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Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda 'Within Reach' 249

Posted by timothy
from the saving-up-for-october-surprise dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Newly installed Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan, says the United States was "within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda" and that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Panetta, who rarely spoke on the record as CIA director, offered few details to bolster his assessment but intelligence officials say that computer files retrieved from Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, showed that the organization was in dire need of money and struggling under persistent American drone strikes on its leadership."
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Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda 'Within Reach'

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  • also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:28AM (#36710532)
    And we're also *this close* to winning the war on drugs...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gweihir (88907)

      An have been for decades! Just as we have always been at war with Eurasia!

      • by camperslo (704715)

        He's pretty smart, give him credit. He's certainly already been more successful than those that preceded him. He also did an excellent job when he was a representative for California. Who knows what secrets he has up his sleeves? Wish him luck.

        And a surprising observation, re-arrange "a Patent" and you may find "Panetta"! If only all patents could be turned into Panettas!

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        "the Viet Cong has been defeated" and that "He can't get food and he can't recruit. He has been forced to change his strategy from trying to control the people on the coast to trying to survive in the mountains."....Gen Westmoreland before the Tet Offensive.

        The problem is there really isn't any way to "win" against religious wackos short of wiping out the religion. We won WWII by basically wiping out the religions of our enemy, Nazism and by removing Shintoism as the dominant religion in Japan which was de

        • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @12:48PM (#36712734)

          Hardly. You seem to be making the same mistakes as a whole bunch of important people - the problem isn't Islam, or even the teachings of Mullahs, but of the persecution of Islam perceived by Muslims. It's not hard to figure out why so many perceive such issues, what with the support of Israel, wars on Muslim soil, the foreign military bases across Muslim holy land, and so on. Just read the Al Qaeda manifesto, and you'll see what they're on about. Pretending they don't have legitimate grievances and just labelling them "whackos" is never going to solve the actual problems. Hatred is taught in some mosques, as there is legitimate reason for many Muslims to really, really, really not appreciate all that the western world has done "for" them. Unfortunately for the US, the western world's doctrine of simply not owning up to selfish behaviour encourages dislike to turn to hatred as each generation passes.

          There will be no peace until people are stopped being fucked with. It doesn't matter what religion said people hold (be it Islam in the middle east, or Catholicism in Northern Ireland), as long as they perceive themselves as being brutally fucked, they will act that way. Peace in Northern Ireland wasn't attained by wiping out Catholicism, but by simply talking to those with grievances, realising that everyone's shit stinks to various degrees, highlighting actual grievances, and also highlighting bullshit grievances that are simply not true. Refusing to even admit the possibility of being wrong is clearly not going to help that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228)

            So your answer is...what? "Drive the Jews into the sea" (quote from the president of Iran) and bow before Sharia? News Flash: Appeasement NEVER works, it has NEVER worked and will NEVER work since it mearly emboldens the one being appeased while making the appeaser look like a weakened enemy with no will to fight.

            Want proof? Look to Europe. They have been following a path of appeasement for over a decade now. has the violence gone down? Are the Muslims there living happily in harmony with others? NO, instea

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by caitsith01 (606117)

            Hardly. You seem to be making the same mistakes as a whole bunch of important people - the problem isn't Islam, or even the teachings of Mullahs, but of the persecution of Islam perceived by Muslims. It's not hard to figure out why so many perceive such issues, what with the support of Israel, wars on Muslim soil, the foreign military bases across Muslim holy land, and so on. Just read the Al Qaeda manifesto, and you'll see what they're on about. Pretending they don't have legitimate grievances and just labelling them "whackos" is never going to solve the actual problems. Hatred is taught in some mosques, as there is legitimate reason for many Muslims to really, really, really not appreciate all that the western world has done "for" them. Unfortunately for the US, the western world's doctrine of simply not owning up to selfish behaviour encourages dislike to turn to hatred as each generation passes.

            There will be no peace until people are stopped being fucked with. It doesn't matter what religion said people hold (be it Islam in the middle east, or Catholicism in Northern Ireland), as long as they perceive themselves as being brutally fucked, they will act that way. Peace in Northern Ireland wasn't attained by wiping out Catholicism, but by simply talking to those with grievances, realising that everyone's shit stinks to various degrees, highlighting actual grievances, and also highlighting bullshit grievances that are simply not true. Refusing to even admit the possibility of being wrong is clearly not going to help that.

