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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Going after the head of the snake

Originally Posted At Right Truth

In order to kill the snake you have to cut off the snakes head. Al-Qaeda and related terrorists are trying hard to cut off the heads of those they see as snakes. It's easier for them to attempt this than it is for the United States, since al-Qaeda now is not one snake, but a bed of vipers spread out all over the world. I had planned pull together a list of attempts by the terrorists, but USA Today has kindly done it for me:

A week of assassination attempts, sudden hospitalizations

It's not a good week to be a senior government official.

Odcheney The Taliban says it was trying to kill Vice President Dick Cheney when it sent a bomber to blow himself up today at the main U.S. air base in Afghanistan. Cheney was nowhere near the blast, which took place at a checkpoint, but a number of other people -- 19 at last count -- were killed. "We wanted to target ... Cheney," a Taliban spokesman told Reuters by phone.

Tamil Tiger rebels "slightly injured" the American, German and Italian ambassadors to Indonesia today when they fired mortars at a helicopter that was carrying the envoys to a meeting on development in an area known for separatist violence. AFP says ambassadors from France, Japan and the European Union weren't wounded in the incident.

Iraq's Shiite vice president, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, narrowly escaped assassination Monday as a bomb, which may have been hidden in the podium, ripped through a meeting hall that had just been searched with bomb-sniffing dogs. At least 10 people were killed. "They started preventing visitors from entering the ministry a day earlier, so the criminal must be from inside. Early investigations indicate that an employee ... smuggled TNT into the building," an official told AFP.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani lost consciousness on Sunday and was rushed to a hospital in Jordan where he was being treated for exhaustion and inflamed lungs. Officials denied reports that the ailing leader was being treated for cardiac problems and staying in the hospital's intensive-care unit.

(Photo of Cheney with Afghan President Hamid Karzai by Omar Sobhani, pool via AP)

The comments at the bottom of the USA Today article are pretty interesting, going from one end of the political spectrum to the other. You can go read those for yourself.

What really strikes me from all this news, is that we have a problem folks. We have a security problem. Maybe it should be called an 'intelligence' problem. What a feather it would be in al-Qaeda's turban if they were successful in taking out the Vice President of the United States.

And what about this, "We wanted to target ... Cheney," a Taliban spokesman told Reuters by phone. So Reuters is taking calls from the Taliban? Does anybody think we should be tapping Reuters phone calls? Oh, wait. We couldn't do that, that wouldn't be playing fair.

Mike McConnell told the Senate Armed Service Committee in a hearing on global threats, that "More must be done to go after al-Qaida, which is trying to establish training camps and other operations in Pakistan." Well, that's not exactly breaking news.

I believe we should have had more troops and more emphasis on al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. We should have covered that area with everything that was needed. The fact that they are (1) not cornered, (2) not neutralized, and (3) expanding training and activities, tells me we have not done everything we could, or should.

'Musharraf has insisted his forces have already "done the maximum" possible against extremists.' Perhaps he has, I have no way of knowing the truth. It's clear that not everyone has 'done the maximum'. Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency also testified with McConnell on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and more:

_Iraqi troops are taking the lead in securing parts of their country, but much work remains to improve the number and quality of those forces. "They are better today than they were a year ago, but they are still not where we need them to be," McConnell said.

Maples said two of the three brigades promised by Iraq have moved into Baghdad as part of the new security plan, but he acknowledged that those units have only 43 percent to 82 percent of their intended troops, according to ranges he has seen.

_On Iran, McConnell said that the regime could develop a nuclear weapon early in the next decade, but it will more likely take the country's scientists until 2015. But it's not clear whether the country will have a delivery system at the same time.

_Maples said the United States is seeing North Korea take initial steps to comply with the Feb. 13 agreement on its nuclear program, including inspection of its plutonium-producing Yongbyon nuclear facility. But there are other steps to which the U.S. will have to pay close attention, he said.

McConnell's top adviser on North Korea, Joseph DeTrani, said the U.S. continues to insist that North Korea declare all of its nuclear programs. But he backtracked a bit from a previous U.S. view of analysts, who had "high confidence" that North Korea was buying material for a uranium production program.

Now, he said, the U.S. believes the program exists "at the midconfidence level." (

Is that backtracking I'm hearing on North Korea? Looks like John Bolton was right in his criticism of that deal. What say you?

Check out my friend A.C.'s post at Fore-Left on the Cheney attack. He points out the attack doesn't speak well for the Taliban's capabilities. go read it.

Also check out "Secret Shots In The Face", Islamanazi's report on Pakistan's response to Cheney's visit.

Chad at In The Bullpen says B.S. "The entire Bagram stay was completely unexpected, “after bad weather forced postponement of his trip to the Afghan capital.” Does the Taliban now control the weather? Allah’s will and all. Heh."