A present for President Obama?

November 9, 2008

Paola Totaro at The Age reports that Osama bin Laden is planning another strike against the US, bigger than 9-11:

And according to a former senior Yemeni al-Qaeda operative, the terrorist organisation has entered a "positive phase", reinforcing specific training camps around the world that will lead the next "wave of action" against the West.

The warning, on the front page of an Arabic newspaper published in London, Al-Quds Al-Arabi – and widely reported in the major Italian papers – quotes a person described as being "very close to al-Qaeda" in Yemen.

The paper is edited by Abdel al-Bari Atwan, who is said to be the last journalist to interview Osama bin Laden in 1996. According to the report, bin Laden is himself closely following preparations for an attack against the US and aims to "change the face of world politics and economics". The operative is quoted as saying that "this will be shown by the fact that we now control a major part of the south of Somalia".

The article goes on to describe suspicions a major strike is planned for the UK and that the attackers will be UK-born Muslims, trained in al Qaeda camps — presumably in the lawless Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.

This could be just bluster on bin Laden’s part: al Qaeda has suffered a crushing defeat in Iraq, which calls into question the reason for their existence and whether Allah is really on their side, and the al Qaeda leadership may be trying to recover some of their lost luster by bragging of outdoing their greatest victory.

On the other hand, Pakistan has turned into a fairly safe haven for these medieval psychos, and they have rebuilt their training camp structure there. Before 9-11, it would have been thought crazy that 15 guys with box cutters could kill thousands of Americans. The Bush Administration has since taken these threats very seriously; let’s hope the incoming Obama Administration continues to do so.

(hat tip: Jihad Watch)

LINKS: Ed Morrissey, The Jawa Report.


A letter to the GOP

November 9, 2008

I sent the following letter to Chairman Mike Duncan of the Republican Party. Since I don’t expect it to get more than a robo-response, if that, I thought I’d publish it here, with added links:

Dear Chairman Duncan,

I’ve been a registered Republican all my voting life, and I have never been more disappointed with the behavior and actions of the supposed leaders and opinion-makers in my Party. This insane sniping at Governor Palin, a genuine breath of fresh air who is the best thing to happen to the GOP in years and who represents the future of the Party, has got to stop. Now. If not for her, Senator McCain’s campaign would not have come near the vote total it achieved in the election. He would not have won nearly as many states. Put bluntly, Sarah Palin energized the core of the Republican Party in a way Senator McCain never could. Instead of seeing party hacks tear at her and try to blame her for their own failings, we should be grooming her for national office — and you, Mr. Duncan, and the Republican Party should be defending her.

Why aren’t you?

Right now, the Party is in danger of falling into a Purity War that could tear it apart and cripple its chances for the 2010 mid-term and 2012 general elections. You must not let this happen. While we should be unsparing in our analysis of what went wrong, while we should present a clear program to attract voters, wasting time with internecine bickering isn’t helpful at all. We should be raising a new generation of leaders, not letting cowardly jerks trash the reputation of one of our rising stars and the most popular figure in the party.

I’m only a small donor, Chairman Duncan, so I try to put my money to best use. I can assure you that not a cent will go to any organization that tolerates character assassination and engages in self-destruction.

So I ask you: help put an end to these disgusting attacks on Governor Palin. See that the perpetrators are read out of the Party. Show us, soon, what measures the RNC will take to rebuild the Party into a powerful Center-Right voice for reform. Let us see how you’re preparing our next generation of leaders.

Thank you for your time.

Loose lips

November 9, 2008

In less than a week since being elected President, Barack Obama has twice stuck his foot in his mouth and had to yank it out again.

First, and relatively minor, he gratuitously insulted Nancy Reagan, who had just left the hospital after a hip injury:

In terms of speaking to former presidents, I’ve spoken to all of them that are living, obviously President Clinton–I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.

Classy guy, that President-Elect, though he did call her later to apologize.

Besides, Nancy consulted astrologers. It was Hillary Clinton who tried to summon spirits.

But is this the way he wants to kick-off his "post-partisan" presidency?

Did I say that?

The second incident has more serious implications for America’s dealings with foreign governments. As the Washington Times reports, Obama spoke with the President of Poland, who took away from that call the belief that Obama had committed to continuing US-Polish cooperation over missile defense, which has been controversial in our relations with Russia.

"Did not," said the President-elect’s staff:

Mr. Kaczynski issued a statement in the Polish-language section of his Web site saying the U.S. president-elect "emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership of Poland and the United States and expressed hope in the continuation of political and military cooperation between our countries. He also said that the missile-defense project would continue."

Obama senior foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough released a statement once the news came from Poland.

"President-elect had a good conversation with the Polish president and the Polish prime minister about the important U.S.-Poland alliance," Mr. McDonough said. "President Kaczynski raised missile defense but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it. His position is as it was throughout the campaign — that he supports deploying a missile-defense system when the technology is proved to be workable."

Politico.com reported Saturday night that Obama advisers Susan Rice and Tony Lake e-mailed "Obama foreign policy experts" with details on the transition and a warning they should not "under any circumstances speak to the press, any foreign officials, or embassies on behalf of the transition or President-elect Obama."

"We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this request. It would be highly damaging for foreign governments or media to receive information that they believe falsely to represent the views of the president-elect," they wrote in an e-mail dated Nov. 7.

I wonder what Lake and Rice think when the President-elect himself steps in it.

Both these incidents are illustrative of something about Obama many noticed during the campaign: that, away from a teleprompter, he’s a careless, sloppy speaker who doesn’t think his words will cause him trouble. Now that he can no longer vote "present," however, he needs to learn that people will pay exceptionally close attention to what he says. He could skate by in Chicago and in the Illinois and US senates, but that time is over.

(hat tip: Power Line)