            While I agree with you that western intervention in the domestic affairs of middle eastern nations is a factor in terrorism, your rant does not explain why people in many muslim countries behave in such an utterly appalling manner to one another.

            Pray tell, how has western intervention led to:

            - stonings

            - honour killings and executions for 'adultery'

            - canings for minor offences

            - severe punishment for 'blasphemy'

            - the widespread suppression of free speech on the basis of religious dogma

            - most of what the Talib

      • by Plugh (27537)
        Wars on poverty, social diseases, immigration, and hunger, however....
    • So that would make the title of TFS: "Panetta Says Defeat by Al Qaeda 'Within Reach'". The way the US has been careening down the slippery slope, he'd be right.
    • Re:also (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkavader (605434) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @09:27AM (#36711208)

      I think these are fundamentally different things. Al Qaeda is a fairly small, traditionally top-down led group. (Though there are a bunch of "Al Qaeda" groups which popped up on their own around the world which don't fit this pattern -- they're also not really Al Qaeda.) The war on drugs, as ill-conceived as it was in the first place and ill-executed it continues to be, is a war on a huge, flat structure, if you can call market forces on everybody a structure of any sort. We could win the war on drugs, but we'd have to stop thinking it was a war and start seeing it as the economic and social problem it is. We won't do that, of course.

      Panetta may be either lying of deluding himself, but we should compare these things.

      On the other hand, if tomorrow he says that we're close to beating the Taliban, who are broad and flat, A. it'll be OBVIOUS he's lying or deluding himself and B. the war on drugs would be a really good comparison.

    • Except Panetta used to represent Santa Cruz, California when he was in the house. I think he knows better as far as the war on drugs go...

    • by ydrol (626558)

      And Jesus is coming soon.

    • by S.O.B. (136083)

      That's an unfair comparison. They are not saying they are close to defeating terrorism but that they are close to defeating a terrorist group.

      Just like you can defeat a drug cartel without stopping drug trafficking, you can defeat a terrorist group without stopping terrorism.

    • by camperslo (704715)

      And we're also *this close* to winning the war on drugs...

      Unless you want to try and make a case for terrorist groups having strength from drug sales, that's an irrelevant conclusion.

      https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Logical_fallacy [wikimedia.org]

  • The way I see it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mhh91 (1784516) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:35AM (#36710556)
    There's no way to defeat Al Qaeda.

    Al Qaeda isn't just a bunch of people, it's an ideology.

    As V says, "Ideas are bulletproof".

    If the US really wants to defeat Al Qaeda, I think they should help countries that aid them get on their feet, that way they'll stop hating the US and start thinking about whether Al Qaeda is good for them or not for themselves.
    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      Yeah! The US should start sending aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and help get them on back their feet so they can take care of themselves! Why has no-one thought of this before?!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mhh91 (1784516)

        No, people have thought of this a lot, but the US government seems to enjoy blood money too much.

        If those nations had peace, the US won't be able to sell arms to those countries.

        And if that happens, the US is going to be broke in no time.

        • by kestasjk (933987) *
          Yeah! Damn the US, addicted to all the huge profits it makes selling weapons to Afghanistan and Pakistan! If the US wasn't fighting a war in Afghanistan and Pakistan they would be broke so fast.

          I think they're only there for the oil, frankly. If the Afghan / Pakistan areas weren't so rich in oil and lucrative weapons contracts the world would be a much safer place.
          • I think they're only there for the oil, frankly. If the Afghan / Pakistan areas weren't so rich in oil

            Yeah, that 60,000 barrels of oil per day from Pakistan and 0 barrels of oil per day from Afghanistan really makes an impact compared to the US's 9,000,000 per day.

            https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2173.html [cia.gov]

            (While Afghanistan has an estimated roughly 2 billion barrels of oil reserves, this is puny compared to the oil available in Iraq or even the US. Afghanistan lacks the technological expertise required to extract this oil, so the government is contracting with outside comp

            • And thus we find the real reason for the wars. American companies don't care where we get oil from, since any cost increases are passed directly to the customer. Any cost decreases are pocketed by the executives.

