Bin Laden “Virtually Impotent”

Once again, George W. Bush sends out one of his posse of loyal women to do his tough talking, this time in the form of the brittle Francis Frago Townsend.

Via Earthlink:

AP/WASHINGTON – Seemingly taunting Osama bin Laden, President Bush’s homeland security adviser said Sunday the fugitive al-Qaida leader is “virtually impotent” beyond his ability to hide away and spread anti-American propaganda.

The provocative characterization came just days after bin Laden attracted international attention with the release of a video in which he ridicules President Bush about the Iraq war and reminds the world that he not been captured.

Ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, White House aide Frances Fragos Townsend made a clear attempt to diminish the influence – or the perception – of the man who masterminded those attacks.

“This is about the best he can do,” Townsend said of bin Laden. “This is a man on a run, from a cave, who’s virtually impotent other than these tapes.”

HT: TPZoo commenter, trueblue

Krugman: Time To Take a Stand

From Truthout / Written for the New York Times (subscription req.)

Here’s what will definitely happen when Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress next week: he’ll assert that the surge has reduced violence in Iraq – as long as you don’t count Sunnis killed by Sunnis, Shiites killed by Shiites, Iraqis killed by car bombs and people shot in the front of the head.

Here’s what I’m afraid will happen: Democrats will look at Gen. Petraeus’s uniform and medals and fall into their usual cringe. They won’t ask hard questions out of fear that someone might accuse them of attacking the military. After the testimony, they’ll desperately try to get Republicans to agree to a resolution that politely asks President Bush to maybe, possibly, withdraw some troops, if he feels like it.

Click here to read the rest of the op-ed piece.

Guilt by Association

Via the New York Times:

The documents indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on individuals it saw as targets but also details on their “community of interest” — the network of people that the target was in contact with. The bureau stopped the practice early this year in part because of broader questions raised about its aggressive use of the records demands, which are known as national security letters, officials said.

HT: Molly I. at Eschaton

Will Congress Do Their Job?

US Capitol

Will Petraeus Betray the Truth — And the Troops?
by John Nichols
via The Nation

“A failure on the part of all members of Congress to assure that the truth comes out — a truth that is readily available and that has already been bluntly stated by government and private intelligence analysts — would represent a collapse of the Constitutionally-defined separation of powers more serious even than the failures of the House and Senate to check and balance the Bush administration on the eve of this still-undeclared war.”

Congress, do your job.

The lives of our soldiers in Iraq, who are sacrificing their lives and limbs daily on behalf of this nation depend on it. The future stability of the entire Middle East depends on it. You can’t chart a course forward without knowing what the truth is; the entire truth; the big picture, not cherry-picked facts based on an agenda.

What we do next matters. While you sit in Washington DC, apparently doing nothing, accomplishing nothing, challenging nothing, or as you continue to allow this administration to weave their web of deceit and manipulation, more of our soldiers and many more Iraqis will lose their lives.

You represent the voice and the will of the American people, at least that it what it says in the Constitution. The American people want this war to end and our soldiers to come home. What will it take for you to listen and act?

Congress, please, do your job. Push hard.

(photo courtesy of nwmuse)