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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Whack a Mole

“A new National Intelligence Estimate presents a sobering analysis of terrorism threats to the United States, concluding that Al Qaeda has reconstituted its core structure along the Pakistani border and may now be a stronger and more resilient organization today than it appeared a year ago, according to three U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the draft document.
-Newsweek, July 11, 2007

“I put this one up a few days ago.. Al Qaeda seems to be back, and as big as ever, in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.”
-Skippy

“Q: I wonder if you could explain what possible reason there could be for al Qaeda's ability to reconstitute itself, aside from U.S. strength is being diverted in Iraq -- special ops forces and various other military means -- and the U.S. diplomatic abilities, if you will, are compromised in countries that oppose our operation in Iraq? What else could account for al Qaeda's ability to regenerate?
MS. TOWNSEND: Well, there's no question -- I think there's a tendency to try and suggest that al Qaeda core and al Qaeda in Iraq are two separate things. Let's step back for a minute, because I think that is not accurate.
Clearly, what we know is the al Qaeda that attacked us on September 11th was an al Qaeda that is led by Osama bin Laden and caused the killing of 3,000 Americans -- that same al Qaeda, headed by bin Laden, is the same al Qaeda that Zarqawi, when he becomes the emir of al Qaeda in Iraq, swears biot, or loyalty, to. So it's the same organization. This isn't a question of diverting.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Fran Townsend, July 17, 2007

“So the enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda, and the al Qaeda there is just the same as the al Qaeda elsewhere.. so all of the problems (bombings, murders, etc.) in Iraq are just proof that we are directly engaging the terrorists in combat. We will defeat al Qaeda by attacking them in Iraq so we don’t have to attack them in Afghanistan and Pakistan where they, um, are. Good for us!”
-Skippy

“Q: Let me try another approach on the Iraq issue. To what extent has the war turned Iraq into an unprecedented training ground, breeding ground, for terrorists? You didn't have the sophistication with the IEDs and the other things that this war has developed.
MS. TOWNSEND: Well, there's no question that we've watched developing tactics, but they're also being fed -- lest we suggest, that al Qaeda in Iraq is the only enemy inside Iraq. It's not. We know very well, and you've heard briefings from DOD about the transfer of advanced technology into Iraq to advance some of this by Iran. So this is not -- al Qaeda in Iraq is not the only enemy in Iraq. And interestingly enough, recently we've seen Sunni tribal groups walk away from al Qaeda in Iraq.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Fran Townsend, July 17, 2007

“Um.. But not all of our problems in Iraq are al Qaeda apparently. The people developing IEDs are apparently a different group: Iran (and luckily, based on Ms. Townsend’s response, the must not be teaching al Qaeda anything). So apparently Iraq is the central front in our war on al Qaeda AND against Iran. Tough neighborhood. I wonder why we decided to go after al Qaeda there instead of in Afghanistan? I mean, wouldn’t it have been easier to go after just one group? Iran wasn’t supporting terrorist groups against us in Afghanistan.”
-Skippy

“Pakistan's government is battling to save a peace accord with pro-Taliban tribal chiefs in a mountain region bordering Afghanistan, as it seeks their help to drive out al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.
Clan leaders in North Waziristan said at the weekend they were pulling out of an accord to expel non-Pakistani gunmen and would stop cooperating with authorities.
‘It was not the government that scuttled the deal,’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said yesterday in the capital, Islamabad, the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported. ‘The negotiations are still continuing.’
President Pervez Musharraf says the accords signed since 2004 have helped control militants, who fled across the border from Afghanistan after the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001. The Bush administration has criticized the strategy and says that giving tribesmen more autonomy has allowed al-Qaeda to regroup in the region and plan further attacks against the West.”
-Bloomberg News Service, July 17, 2007

“Ah.. I guess we had to shift to focus to Iraq after Pakistan started giving safe haven to the Taliban and al Qaeda in the mountain regions. Without the support of Pakistan we were forced to take the war to al Qaeda in Iraq instead…”
-Skippy

“In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.” -Bob Graham, November 20, 2005

“…except that we had already moved the majority of our troops from the region well before that. The Taliban was deposed. Why would we stay?”
-Skippy

“Q: Fran, I think a lot of Americans watching this will have two very simple questions: Where is Osama bin Laden? And why, nearly six years after the President said we would get him, dead or alive, do we not have him? How has he possibly eluded our grasp?
MS. TOWNSEND: Well, there is no question that we have put extraordinary resources against finding him. If I could answer directly, with a pinpoint on a map where he was, he wouldn't be there. So the question is, does he -- it presumes, frankly, that he sits in a single place with an address, a street address and a phone number, so it should be easy for us to go and get him. I wish, Sheryl, that it were that easy. It's not.”
-Press Gaggle with White House Spokesperson Fran Townsend, July 17, 2007

“It has nothing to do with him being in the area in Pakistan where he is sheltered by the Pakistani peace accord. Nothing to do with the majority of our forces being moved to Iraq. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
-Skippy

“I truly am not that concerned about him [Bin Laden].”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, March 12, 2002


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