              The real reason is to get American companies involved in the extraction of resource, and the creation of new infrastructure. Those lucrative no-bid contracts are wroth untold billions for the companies involved.

              • I think you missed the point that because there's not a great deal of oil there, the oil is far more valuable to Afghanistan (which would be going from 0 barrels of oil production to substantially more than 0) than it is to an average oil company. Your argument might work better in a country like Iraq, which has orders of magnitude more exploitable reserves than Afghanistan does.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday July 10, 2011 @12:26PM (#36712546) Journal

              Uhhhh...haven't heard about the minerals reports from Afghanistan have you? You might want to read this [nytimes.com] then simply replace oil with mineral rights. of course We, the People won't see any of that, it'll go to groups like Halliburton.

              You see you haven't figured out how the "banana scam" works. here is how it goes: Company A wants land for bananas but country B doesn't want to play ball. A few big fat checks are written to the right people and suddenly it becomes a "national interest" and country B is now the enemy. When all is said and done the USA loses a ton of money but Company A gets their banana and with them massive amounts of MONIES. Yay for massive profits woo hoo!

              And THAT is how it works my friend and has been since the end of WII when the MIC saw their massive MONIES were gonna dry up at the end of hostilities and needed a way to keep the cash flowing. The way it is now they make money on both ends, by supplying the weapons AND by picking the corpse of the enemy clean for "national interests".

          • Re:The way I see it. (Score:4, Informative)

            by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday July 10, 2011 @09:40AM (#36711294)

            "If the Afghan / Pakistan areas weren't so rich in oil "

            There is no oil nor gas there.
            That's much more to the north, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan etc.

      • Not the US mentality... shoot first ask questions later, if at all..

      • by Lazareth (1756336)

        Oh wonderful. Deployment of troops and prolonged warfare on foreign soil == humanitarian aid. Suddenly the world is beginning to make sense. I can see how that tidbit of logical information makes it all fall into place.

        • by kestasjk (933987) *
          US aid to Pakistan over the last 10 years: [wikipedia.org] 11.740 billion in military aid, 6.08 billion in economic aid
          • by Keruo (771880)
            Maybe the problem is excessive aid?
            Constant flow of aid prevents the local economy from growing to self-sustaining healthy levels.
            Since the food is being airlifted in, the farmers might aswell grow poppy.
            • by nospam007 (722110) *

              "Constant flow of aid prevents the local economy from growing to self-sustaining healthy levels."

              Are you talking about US Agriculture?

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Because if we do that without any real oversight, it'll be a huge fuckup. We sent food into Somalia during the early 90s and it was just stolen by the warlords as they gunned down starving civilians. It probably wouldn't be that much different in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and we'd end up supplying our enemies instead of the civilian populace.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The issue is that we have a tendency to hand out money without strings attached because we don't want to piss off the dictator. Aid should come with strings attached in terms of promoting a stable democracy and should be closely eyed.

        It was a really stupid idea on our part to hand weapons over to Pakistan knowing full well that most of those weapons weren't being used for their intended purpose.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:43AM (#36710596)

      I think they should help countries that aid them get on their feet...

      Get on their feet?

      Al Qaeda exists today (after their CIA support) because of centuries of what the Arab people and Muslims believe was oppression - which they do have a point. As far as the Muslim World is concerned, they have been "disrespected" to use an American term. If you look at the Arab countries, they have been shit on for centuries by Western powers and there is a lot of bitterness and resentment about that.

      Then there's the other side. The Arabs and Muslims in general for that matter are stuck in this victimization mentality. And they need to look in the mirror and admit to themselves that they're part of their own problem; which I think is starting to happen - the Arab Summer with all these revolts and protests are a sign that they're saying enough is enough.

      What we need to do is support them when we can and stop this horseshit of supporting the assholes of the Middle East or even the semi assholes in Jordan.

      We can start by getting rid of the Saudi "royals".

    • If we would have taken the money we spent on fighting the 'War on Terror', and instead applied it to actually helping people get access to food and clean drinking water, helped them set up schools, the amount of good will we would have in the region and around the world would be enormous. Al Qaeda would not be able to exist because the people would not allow it to.

      But as with anything, it's easier to destroy than create.

