Distorting the Threat - Al-Qaida’s resurgence no big deal to Biden, major media
by Barbara Donnelly Lane
Columnist
October 14, 2012 01:38 AM | 2098 views | 8 8 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During Thursday’s vice-presidential debate Joe Biden told the world that the Obama administration has “decimated al-Qaida Central.” Of course, the president has often used drones to throw fire down from above, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

But should we ignore the distortions that have come from the administration about Libya, the “green-on-blue” attacks that are the result of terrorist penetration of Afghan forces and the progress of the nuclear program in Iran that — during the debate — prompted the vice-president to laugh?

The truth of the matter is that there is a lot of evidence that the Obama Doctrine is failing. “Al Qaeda Central” may have been “decimated,” but it has been rebuilt. The Taliban just shot a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan for the sin of wanting an education. An ambassador is dead, and congressional hearings have uncovered a great deal of incompetence in the handling of our national security abroad.

All of this brings me to Lara Logan, my new hero. As the chief foreign affairs correspondent for “60 Minutes,” she is everything I admire in a human being. She is smart, brazen, competent, principled and brave.

Having covered hot spots around the world, Logan has garnered a slew of awards for her professional reporting. After being violently, sexually assaulted in Tharir Square on the night that Hosni Mubarak fell from power — in a part of the world in which there really is a frightening “war on women” — she has stood up stronger and refused to remain a victim.

But while giving the keynote speech to the Better Government Association luncheon in Chicago a few days ago, Logan dared say what she really thinks about the Obama administration’s mendacious handling of terrorism.

Well, unleash the dogs of war, especially one syndicated talk show host, Leslie Marshall. Commenting on a Fox News program, Marshall said Logan was “too emotional,” after being gang-raped in Egypt more than a year ago, to speak about foreign affairs. In “US News,” Marshall added that Logan is gratuitously “spreading fear with her words about the Taliban, al Qaida, our role in Afghanistan, etc.”

Now, I am not much of a “feminist,” per the modern political connotations of that term, but as a modern woman, I don’t hesitate to say I find such salvos against Ms. Logan disgusting and disturbing. Furthermore, I don’t understand them.

Logan was speaking in a setting where her opinion had been solicited. She was communicating information she had uncovered for a story, which is her job. And who could argue the merit of her very informed, very rational thoughts?

Not only have we learned from the congressional hearings on the murders in Libya that our state department left Americans at the mercy of terrorists who killed them on Sept. 11, we have confirmation that the Obama administration’s reporting of events overseas has been blatantly false. The video narrative was a politically motivated red herring to distract attention from a Middle East burning.

On this matter — as well as the question of the “decimation” of terrorists — Logan noted “the American people were being misled…. I don’t think that politics should dictate your national security policy.”

If only more journalists would tell the truth.

The day after the congressional hearings on Libya, The New York Times had as its top-of-the-fold story an article on Lance Armstrong and doping.

USA Today also didn’t highlight Libya the very morning after it was confirmed that the State Department turned down requests for added security at the Benghazi Embassy, but the editors inserted above the fold a column about how more Americans are choosing to live alone.

Does that sort of journalism show integrity, Ms. Marshall?

While we can choose to trust Joe Biden’s news that al-Qaida is “decimated,” Logan has told us why information from the administration is suspect. She has reminded us that there was “a big song and dance about whether (Libya) was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream for God’s sake, are you kidding me?”

You’re preaching to the choir, sister.

Referring to the FBI agents dispatched to the region, she addressed the powers-that-be with a plea, “that the United States will not stand by and do nothing” when attacked.

If the debate Thursday evening gave any indication of what those powers-that-be are thinking, I’m afraid Logan’s plea will go unanswered. Biden finds national security a guffawing matter, and President Obama — who feels the tides of war are receding — has shown after his debate that he’s content to focus more on Big Bird.

Perhaps Leslie Marshall would counsel we ignore those facts on the ground.

Barbara Donnelly Lane lives in east Cobb and blogs on the MDJonline.com web site.
Comments
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Kevin Foley
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October 15, 2012
Ms. Lane needs to do more research. AQ IS decimated. Ask AQ experts like the Joint Chiefs. Are there AQ thugs armed to the teeth throughout the Middle East? Of course. Is there any command on control over them? No, because their leaders have been or are continuing to be wiped out, regardless of what Logan says.

As far as national security is concerned, Logan is on the outside looking in. She has no clue what's going on inside the national security apparatus prosecuting the war on AQ.

The GOP goofballs holding the hearings on Libya are the same ones who cut the State Department budget a half billion dollars. Then there's Mitt Romney who said in his foreign policy speech he'd do everything Obama is already doing.

I keep hearing the reactionaires like Ms. Lane rattling sabers. Do you actually propose a war with boots on the ground in Iran and elsewhere? If so how do we pay for it? Or do we just put it on the credit card like Iraq and Afghanistan?
BD Lane
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October 16, 2012
Thanks for reading my column, Mr. Foley. Your response is truly worthy of the New York Times. ;)

But let's take a quick look at what you wrote.

You describe Ms. Logan as "on the outside looking in" though she has been embedded in that part of the world longer than any other American journalist currently working. This puts her in a far superior position than either of us, I would think, to offer comments on the strength of al Qaeda.

However, if you think she has "no clue" because she doesn't actually work for the American government, then you must think journalists truly have no role for the American people. We should simply get white papers from the powers-that-be and trust what they have to say. We should also never analyze an administration's policies because we're no on the "inside."

Does that really make sense to you? If so, I don't know what else to say.
Kevin Foley
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October 16, 2012
@ Ms. Lane - And your column is the same garbage all the far right loud mouths at Fox are spouting.

Logan might be embedded, but this war isn't being fought on the streets of Pakistan or Yemen. Predator drones controlled from Florida are doing all the dirty work with the intel coming from the NSA and other super secret agencies Logan's never heard of. And, BTW, a foreign national she has even fewer "inside" sources and access than American journalists.

Reactionaires like yourself keep pushing the notion that Obama is somehow on the side of the terrorists and weak on national security, a completely baseless argument. Just ask OBL if you can find him at the bottom of the Arabian Sea.

I ask again: Do you propose a war with Iran and, if so, how is it paid for?
B D Lane
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October 16, 2012
I am neither a parrot or a reactionary, Mr. Foley, but it is quite clear from your comments about "garbage" recorded here that you--like Joe Biden--are not really interested in engaging in civil debate.

So I say take care. Continue to have faith in all those "super secret agencies" to which you point. Pick up a New York Times, which you might find more amenable than my humble column, and go enjoy what promises to be an exceptionally beautiful day. I wish you nothing but the best. Really.
Concerned Citizen
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October 14, 2012
Your thoughts are right on target. It was difficult for me to watch our Vice President as he constantly interrupted Paul Ryan. How rude could he have been! I hope that voters will listen as intelligently as you do to what is being fed to them by the current administration and by so much of the media. As we are told about Mitt Romney's war on women, I remind myself that American women are the most blessed of all women in the world. You are correct to mention what a real war on women is in other parts of the world. Keep up the good work.
Christine Thiessen
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October 14, 2012
Excellent article.
Mary Grabar
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October 14, 2012
Excellent column.
misterbill
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October 14, 2012
BDL

Another fine article.

Leslie Marshall, I believe , is from Boston. Need anyone say more when it comes to describing political leanings?
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