The Spectacle Blog
"Dr." Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al Qaeda No.2, may have been killed by a US air strike in Pakistan. The forensic tests on the remains will be finished in a few days. But what if he is dead? Bin Laden himself has not been seen -- even on video -- for a year. Rumors of his death are usually tied to kidney disease. And his disease is probably an urban legend. If bin Laden is dead, it is probably for other reasons. If Zawahiri is dead, al Qaeda has lost its most visible presence on the world stage. But has it lost more important assets to other American efforts? Remember the letter Zawahiri sent to Zarqawi in Iraq last summer? In which Zawahiri asked his subordinate for a coupla hundred grand to keep the old school colors flying? Al-Q is now little more than a franchise operation. If Zawahiri is dead, it may have lost more than its operational commander. Most importantly, it may have lost the ability to conceal bin Laden. If Zawahiri is dead, and bin Laden still alive, OBL will have to risk making videos and communicating with his operators and franchises by courier and otherwise. And the more often he communicates, by any means whatever, the more likely we are to get him.
President Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said all the right things on Friday morning, and they appear to be doing the right things too.
According to State Department sources, State Department European expert negotiator Nicholas Burns will be traveling to Europe for meeting early next week to coordinate the united response to Iran's nuclear threats. It appears the United States is now ready to take more of an active role, after leaving negotiations with Iran to European nations for the past two years.
American history buffs will enjoy reading about archeologists' findings regarding the Donner Party's ill-fated winter at Alder Creek. Conflicting stories by survivors led researchers to sift through the primary cooking site. Among 16,000 bone fragments found in that spot, none turned out to be human. Of course, this doesn't conclusively discount Donner cannibalism, but sheds significant doubt on the claims.
Syria fratricide update from trusted source. London and MI6 have hold of General Ali Dubah of the Syrian Air Force, who defected last week to give up the secrets of the al-Assads and to pose a deal for the regime change in Damascus. Ali Dubah offers Rifaat al-Assad, exiled brother of the dead king Hafez al-Assad. London favors this choice because it would team a restored Alawite regime with elements of the Sunni urban elite and also with the Druze of Lebanon and Syria -- the one constituency that London trusts in the region.
Pleasure to see The Connection author Stephen Hayes's Sam-Spade-work digging into the still unavailable documents of Saddam Hussein's terror regime featured in today's WSJ lead editorial.
Spoke to Steve last Friday the 6th, when he published online at Weekly Standard a summary of the search for the truth so far, to reveal that only fifty thousand of an estimated two million captured documents have yet been translated and archived. The project is titled DOCEX, and it goes slowly and without any P.R. from the Bush team or the DOD. What we have so far, from just the period 1999 to 2002, points to three terror training centers in Iraq, at Ramadi, Sammara, Salman Pak, where the regime ran a rent-a-jihad program for a witch's brew of terror gangs.
RedState did its homework on this lefty law prof so you don't have to. What did they find? An appearance with Howard Zinn in support of Cambridge, Mass., passing a nuclear-free resolution and defense of a domestic terrorist group. The American Bar Association has already dismissed (pdf) Flym's Vanguard claims against Sam Alito, so this raving is just gravy after a week of Democrat rambling.
A LexisNexis search quickly debunks Bill Clinton's explanation of the failure of his health care proposal.
The first item comes from the Nov. 20, 1994 Washington Times:
But the DLC's growing hostility over the Clinton White House's move from New Democrat ideas really began last fall, when the president unveiled his health care reform plan.
DLC leaders flatly rejected the government-run plan crafted by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying it was an old liberal proposal that could not pass.
At the time, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, a DLC vice chairman, said the plan was "too big, too costly, too bureaucratic."
Publicly, DLC leaders who wanted a cheaper, more market-oriented plan kept their criticism focused on the policy implications of the health care issue. Privately, some of them criticized Mrs. Clinton for pushing the plan on the party and giving Republicans a chance to use it to define her husband as "another big-government liberal."
On this morning's "Morning Edition" on NPR, Steve Inskeep interviewed Bill Clinton about worldwide health issues. In the course of discussing his efforts arould the world, Inskeep raised the 1993-94 HillaryCare fight:
Clinton: Well, I don't know if I have any advice for him, but I think that what we tried to do back in '93 and '94, still has some relevance. The real problem was that we didn't have any money 'cause we had a big deficit so we couldn't provide universal coverage without some sort of employer mandate.
Inskeep: Also couldn't build enough political support for a specific solution in '93 and '94.