Monday, February 23, 2004

“Rumsfeld Told Suicide Bombers Pose Greatest Threat”

Let me get this right – is Mr. Rumsfeld just finding this out? Or has USA Today been totally out of touch with reality for nine months?

The chief threat to stability in Iraq is evolving away from pro-Saddam guerillas to suicide bombers and other terrorists, U.S. military officers told Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Monday.

This might have been a new insight in May of last year. Let's hope that it is USA Today that hasn't quite kept up with the facts, because if this is new information for the Secy of Defense, he needs to start keeping up with the news - since his boss doesn't care to do so.

Rumsfeld, on a daylong trip to the occupied Iraqi capital, was briefed on the threat and the status of new Iraqi security forces, which the U.S. hopes will eventually take the lead in combatting it. For now, though, they work largely under the leadership of the better-equipped and trained U.S. forces.

The origin of these terrorists remains murky — in particular the extent of their relationship with al-Qaeda, officials said. Some are thought to be from the homegrown Ansar al-Islam group; others are thought to be former supporters of ousted President Saddam Hussein who have joined Islamic extremist groups, and others might be from al-Qaeda itself.

"We've seen a real step up on the part of these professional terrorists from al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam conducting suicide attacks," Ambassador Paul Bremer, chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, told reporters after meeting with Rumsfeld Monday.

Now compare the two highlighted phrases from above. "Officials" need to start talking with Mr Rumsfeld. Their act is not quite together, and this news release sounds like it came directly out of the Dept of Defense - it tries to show that Mr. Rumsfeld is on top of the situation, but in fact does the opposite.

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