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February 12, 2010


The Update shows Josh Marshall noting a distinction between those who are more bellicose than the current Administration and those who are less bellicose. I agree with Brendan that Marshall's distinction isn't particularly germane to Kleefeld. However, I want to discuss Marshall's distinction on its own.

Marshall concludes that those who are more bellicose than the current Administration are more harmful to our defense effort than those who are less bellicose. Let's illustrate his point by using American feelings toward Germany just prior to WW2.

There were America Firsters, who opposed war going to war against Germany, giving a variety of reasons and excuses. OTOH there were those who felt the US should immediately declare war. Which of these groups more undermined America's battle against Nazi Germany?

Marshall's argument would say that FDR's battle against the Nazis was undermined only by those who preached war, because they were sowing panic, telling people that the Nazis were far more powerful than they were and that our institutions were incapable of defending us against the Nazis, thus making them seem more frightening than they were.

I see the exact opposite. I think those who preached not going to war were the ones who more undermined our effort against the Nazis.

It is always 1938 for some people. And Brendan isn't engaging Marshalls argument on the merits.

Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill.

That is the point. A point you don't even try to dispute.

And >i is tacky. Trying to define defiancy down?

I wanted to write that "tortured parsing" is tacky, at least in this context.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann now claim that Obama's comments helped al Qaeda. They explain:

"Obama's people put the story out [that Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the Nigerian terrorist who attempted to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit this past Christmas is talking to investigators and giving them much valuable information][in order] to counter accusations that their decision to try Mutallab in a civilian court and to permit him access to an attorney jeopardized efforts to interrogate him....

"While releasing this information may help Obama politically and certainly pushes back those of us who criticized him for handling the Mutallab case civilly, it provides al-Qaida with a timely warning that we are on to their plans and that Mutallab has explained to us what they have up their sleeves. In counter-terrorism, knowing your enemy's plans is key to thwarting them. And, if al-Qaida knows that we are prepared, they will, obviously, change their plans."

I'm not sure I agree with Morris and McGann because I'm not sure I believe the claim that we're now getting useful info from Mutallab. However, I do believe that the White House's public statements are for the purpose of political gain, rather than military or security gains.

"...I'm not sure I believe the claim that we're now getting useful info from Mutallab."

Why don't you believe this claim, David?

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