The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups with little in common. Terrorist groups need to be tackled at root, interdicting flows of weapons and finance, exposing the shallowness of their claims, channelling their followers into democratic politics.
The "war on terror" also implied that the correct response was primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife.
And he concludes:
Waterboarding is torture. So said Attorney General nominee Eric Holder at his Senate confirmation hearing today. That means his Justice Department will be obliged to prosecute those who ordered it and carried it out, right?
More on waterboarding. An article by Scott Shane in the January 17 New York Times explores the possibility that Holder's declaration does indeed oblige his Justice Department to consider prosecuting those who carried out torture. Stay tuned.
More Israeli war crimes. The U.N. accuses it of illegally firing white phosphorus shells.
UNICEF: Children bearing brunt of Gaza war. From CNN.
Amnesty International calls for arms embargo. The organization cites evidence of U.S. arms shipments to Israel just before and after the beginning of the Gaza war. Thanks to UA for bringing this to our attention.
Muntader al-Zaidi. The International Herald Tribune reports that the journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush has not been allowed visits from family nor lawyers since December 21. Al-Zaidi's only real crime, of course, is that he missed. Seriously, however, Bush's "young democracy" is obviously still taking baby steps towards basic civil rights. (Be sure to visit the Free al-Zaidi Web site.)