      • Re:The way I see it. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @09:19AM (#36711150) Homepage Journal

        >>instead applied it to actually helping people get access to food and clean drinking water, helped them set up schools, the amount of good will we would have in the region and around the world would be enormous

        You think we haven't been doing that?

        A friend of mine was a Lt. in the marines (this is ~2003 or 2004) and was assigned a CNN reporter who was going to follow him around for the day. She showed up, asked what they'd be doing today, and he said they'd be visiting a couple schools that the marines built, where the reporter would get to interview the children, and then on to a place where they'd fixed up the water infrastructure.

        She said: "That's boring." And left.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AngryDeuce (2205124)

          Of course we've been doing that, the problem is that in the months leading up to that, we killed thousands of innocent civilians.

          Maybe next time, before they bomb out half the cities of whatever country our current "enemies" live in, they could try helping the people first. We have to win over the people if we ever want to win the war, and by killing the wrong people (as we can't seem to stop doing) we do nothing but ensure another generation of people with a deep-seated hatred of us. All the good will we

          • by corbettw (214229)

            Maybe next time, before they bomb out half the cities of whatever country our current "enemies" live in, they could try helping the people first.

            I have a better idea: let's leave them the fuck alone completely and let them find their own way in the world. Not only are we not the global police, we're also not the global parent.

            • by 1u3hr (530656)

              I have a better idea: let's leave them the fuck alone completely and let them find their own way in the world. Not only are we not the global police, we're also not the global parent.

              You did that in the 90s. Then Osama set up shop there, and so you had to go back in 2001, not now as a friend as you had been after you helped get rid of the Russians, but as as an enemy invader.

              You broke Afghanistan, Now you have to fix it. What other option? Genocide?

          • Re:The way I see it. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @12:00PM (#36712346)

            and the fact is, a lot of people in these countries see us in the same light as the horrible dictators that have abused them for so long...

            According to a survey from about a year ago, something like 90% of afghanis in the most war-torn provinces don't know about 9-11 and 40% think the reason the US is in their country is to destroy islam.

            Its ridiculous just how badly we've failed to make our case to the people over there.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:54AM (#36710656)

      There's no way to defeat Al Qaeda.

      Al Qaeda isn't just a bunch of people, it's an ideology.

      As V says, "Ideas are bulletproof".

      If the US really wants to defeat Al Qaeda, I think they should help countries that aid them get on their feet, that way they'll stop hating the US and start thinking about whether Al Qaeda is good for them or not for themselves.

      If being an ideology was sufficient to make a group invincible, then the Argentinian Montoneros or the Peruvian Shinning Path would still exist. To defeat Al Qaeda is not necessary to annihilate its members or even the ideology behind them. It is simply sufficient to exterminate their global and regional reach and reduce them to strategic insignificance. Then local governments can dispatch them, or let the remains disperse into the wind.

      And that, ladies and gents, that's a defeat for them, and a good enough victory for those that oppose them. Victory is not necessary to be total, just sufficient according to the victor's context.

      The trick would be to maintain and obtain intelligence from that point on to squash them into oblivion once again should they attempt to raise the group to a significant threat.

      • But it does absolutely nothing about the issues, both real and perceived, that caused Al Qaeda to exist in the first place. It's attacking the symptoms and ignoring the cause. So how long will it be before there's another group comprised of exactly the same disenfranchised people under the same ideology?

        • by poity (465672)

          But it does absolutely nothing about the issues, both real and perceived

          Very good point right there. Even if you deal with the real issues, you'll still have to deal with the perceived. The US can totally pull out of the middle east, and there will still be terrorism aimed at it from the middle east just for the sake of having association with another entity, e.g. Israel, Turkey, India, allies who interfere in Africa, etc. Perceived injustice is a personal opinion, and those don't go away just because you make concessions.

          • by dave420 (699308)
            But if you at least admit that they have grievances, they can be addressed and shown to be either legitimate or not. That's what happened in Northern Ireland, and it's working.
      • With state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan and Iran and USA-backed terrorist incubators like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, reducing terrorism seems unlikely. Luckily the threat would be pretty negligible if the US did nothing, so success has and will always be assured!
      • Re:The way I see it. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LrdDimwit (1133419) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @12:18PM (#36712502)
        Besides which, you can defeat an ideology. It happens all the time. How many people still worship Zeus? What happened to old Zeus? He wasn't defeated by war; when the Romans conquered Greece, they simply merged Zeus with their own King of the Gods, Jupiter.

