn’t hold your breath however, because if we ever did that discussion, – it reveal that the costly bloody horrorshow in Afghanistan, like the costly bloody horrorshow in Iraq – is all about the oil.
    I’m 100% in support of ruthless hunting down, capturing, or preferably killing every jihadi freak on earth and all those who aid and abet them. But these necessary task and operations are police and intelligence operations, and do not require and will NEVER succeed with thousands of troops in uniform, and tons of hardware roaming around the netherreaches of hostiles nations like legionaires.
    In the Afghanistan situation, – the only strategic reason for positing tons of hardware, and thousands of troops, in uniform, and even more thousands of contracts, is to establish a security corridor for oil and gas supplies out of the Caspian bypassing Russia.
    The entire evildoer, neverendingwaronterrorism babel is a bushgov fabrication to buttress, protect, and enhance American oil and energy
    oligarchs.
    The people are deceptively sold and massmarketed the hideous LIE that “…the issue is whether preventing such a haven would reduce the terrorist threat to the United States enough from what it otherwise would be to offset the required expenditure of blood and treasure and the barriers to success in Afghanistan, including an ineffective regime and sagging support from the population.”
    We’re spying on Americans without due process. We’ve turned immigrants into threats to national security, the NASA is casting a massive fishingnet on all email, phone, and cellular communication, the Constitutions has been savaged and raped, reduced to a “goddamn piece of paper” Pigs, – I mean cops in every city are armed to the teeth, tazing kidz, old women, and shooting first and asking questions later… if another attack were to happen anywhere in Amerika, – it would not be the result of some safe haven in some godforsaken region of the world where a few jihadis can torture dogs, blowup adobe huts, and play with themselves and goats over swarma – it will be the direct result of another inside job; wherein some fascist, predatorclass element of the government intentinally subverts or fails to inform some other element of the government of an impending attack, and sets the table, covers the tracks, and opens the doors for some jihadi freaks, financed by Saudi royals, and trained by the CIA to conduct another massmurder operation in the US (that will be exactly mirrored by a government wargame conujured by that satanic beast dickcheney to misdirect and throw sand in the eyes of the TRUTH, and real defenders of America)… just like 9/11.
    There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth, massive global economic upheaval, more entrenchment of the predator class, and more grotesque wanton profiteering, and of course another fruitless obvious whitewash with handpicked insiders pretending to be an investitigation and conveniently IGNORING all the truly relevent and critical FACTS and TRUTHS ans SUSPECTS!!!
    America’s most lethal and mortal enemies, walk amongst us!!!

    Reply

  29. joe says:

    Foreign terrorists have killed roughly 3,500 Americans in the past half century. In comparison, automobiles kill 3,000 Americans every month, and 3,000 Americans die every two months from lack of health insurance. Yet we are hesitant to make even modest investments to expand life-saving access to transit and health care in this country, while we are willing to devote nearly a trillion dollars to fight two wars that have themselves killed more Americans than Al Qaeda ever has, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, and whose contributions to making Americans safer are unclear. Universal health care alone could have saved 150,000 American lives since 2001, likely for the same cost as the two wars or even less. Does anyone think Bin Laden would be capable of killing that many Americans in the same timeframe?

    Reply

  30. easy e says:

    Posted by nadine, Sep 17 2009, 1:16AM
    P.S. Did you notice Osama bin Laden plugged Walt & Mearshimer’s book? What a great endorsement for the realist foreign policy camp!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    …..and Rita Katz!

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    All through the campaign, Obama said a thousand times that Afghanistan was the important war, the “good” war, the war that Bush should have prosecuted instead of taking his eye off the ball by invading Iraq.
    But now that he is President, Obama is refusing to give McChrystal any more troops (which army sources say he is demanding), and Paul Pillar is musing on the un-necessity of winning in Afghanistan: “The preparations most important to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks took place not in training camps in Afghanistan but, rather, in apartments in Germany, hotel rooms in Spain and flight schools in the United States. ”
    Okay, I see. the 80,000 men who were trained in the Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan (including the 9/11 hijackers) were apparently just a side-show, not a headquarters. Nobody should believe that it mattered to Al Qaeda to lose those camps, or crimped their style in any way.
    And so the Great Bug-Out is being prepared. Al Qaeda may prepare their victory statements and plan to reconstitute their bases as they please.
    Doubtless Obama will find some other hypothetical war he can declare he would support, just to demonstrate that he isn’t really a pacifist with no stomach for an actual fight.
    P.S. Did you notice Osama bin Laden plugged Walt & Mearshimer’s book? What a great endorsement for the realist foreign policy camp!

