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The only "liquid explosive" I know about is Bushit

gaslight Mere days after the increasingly desperate Bush surrogate Dick "Dick" Cheney called half the Democrats in Connecticut "Al Qaeda types"--oh-so-conveniently just before the extremely non-political "liquid explosives" terror alert story broke--it turns out that Al Qaeda has nothing to do with the liquid explosives plot at all.

First, the midterm-driven administration claims:

When American and Pakistani officials said this week that one conspirator in the foiled plan to bomb trans-Atlantic airliners was a “liaison” to Al Qaeda, they suggested that his arrest proved the group was linked to the scheme. Rashid Rauf, a Briton, had trained in the group’s camps in the 1990’s and was “a key Al Qaeda operative,” one [helpful] Pakistani official said.

Goodness, I'm surprised Al Qaeda's number three man wasn't part of it all!

Anyhow, that story is coming apart already. What a surprise.

Now, what they're not telling you:

1. The Al Qaeda of 9/11 doesn't exist:

“If you think of Al Qaeda as the group that did 9/11, I don’t think it’s a very useful question,” said Marc S. Sageman, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and author of a 2004 book closely studied in intelligence agencies, “Understanding Terror Networks.”

“There is no such thing as Al Qaeda as it existed before we went to Afghanistan and destroyed it,” Mr. Sageman said.

2. Al Qaeda has mutated from the corporate-like heirarchy of the Bin Laden days--the kind of top-down, authoritarian organization Republicans know and love--into a network. A network Republicans don't, and can't, know how to fight:

Some government officials acknowledge privately that Washington has been slow to consider the possibility that the international jihad movement is without any central organization.

“We’re still wrapped up in thinking that this is a hierarchical organization,” said one intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The classic intelligence problem of "mirroring"--thinking your enemy is just like you.

“We have a major problem out there, because the fact is that there is no command and control, and there are so many copycats out there.”

“We won the war against the old Al Qaeda. But we’re not winning against the global social movement that Al Qaeda was part of, because more and more kids are joining the movement,” he said.

And, oh yeah, 3. the administration doens't have a blank check to fight all terrorism:

There are also legal implications, stemming in part from the Congressional authorization of military force approved days after the Sept. 11 attacks, which targeted those who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” those attacks rather than terrorists generally.

But, politically, the Republicans need to keep the Al Qaeda image alive and potent:

References to Al Qaeda by American officials have unmistakable political implications, as demonstrated by the Bush administration’s bitterly disputed attempts to link Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda to justify the invasion of Iraq

So, let's review!

Reality:

1. The Al Qaeda of 9/11 no longer exists--and so has nothing to do with the latest extremely non-political terror alert.

2. A new, networked Al Qaeda does exist, but we don't know how to fight them.

3. The administration only has legal authority to fight the old Al Qaeda, not the new one.

4. The old Al Qaeda remains a potent symbol for Republicans politically.

So, what do you think the Republicans will do?

Start rethinking their strategy on Al Qaeda, and go to Congress for a new grant of authority?

Or keep coming up with "Al Qaeda" terror alerts from now 'til the election?

NOTE From WikiPedia, the definition of gaslighting:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse characterised by persistent denials of fact which, over time, have the effect of causing the victim to become anxious, confused and progressively less able to trust his or her memory and perception. A variation of gaslighting, used as a form of harassment, is to subtly alter aspects of a victim's environment so as to cause discomfort. This technique is supposed to have been used by the Manson Family on their 'creepy crawler' burglaries, in which nothing was stolen but furniture in the house was rearranged.

The term was coined by the 1940 film Gaslight and it's 1944 remake in which this technique is perpetrated several times on the main character. The classic example in the film is Gregory turning on the gas lamps in the loft which causes the rest of the lamps in the house to dim slightly; when Paula comments on the lights dimming she's told she's imagining things.

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