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November 14, 2003

Reconstruction and deconstruction…

More evidence that the warfront with Jihadistan is attracting Jihadis from abroad and – as planned – inviting the enemy to battle while keeping the frontlines on their turf, not ours: Commanding Gen. John Abizaid estimates there are now up to 5,000 insurgent terrorists in Iraq, but the most dangerous foes remain Saddamite loyalists: “I would say that this group of Ba'athists, by far, represents the greatest threat to peace and stability.” The primary insurgent groups are the Return Party, Muhammad’s Army, remnants of Saddam’s Fedayeen, the Shiite Muntada al-Wilaya and Ansar al-Islam – all of whom are suspected to have ties to al-Qa'ida. Some of the attackers modus operandi indicate they may be directed by Saddam Hussein, or his former deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez outlined the current battle lines: “We are taking the fight into the safe havens of the enemy in the heartland of the country where we continue to face former regime loyalists, criminals and foreign terrorists who are trying to isolate the coalition forces from the Iraqi people and break the will of the international community. They will fail.” As for how close our forces are to tapping Saddam, Gen. Sanchez said, “Not close enough.”

Paul Bremer, U.S. interim administrator in Iraq, met with senior Bush administration officials this week to discuss the accelerated democratization of Iraq. Bremer’s visit comes amid a series of heightened attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. Senior administration officials are frustrated with the Iraqi Governing Council’s slow progress toward a draft constitution and democratic elections. (It is ironic that, while the Left at home and abroad berates the Bush administration for its “ulterior motives” and “failed policies” in Iraq, the administration itself is accelerating the establishment of Iraqi democratic leadership in order that we can withdraw our forces faster.) The IGC has one month to lay out a timetable for the writing of a constitution and the transfer of authority to a democratically elected government.

In hearts-and-minds news, U.S. forces this week arrested 35 Iraqi militants in connection with the 26 October rocket attack against Baghdad’s Al Rasheed Hotel, which housed Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and resulted in the death of a senior U.S. officer. The intelligence-gathering and subsequent arrest of the conspirators was made possible only through the cooperation of Iraqi civilians acting in conjunction with the U.S. military presence. This fact alone is perhaps as important as the arrests themselves.

Abu Salma Al-Hijazi, identified as an al-Qa'ida commander directly under Osama bin Laden, issued a new message this week during an interview from an undisclosed location. Abu Salma said that “a huge and very courageous strike” will take place, possibly before the end of Ramadan (26 November), killing 100,000 “infidels” in an attack that will “amaze the world and turn al-Qa'ida into [an organization that] horrifies the world until the law of Allah is implemented…on His land. … You wait and see that the balance of power between al-Qa'ida and its rivals will change, all of a sudden, Allah willing. … There is no doubt that the demise of America and its collapse will lead to the collapse of these fragile regimes that depend on it… We will not stop until we establish the Islamic Caliphate and until Allah’s law is implemented in His land.”

We have, of course, heard such grandiose warnings before, but as The Federalist has warned repeatedly, al-Qa'ida’s ultimate objective is to detonate a nuclear device in an East Coast urban center. Abu Salma’s warning clearly comports with that objective – underscoring again why it is so critical that we keep the warfront with Jihadistan offshore, and that our collective resolve remains undiminished.

Quote of the week…

“On this Veterans Day, with our nation at war, Americans are deeply aware of the current military struggle and of recent sacrifice. Young Americans have died in liberating Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve died in securing freedom in those countries. The loss is terrible. It is borne especially by the families left behind. But in their hurt and in their loneliness, I want these families to know your loved ones served in a good and just cause. They died in distant lands to fight terror, to advance freedom and to protect America. … Today and every day, the prayers of the American people are with those who wear our country’s uniform. They serve a great cause and they follow a great tradition, handed down to them by America’s veterans.” –President George W. Bush

On cross-examination…

“Consequences of us not succeeding here would be very grave. They are for the Iraqis fatal, perhaps for the Middle East almost as fatal.” –U.S. Iraqi administrator Paul Bremer, on the security situation in Iraq, facing a combined threat from Saddam loyalists and al-Qa'ida terrorists

Open query…

“In many nations of the Middle East – countries of great strategic importance – democracy has not yet taken root. And the questions arise: Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.” –President George W. Bush

The BIG lie…

“Alpha Male” wannabe Albert Arnold Gore attacked President Bush this week for failing to make the country safer from terrorist attacks, even though we haven’t experienced another attack since 9/11 (the real Clinton/Gore legacy), and exploiting the attacks to erase civil liberties under the 2001 USA Patriot Act. “In my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama bin Laden.” Gore said, adding that in both cases Bush has “recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger.”

The Un-anointed One droned on, railing against the Patriot Act and calling for its full repeal: “They have taken us much farther down the road toward an intrusive, ‘big brother’-style government – toward the dangers prophesied by George Orwell in his book ‘1984’ – than anyone ever thought would be possible in the United States of America.” (Of course, we at The Federalist have grave doubts as to whether Arnold has actually bothered to read the Patriot Act – or ‘1984’, for that matter.) To the contrary, the vast majority of new law represented in the 2001 Patriot Act has been in effect under a series of executive orders beginning under the Reagan administration in the early 1980s. Unlike a number of Reagan and Bush (41) executive orders revoked under the Clinton administration (including some like Reagan’s E.O. 12612 on Federalism, which really did limit federal prerogatives), the Clinton-Gore duo never acted to revoke any of the pre-existing executive orders which now form the parts of the Patriot Act they claim to find so “objectionable.” We hate the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

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