    Reply

  32. ... says:

    if you ‘want’ to know how much they matter….

    Reply

  33. ... says:

    just for clarity and i like what everyone else has said… the ”safe haven for terrorists” are head offices of corporations like lockheed martin… if you know how much they matter, go and visit them…
    dan thanks for the article… it is naive to think that the usa’s involvement in making war on countries overseas can lead to anything other then hostility and resentment towards the usa as a nation… when the usa gets around to figuring this out is an open question… it’s possible usa politicians know this but need to continue to feed off the same industries that rely on war and/or expansive military spending for their continuity… i don’t think the usa can ever rest easy when they are causing death and hardship on others in faraway places… i think many citizens see this but feel unable to change the direction of their country…

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    The proponents of the “safe haven” rationale for being in Afghanistan should ask themselves how much of a safe haven Timothy McVeigh needed.
    All the arguments being proffered for continuing the fiasco in Afghanistan are just BS. The foreign policy mob is grasping at straws to justify the unjustifiable. (Thank goodness they at least have to do that and can’t simply do whatever they want without being questioned.)

    Reply

  35. David says:

    I’m not sure your point can be stated too often, Mr. Murder. Somehow these essential realities keep disappearing from the conversation.

    Reply

  36. Fidel Castro Ruz says:

    the taliban are not terrorists, they are men fighting for their homeland and their way of life.
    period the end.
    get the hell out of there and look into 911 and world trade center tower seven and figure out what the hell really happened.
    it doesnt take a genius to deduce that.
    but ill order one from a university if needed.
    the coup did occur …here in america.

    Reply

  37. Mr.Murder says:

    The August memo indicates we had enough things in place to meet the threat at the time.
    It wasn’t because of inaction by warlords in Afghanistan that the events here succeeded.
    They were trained to fly in America.

    Reply

  38. Dan Kervick says:

    Good piece by Pillar. And another interesting piece in FP by Imtiaz Gul:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/09/16/four_reasons_for_optimism_in_pakistan?page=0,0

    Reply

  39. jackie says:

    “Clearly, preventing terrorist attacks on the American homeland should be a priority of the U.S. government. Terrorist attacks kill innocent civilians and spread fear that is harmful to our nation’s economic and psychological well-being.”
    What about other innocent civilians and their nations economic and psychological well being? I know if I was an Afghani I would be really sick of us killing them. Not to mention the fear.
    Where is their safe haven from drones?

    Reply

  40. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Safe Haven for OBL wad a US Military Medical facility as late as July 2001, according to Michael Scheurer…OT, but 9/11 cont. WORLD RADIO PREMIERE OF LOOSE CHANGE 9/11: AN AMERICAN COUP
    Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 13:20:28 -0700
    WORLD RADIO PREMIERE OF LOOSE CHANGE 9/11: AN AMERICAN COUP
    Tune in to KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles (http://www.KPFK.org) this Wednesday
    September 16th at 5PM PT (8PM ET) when comic legend Roseanne Barr talks about the new film Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup!
    Dramatically narrated by Daniel Sunjata of FX’s Rescue Me, and an outspoken advocate for the First Responders, Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup first examines mysterious and infamous events that reshaped world history – from
    the Reichstag Fire in 1933 that catapulted Hitler to dictatorship – to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 that led to the Vietnam War, and then takes viewers on a turbulent journey through several pivotal moments in history before delving into the most significant catastrophe in recent memory, 9/11.

    Reply

  41. JamesL says:

    Duh, yes. Safe haven, safe house. Implicative terms used by the attackers “on the side of the law”. All you need is one house and any kind of official sounding justification. The GWOT targets houses as a matter of course, and houses are fairly…ubiquitous, with heavy and suspicious concentrations where people live. Do the math of shooting a cruise missile at an RPG equipped donkey and you can see that the donkeys and RPGs will outlast the cruise missiles. Wasn’t it Germany where the 911 attackers organized? Lots of houses there. Lots of safe havens. Veeery suspect. Time to attack.

    Reply

  42. ... says:

    go to lockheed martins head office and find out! can you imagine them without a job, or not working towards the latest war type technology???

    Reply

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