"It would seem like a good moment for Washington - which, since September 12, 2001, has been remarkably clueless about real developments on this planet and repeatedly miscalculated the nature of global power - to step back and recalibrate.
As it happens, there's no evidence it's doing so. In fact, that may be beyond Washington’s present capabilities, no matter how many billions of dollars it pours into 'intelligence.' And by 'Washington,' I mean not just the Obama administration, or the Pentagon, or our military commanders, or the vast intelligence bureaucracy, but all those pundits and think-tankers who swarm the capital, and the media that reports on them all. It’s as if the cast of characters that makes up 'Washington' now lives in some kind of echo chamber in which it can only hear itself talking."
(Enter Dina Temple-Raston stage far-right)
Dina was not about to let her bread and butter (banging the al-Qaida fear drum) get drowned out by the inspiring and historic events in North Africa and the Middle East. On Thursday's ATC she dragged out a trio of "those pundits and think-tankers who swarm the capital" to rattle on about the terrifying opportunities that the uprisings provide to al-Qaida. The statements of these "experts" provided some rich irony:
Bush stooge Juan Zarate said,
"That is to say, al-Qaida has been very good at focusing the attention of their constituents and of the world on this idea of the far enemy. That is that all of the world's problems, all of the angst and grievances of the Middle East can be blamed on the United States, or at least can be affected by attacking the United States."Then Temple-Raston trots out NPR regular & CIA-award winner, Bruce Hoffman to state that al-Qaida will
Seems to me there was some other terrorist organization that focused its constituents' attention on a far enemy and blamed every problem on a distant foe.
"exploit whatever issue is served in front of it, and do so equally adroitly. So for now it will focus on the near enemy."Lastly Temple-Raston highlights the expertise of Rick "Ozzie" Nelson whose "last military assignment was with the Joint Special Operations Command" (can you say JSOC?) Regarding Yemen and Libya, special operative Nelson explains that al-Qaida's leadership is
Oh my God, enemies of freedom and civil rights focusing on the "near enemy"!
"probably best positioned to exploit the weakness in those countries."Seriously, one of the things that I love about these uprisings in the Middle East is how starkly they expose the history of US government actions in the region as being based on complete contempt for the human rights and dignity of the actual people in the region. The fact that al-Qaida apes Washington in its contempt for the people it claims to champion and - like the US government - is willing to use extreme methods of violence to achieve its aims is almost laughable compared to the decades of such behavior by Washington.
Imagine the cynicism of a group that exploits weakness and upheaval in troubled countries to indiscriminately murder civilians.
But it's not laughable if you are one of the media "professionals" who depend on the Washington echo chamber that Englehardt critiques. In that case you have to keep hammering on the same discredited themes that earn you access to the "expert" think-tankers and counterterrorism wankers that populate your predictable reports. These reports are predictable that you'd think a journalist would be embarrassed. Not Temple-Raston, she was back on Saturday morning squawking about the terrible danger of al-Qaida rising Phoenix-like from the turmoil in Libya. Want to guess who her experts were? Bruce Hoffman, Juan Zarate, and Rick "Ozzie" Nelson. Now where have you heard those names before?