Forgiving Al-Qaeda in Pursuit of a New Enemy

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri

There are signs of a shift in the Western foreign policy establishment toward seeing groups like Al-Qaeda not as the main targets of US military operations but as potential allies against the governments Washington has identified as more important enemies.


Pundits Never Have to Say They’re Sorry–but They Can Demand Others Apologize for Being Right


National Review editor Rich Lowry slams Putin’s invasion based on “lies and force of arms.” You see, he’s against that kind of thing–except when it was the invasion of Iraq.


Why Did the US Invade Iraq? The Answer in 2014


Reports of Al-Qaeda linked fighters taking over the Iraqi city of Fallujah have prompted a lot of media coverage about the US sacrifice there. In the process, the history of the war is being dramatically rewritten.


Forgetting Fallujah

US airstrike, Fallujah, February 2006 (cc photo: James Gordon)

More than a decade later, US media still see Fallujah primarily as a place where US forces suffered–and died–perhaps “in vain.” Then and now, the hundreds of Iraqis who died in Fallujah hardly register at all.


Snowden Is Helping Terrorists (But Don’t Quote Me on That)


It looks like we might be on to a new phase in the Edward Snowden saga: anonymous government officials going to compliant media outlets to complain that his revelations have made it easier for terrorists to evade capture.


Brian Williams Makes the Case for Putting NBC on Trial

NBC’s Brian Williams called Bradley Manning “the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden.” But giving classified information to the public is something that news outlets–including NBC News–routinely do, and each time they do it they too could be accused of “aiding the enemy.”


Al-Qaeda Pressure Cookers?


Are the pressure cooker bombs used in Boston really a link to Al Qaeda? No. But some reporters are trying to make that connection.


David Brooks Gets Occupy Wall Street and Al-Qaeda in Same Sentence

New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a tedious column today (10/11/11) about how the real radicals are the centrists, not the Wall Street occupiers. (Read Dean Baker to see what Brooks is getting wrong.) But this jumped out at me: A third believe the U.S. is no better than Al-Qaeda, according to a New York magazine survey. How would someone “survey” a leaderless, ever-shifting mass of protesters? I am not sure, and it’s not really what New York did. They asked a series of questions–some of them obviously cheeky–to 100 activists at Liberty Plaza. As you can see: Rank […]


Biden’s Feel-Good 9/11 Spin Goes Unchallenged

Al-Qaeda, bin Laden, never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans. They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken. — Vice President Joe Biden at September 11 commemoration (9/11/11) Actually, that’s precisely what bin Laden imagined: Al-Qaeda’s central strategy was to draw its Western foes into economically ruinous wars in Muslim lands (Extra!, 7/11). But I suppose it would be bad form for journalists to raise this fact as the U.S. commemorates a decade of war […]


The Libya Rebels and Al-Qaeda, Anonymously

FAIR editor Jim Naureckas tweeted recently, “NATO’s installation of an Al Qaeda-friendly government in Libya is one of 2011’s most underreported stories.” He’s got a point. The Washington Post today published a pretty interesting look at how the Libyan government viewed the jihadist threat, thanks to some documents recovered in Tripoli: The documents were uncovered days after the regime fell to rebel fighters led in part by a self-proclaimed former Islamist, Abdelkarim Belhadj. He has declared himself the leader of the “Tripoli Brigade” that spearheaded the defeat of Gadhafi loyalists in the capital. Belhadj is the former commander of the […]


Iran Helping Iraqi Insurgents…Make That Al-Qaeda

“Iran arming Iraq insurgents”was last month’s story. Today’s papers are telling a different story; the new line being pushed by U.S. officials is that Iran is supporting Al-Qaeda. Today’s Washington Post: Iran Allows Money, Recruits to Reach Al-Qaeda, U.S. Says ‘Secret deal’ allegedly supports activities of terrorists in Pakistan In the New York Times: Treasury Accuses Iran of Aiding Al-Qaeda Associated Press: U.S. Accuses Iran of ‘Secret Deal’ With Al-Qaeda The Post calls this “the most serious U.S. allegation to date of Iranian aid to the terrorist group”– though it later notes that “U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of […]


Meet the New Boss: NBC’s Pentagon Beat Sweetener

You may have heard about new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta‘s trip to Iraq–mainly because while in the country he told some U.S. soldiers that they were there because of 9/11. That led to coverage like this in the Washington Post: On Monday, in his first visit to Iraq as Pentagon chief, Panetta appeared to justify the U.S. invasion of the country as part of the war against Al-Qaeda, a controversial argument made by the George W. Bush administration but rebutted by President Obama and many Democrats. Also rebutted by…reality. Panetta’s visit was covered on television too. But on NBC Nightly […]