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One of the services the Bedford Bulletin offers the community is printing Rick Howell’s “The Liberal Agenda.” Readers can get a weekly example of liberals’ vacuous thinking, something we should all keep in mind when we go to the polls. Do we really want to elect people who believe this stuff, or who are endorsed by folks who believe this stuff?
About the only thing in Mr. Howell’s column, last week, that had any basis in reality was his assertion that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, is a loser. Yes, Abdulmuddlehead is a loser. The fact that he was the best that an al Qaeda affiliate was able to come up with shows how badly President George W. Bush’s policies, mostly continued by President Barack Obama, have degraded al Qaeda’s capabilities.
This, however, does not mean that we can become complacent. The boys in beards could get their act together, if we give them the chance, or they could just get lucky. If they had gotten lucky on Christmas Day, 290 innocent people would have died. The stakes are truly high.
Mr. Howell proclaimed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which took responsibility for the attempted bombing, as “probably only made up of about 25 people, a Web site, and a cave or two to hide in.” Apparently he doesn’t believe John Brennan, President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser. Mr. Brennan estimated the size of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula at several hundred in Yemen. Islamic extremists bent on waging holy war have been flocking there for some time.
An interesting side of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is that two of its top leaders are men who had previously been Guantanamo Bay detainees. They were released by President Bush. The fact that they, and some others, have returned to terrorism after being released shows why President Bush was never able to shut the place down once he got it started. It also shows why President Obama is having the same problem, although he may have found a solution by taking over a maximum security prison in Illinois that has never been used, and transferring these fun-loving fellows there. The prison is located in an economically depressed area and the locals say they want it.
Another bit of silly liberal thinking was Mr. Howell’s jab at President Obama’s surge in Afghanistan. No, our goal has never been to invade every country that has an al Qaeda affiliate. The reason we invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and why President Obama correctly called it the “necessary war,” is because Afghanistan’s Taliban government was actually hosting al Qaeda, and refused to either expel the organization or turn its leaders over to us after the 9/11 attack. Although President Bush made the mistake of invading Iraq before the job was finished in Afghanistan, we have for the last nine years denied al Qaeda a sanctuary in which it can openly operate.
The Yemen government, on the other hand, is not hosting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The al Qaeda affiliate has found a happy home among tribal groups that have been, on and off, at war with the Yemeni government for years. As Yemen is indeed an impoverished country, providing aid to the Yemeni government to help it fight these boys is the obvious first choice.
What about sending troops to Yemen? This probably would not be a good strategic option. It’s best to limit our troop presence there to the special forces men we already have there, training Yemeni special forces in counter insurgency. If more military muscle is needed, the best source of that would be Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have as much of an interest as we do in putting a lid on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Some of the men who formed it are the remnants of jihadists, bent on overthrowing Saudi Arabia’s government, that the Saudis drove out of the country. Saudi Arabia already has troops on its border with Yemen to keep jihadists and assorted other Yemeni tribal hotheads from crossing over with mayhem on their minds. If the situation were to deteriorate beyond Yemen’s ability to deal with it, then Saudi Arabia would be in the best position to do it.