It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky, the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon, the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet, we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world, the empty seat at the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father, parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11th, 2001 in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country.
On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to,...More >>
INTERCEPTED RADIO COMMUNICATION FROM SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD FROM PROPAGANDIST INTELLIGENCE STATION DAMASCUS.
"THEY SAID THEY WANTED AN END TO THE EMERGENCY LAW? SO I ENDED IT. NOW THEY'RE STILL UNHAPPY. WELL, I'M GOING TO MAKE THEM REALLY UNHAPPY. YOU KNOW THE ZIONISTS AND THEIR AMERICAN RUNNING DOGS ARE BEHIND THIS, RIGHT?
"BREAK THEM. KILL ALL THE TRAITORS. AND IF THIS KEEPS UP ANOTHER WEEK, THE EMERGENCY LAW COMES BACK AND THAT'S IT FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS."More >>
Myth #6: Afghanistan has never been conquered by outside forces.
The Truth: of all the myths that permeate western narratives of Afghanistan, this one is perhaps the most enduring. This is partly because it is enthusiastically perpetuated by journalists, authors and other commentators, and partly because it is a potent part of the Taliban’s own internal and external propaganda. As Christian Caryl pointed out in Foreign Policy last year,
It's the mother of all clichés. Almost no one can resist it. It's wielded by everyone from thoughtful ex-generals to vitriolic bloggers. It crops up everywhere from Russia's
Not that we're hankering for the heyday of the mighty Red Army. But the decline of the Russian armed forces is startling. Sure, they can mop the floor with a tiny country like Georgia. But the days when NATO needed to worry about T-80 main battle tanks rolling into Berlin, flanked by crack Soviet paratroopers, are truly in the past, thanks to systematic corruption and rock-bottom professional standards.
Despite the shortage of volunteers, Mr. Serdyukov, the defense minister, announced at the end of 2009 that Russia's ground forces had been reorganized into 85 brigades of "permanent combat readiness," doing away with bulkier divisions and making the army more mobile. Only later did officials acknowledge that the brigades were made up mostly of one-year conscripts, men with few combat skills.
The enlistment drive's failure puts constraints on Russia's reach. When ethnic rioting in June threatened to tear Kyrgyzstan apart, its president appealed for Russian peacekeepers, the kind of force Moscow once deployed routinely as a political tool. This time the Kremlin demurred—in part, defense analysts say, because the army couldn't spare a full brigade of professional
NATO's strategy on Libya is wandering a bit. To be fair, you might expect this in any group of 28 countries. But NATO isn't just any group: it is a military alliance. As such, there needs to be very clear direction from the top about how to complete the mission. Right now, it's not even totally clear what the mission is.
In the absence of such direction, we're happy to provide our own strategic advice to NATO's top brass.
Your mission is to protect Libyan civilians. The quickest, cheapest, easiest way to do that and reduce the chance of this conflict dragging out into a prolonged civil war is to kill, er, arrest Moammar Gaddafi.
It doesn't necessarily have to be NATO troops that do it. NATO is not the United Nations. Pretty much any country in the world now has authorization to "protect Libyan civilians". Send in an African Union force -- all of them, if need be. Or get the Chinese to send in a brigade or two. They have as much reason as any country to ensure oil supplies don't get stopped up by Gaddafi's intransigence.
Libyan Mad Dog Mu'aumer Qaddaffi (at least, that's the way he spells it) has written a letter to US President Barack Obama reproduced below. It's not quite a letter of surrender. But in atypical fashion, the dictator seems to acknowledge the USA's vast military superiority, its pragmatism and capacity for mercy -- no part of which has ever made it into a previous speech by regimes throughout the Middle East, who often rail against a decaying and corrupt United States that kills at will.
If Obama chooses to respond, perhaps it could go something like this:
Dear Mad Dog,
It is time for change in Libya. You had your chance. Actually, you had infinite chances over your decades of rule. Since you're not stepping down, you are going to die. Whether by a bomb dropped from a French jet or the blade of one of your personal guard, your end is coming soon.
Barack Obama President of the United Staes of America
PS: I'm not your son. But I guess the letter you wrote makes you my bitch. Suck on that.
It comes after months of demonstrations against Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and a weekend of violence between government forces and the local al Qaeda group.
Fighting over the past two days between Yemeni security forces and members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula left people on both sides dead, Yemeni security forces said Sunday.
Saleh has been fighting to hold onto power, arguing that he is best equipped to lead the fight against Islamists.
Three "al Qaeda terrorists were killed" and six others were arrested in Lawdar district, Yemen's official news agency Saba reported Saturday.
Also Sunday, seven Yemeni soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded when members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacked them in Marib, two security officials said. The attack took place at a military checkpoint a mile north
Not that we're complaining, mind you. Until the Mad Dog of the Middle East is a bullet-ridden corpse, we can't really take any pressure off.
As an aside, here's hoping that in the course of the fighting, all of the Al Queda-inspired rebels get decimated as cannon fodder while our, um, liberal democratic comrades get to mop up the last dregs of Gaddafi's goons. More >>
This will not stop until Gaddafi is dead. A memorable bit of dialogue from The Untouchables film comes to mind in reference to how the authorities might deal with another outlandish gangster:
Malone: You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I'm saying is, what are you prepared to do? Ness: Anything within the law. Malone: And *then* what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they're not gonna give up the fight, until one of you is dead. Ness: I want to get Capone! I don't know how