Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 9, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

PRIORITIES....Last month I linked briefly to a report by Daniel Kimmage of RFE/RL analyzing al-Qaeda's media and internet strategy. Marc Lynch has this to say about Kimmage: "There are very few people inside or outside the government who have worked harder or thought more deeply about how jihadists use online media, drawing on the original Arabic sources rather than from second and third-hand conjecture. It is clear that everyone working on the issue has learned a tremendous amount from those reports, even when we don't agree on how to interpret his findings."

You can guess the end to this story, can't you? He's been fired. Budget cutbacks. Apparently analyzing al-Qaeda didn't make the cut for FY08, priority-wise.

Kevin Drum 2:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

Apparently the US Government has so many expert Arabic-speaking analysts that they can toss the excess overboard.

If the Bushies are determined to fire these guys, I hope Obama hires them on as advisors, so they can help him be a more effective president.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 9, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Pff. Who needs actual research on al Qaeda? The terrorists are whoever and whatever we say they are.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 9, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you people understand? Any effort to understand your enemy is a sign of weakness.

Posted by: thersites on May 9, 2008 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Just more evidence that the entire Bush administration has no interest in genuinely confronting the issue of terrorism but simply use it as a tool for political gain. They are completely unserious fearmongering frauds. But we already knew this.

Posted by: ckelly on May 9, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

“One possible cause clearly is the use of the Internet to promote the terrorists’ dark age and hateful vision. It gives their multimedia campaigns of alienation and violence a global reach, including right into American homes and offices …. We all want to make sure that our imaginations do not fail us again as we counter the possibility of this new threat of Islamist extremist and terrorist groups within our own country.” -Joe Lieberman

Well, their imagination certainly isnt failing...

Posted by: Jet on May 9, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, did he get laid off because the RFE/RL FY08 budget as a whole was reduced? Or was his specific project canned as a line item in their FY08 budget by congress back last summer?


Posted by: optical weenie on May 9, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone who doesn't love Bush is a terrorist. EOS.

Posted by: John McCain: More of the Same on May 9, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone knows that facts have a liberal bias. Besides, they get in the way of creating new realities. So this guy, who was digging up facts and making them available to a wider audience, clearly had to go.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on May 9, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

That must have been very taxing work we have for the 3 guys we developed who speak Arabic, in between working on the Iraq war, surveillance intercepts and Gitmo.

Posted by: Swan on May 9, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

This is so fucking stupid I can't believe it. No, I guess I can, so I'm more shocked than surprised, but this ranks right up there with sending 23-year-old interns from the Heritage Institute to rebuild Iraq's stock market, or disbanding Iraq's army, or disbanding the CIA's bin Laden unit, or hiring a horse show guy to run FEMA, or hiring somebody as Interior Secretary who believes the Rapture is just around the corner, so there's no need to preserve anything (actually that was during the current Bush's cocaine period, so he can't take the blame for that one). So I guess it's business as usual, except they've stopped pretending to be trying.

Posted by: anandine on May 9, 2008 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't there some foundation that could scrape up the money to keep him going? Could he become a blogger/security consultant?

Seriously, his work needs to be kept going, even if the government, stupidly, won't pay for it.

Posted by: Wendell on May 9, 2008 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Bush doesn't give two shits about al-Qaeda. He certainly didn't before September 11th, 2001, despite many, many warnings. To Bush and Cheney, al-Qaeda is just a convenient bogeyman to keep the American knuckle-draggers scared so they can loot the public purse to give huge tax breaks to their wealthy friends and lucrative, no-bid government contracts to the CEOs who they love so much more than the common men and women who earn their living by the sweat of their brows.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 9, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Bush...

Some bonus SCATblogging — let’s name a sewer plant after Bush!

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on May 10, 2008 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Nest: 9 circus clowns emerge from a small car and replace the Supreme Court.
Ooops, I just realized I got that one wrong. It was only 5.
Sorry...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 10, 2008 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Nest: 9 circus clowns emerge from a small car and replace the Supreme Court.
Ooops, I just realized I got that one wrong. It was only 5.
Sorry...

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 10, 2008 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

They need his office for the new Undersecretary of State for Anti-Islamofascism, Henry Hager.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on May 10, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bush and his ilk are just lazy. It's too much work reading and digesting facts and trying to figure out what they mean.

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