Friday, July 13, 2007

"Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner", are we?

So says New York Times putz Clark Hoyt.

He starts off apologizing to the lamestream media Party cadres about how the New York Slimes has "slipped" in its coverage:

But these are stories you haven’t been reading in The Times in recent weeks as the newspaper has slipped into a routine of quoting the president and the military uncritically about Al Qaeda’s role in Iraq — and sometimes citing the group itself without attribution.

And in using the language of the administration, the newspaper has also failed at times to distinguish between Al Qaeda, the group that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an Iraqi group that didn’t even exist until after the American invasion.
But then, in a news story a few days later, the New York Times reporters MICHAEL R. GORDON and JIM RUTENBERG note all the foreign (i.e., Al Qaeda) influence in the "homegrown" Iraq insurgency. They try to pass this off by explaining that:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who became the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, came to Iraq in 2002 when Saddam Hussein was still in power, but there is no evidence that Mr. Hussein’s government provided support for Mr. Zarqawi and his followers.
Uh, sorry, but events unapproved by Saddam unhappened in his Iraq. Moreover, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a personal guest of the Saddam regime. He DIDN'T come to the Kurdish rebel zone, or any zone where Shi'ite militias held sway.

The NYT reporters go on to admit that:

Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, questioned Mr. Zarqawi’s strategy of organizing attacks against Shiites, according to captured materials. But Mr. Zarqawi clung to his strategy of mounting sectarian attacks in an effort to foment a civil war and make the American occupation untenable.

The precise size of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is not known. Estimates are that it may have from a few thousand to 5,000 fighters and perhaps twice as many supporters. While the membership of the group is mostly Iraqi, the role that foreigners play is crucial.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri is an Egyptian militant who emerged as the successor of Mr. Zarqawi, who was killed near Baquba in an American airstrike last year. American military officials say that 60 to 80 foreign fighters come to Iraq each month to fight for the group, and that 80 to 90 percent of suicide attacks in Iraq have been conducted by foreign-born operatives of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
The report concludes with this:

The broader issue is whether Iraq is a central front in the war against Al Qaeda, as Mr. Bush maintains, or a distraction that has diverted the United States from focusing on the Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan while providing Qaeda leaders with a cause for rallying support.
Oh, puhleeze. A pullout from Iraq would allow Al Qaeda to claim victory, period. There are many fronts in this war, whether or not the New York Slimes wants to admit it.

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