January 4, 2010

Top Republican Myths About the Crotch Bomber Affair

It’s funny – I actually haven’t heard a lot of these, but that’s likely because they’re circulating around the echo chamber of the right-wing blogosphere and/or Fox News. I don’t think any rational person holds any of these beliefs seriously, although I think there are definitely enough irrational people out there that they need to be clearly debunked:

1. President Obama did not speak publicly swiftly enough. In fact, Bush was silent for 9 days after the shoe bomber attack in 2001.

2. Bush would have tried Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant. Well, he tried Richard Reid the shoe bomber in civilian courts.

3. Yemen is the issue. In fact, Yemen’s government is actively bombing al-Qaeda cells, and complains that the US never shared its info on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with Sanaa.

4. A US war on al-Qaeda in Yemen is next. This way of thinking is foolish. Yemen is not a cake walk, folks.

Col. Pat Lang, former Defense Intelligence Agrency head for the Middle East, is an old Yemen hand and delivers a blunt warning against the US getting militarily involved there.

I have been to Yemen twice, before and after unification, and have traveled outside Sanaa. I’ve spoken publicly in Arabic in front of big audiences and interacted with Zaidis, Salafis, Sufis. It is an extremely complicated society with multiple ecological zones. It is an arid, tribal (segmentary-lineage) system. Most of the scholars I know who work on Yemen have been kidnapped by tribes or thrown in jail by the government at least once. People are either Arab nationalists or Muslim ones. They have very little use for outsiders. If the US tried to establish a big presence there, they would make the Iraqi resistance look half-hearted and weak-kneed.

Juan Cole, writing for ReaderSupportedNews, notes that he’s heard all of these on television from a couple of lawmakers, including people like Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Sen. Joe Lieberman. Now frankly, I don’t expect much more from someone like Hoekstra, but Lieberman just continues to show his true colors day after day, doesn’t he? At this rate, I’m almost glad Kerry didn’t win so we didn’t have to have Lieberman as a Vice President.

[ Top Republican Myths About the Crotch Bomber Affair ]
Source: Reader Supported News

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