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Fighting There Ain't Keeping Them Away From Here

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007 12:51 AM

ABC News is reporting that insurgents, reportedly linked to al Qaeda in Iraq, considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States to orchestrate a new attack on American soil.

Documents captured during a raid of a safe house believed to hold Iraqi members of al Qaeda were collected six months ago.

But don't ask for details, as none are forthcoming. It's a classified incident that has been dealt with at the highest levels of government. Top men. (But, adds the copy on ABC's website, be sure to watch the full report on World News Tonight!.)

Sources say the suspects involved in this effort were closely associated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who happens to be dead, and follows only months after Ayman al-Zawahiri (Osama bin Laden's BFF & al Qaeda's #2) requested Zarqawi attempt an attack inside the United States.

While former chief counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke says this, "... appears to be the first hard evidence al Qaeda in Iraq was trying to attack us here at home," he also points out that, "Anyone willing to go to Iraq to fight American troops is probably willing to try to come to the United States."

Which kind of blows holes in the, 'we're fighting them over there' theory. That only works if al Qaeda is being opposed by sufficient might to completely overwhelm their resources, and this is not the case. We certainly haven't been drawing down, yet this plot was supposedly being drawn up and readied for execution.

Funny how this 'news' item should pop up just prior to the President's State of the Union speech.

The story is heavily laced with conditional phrases. Possible. Considered. Believed. May have involved. Fear. Could. No indication. No evidence. These are the words chosen by people looking to cover their own asses.

Is it too much to ask for some quality journalism?

Which is seriously lacking, it seems, when Insight Magazine runs a story that says Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's associates had discovered that Sen. Barack Obama had attended a madrassa (where he was presumably indoctrinated in extremist Muslim teachings). FOX News cited said article multiple times, as did CNN's resident right-wing hack, Glenn Beck.

Turns out none of the information is, you know, accurate. Nobody bothered to, um, check their facts. The school exists, but it is a public school with no special emphasis on a particular religion. And a spokesman for Senator Clinton says no one from the Clinton campaign made any claims of the sort.

Suddenly, FOX News is saying that their anchors and hosts were simply 'expressing their opinions' and were 'just mentioning' the allegations.

Frankly, as long as folks continue to base attacks on Sen. Barack Obama or Rep. Keith Ellison on issues such as their faith, or that they attended a Muslim school when they were six years old, they simply weaken their own position and portray their own faith as a crispy shell with a chewy, hate-filled center.

Allen Jasson, a 55-year old IT expert who lives in Britain, was prevented from boarding a London-bound Qantas flight because he was wearing what the airline claimed was an offensive t-shirt.

The shirt had an image of President George W. Bush and the slogan, "World's Number 1 Terrorist."

Jasson says he had worn the shirt on a previous Qantas domestic flight without incident, and that Qantas was infringing on his freedom of speech.

Qantas says their policy is that comments, made verbally or on a t-shirt, which had the potential to offend other travelers or threaten the security of aircraft, "... will not be tolerated."

So I supposed a t-shirt saying, "Allah Loves You" or "Allahuakbar!" (God is Great) would be against this policy? How about a t-shirt with Ann Coulter's picture and her quote, "Kill their leaders and convert them all to Christianity!"?

And if I were to say a passenger speaking a foreign language offended me, would they kick them off the plane? I mean, I don't really know what they said, but it sounded suspicious.

What if it was someone like a conservative radio host, or an evangelical Christian? If we both find the other's views to be offensive, who gets booted?

It is unclear whether or not Jasson had already gone through airport security. If the shirt passed through the screening process, why does it suddenly become a greater danger at the gate?

And any airline that has an international ad campaign predicated on the words, "I hate Qantas," really doesn't need bad publicity.

Comments on the State of the Union speech will follow on Wednesday or Thursday, whenever I can stomach reading the transcript without losing my lunch.

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