        What did defeat Zeus? Christianity, a new ideology. When it became the state religion of the Roman empire, it displaced the traditional Roman state religion; which still included Zeus.

        So yes, it is very hard to defeat an ideology with bullets. But that doesn't mean you can't defeat an ideology. You defeat an ideology by convincing people that it's not a good ideology. Why do people become terrorists? Well, there's a lot of complex religious legal theory involved ... but most of that takes a back seat to what REALLY drives most terrorists: Anger, hatred, desperation.

        Terrorists hate their enemies. They hate them so much that massacring busloads of schoolchildren seems like a good idea. That is a very severe sort of loathing. Terrorists also generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds; there are exceptions to this (Bin Laden was from a wealthy family; most US-citizen terrorists had relatively normal lives before radicalizing).

        How do you defeat terrorism? You attack the current membership, while also addressing these two points. Why do so many people in the Middle East hate us? Can we do something to make ourselves less unpopular? And is it possible to get people out of poverty in those regions? These are the things that will cut down on Al Qaeda's ability to recruit new members.
      • by dave420 (699308)
        You seemed to have missed the point entirely. You can eradicate a group of people holding an idea, but the idea will still persist - especially if said idea (in this case the fucking of Muslims by the west) is clearly demonstrably after said group is eradicated. If you killed all the terrorists in the world in a heart-beat, tomorrow there would be more, as the grievances the original terrorists had would still not be addressed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RazorSharp (1418697)

      What you fail to realize is how unorganized this 'group' is, especially since we've been killing them nonstop for the last decade. You also fail to realize how unorganized their ideology is. The only idea that holds them together is Islam, which isn't necessarily anti-western. The senior leaders such as Bin Laden used their money and power to dupe ignorant and poor individuals into sacrificing their lives for their bullshit cause. Without the senior leaders there's no one smart or resourceful enough to prop

      • How was it a pathetic attempt to justify terrorism? It was about a rebellion against an oppressive state and quite often people die in these kind of things. See the American Revolution for a real world example.

        • How was it a pathetic attempt to justify terrorism? It was about a rebellion against an oppressive state and quite often people die in these kind of things. See the American Revolution for a real world example.

          I consider the U.S. to be an oppressive state with things such as the Patriot Act, the oligarchy in control of things, the prohibition of marijuana, the military industrial complex, and the prison industry. That doesn't mean that, were I to start blowing things up, I'd be a 'rebel' rather than a 'terrorist.'

          V = Timothy McVeigh

          • So it's terrorism because it's not QUITE oppressive enough, but there's a certain tipping point where it becomes rebellion? I

            • by corbettw (214229)

              A rebellion means you have an army and you're fighting another army. V was just a lone individual blowing up buildings. There's a huge difference between those two actions and the actors behind them.

              • It's a pretty poor rebellion that is seeking to fight the army of the opposing side.

                "Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order.[1] It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state"

            • Well, all definitions are delineated at some point, beyond which they are something else. Rebellions are sometimes depicted as "just", terrorism is not. It's largely a matter of perception, but not entirely.
              It's also a matter of intent: terrorists are defined by those who deliberately go after innocents and civilians - or at least, those not involved in the war or battle in some direct support capacity or other (like a bomb factory)- simply to induce fear and chaos. (say what you will about "collatera
    • To defeat Al Qaeda in Afghanistan the government needs to negotiate with the Taliban and intigrate them into the government. They need to keep their friends close and their enemies closer.
    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      By that logic, we still haven't defeated the Nazis.

      And maybe if the US would help those countries that still have Nazis (like the US), those countries would stop hating us and decide to ditch Nazis.

      Brilliant!

    • There's no way to defeat Al Qaeda.

      Wrong.

      Al Qaeda isn't just a bunch of people, it's an ideology.

      True.

      As V says, "Ideas are bulletproof".

      It's true that you can't shoot an idea in the head to kill it. But ideas come from and are spread by people.

      Ideologies usually emerge from social circumstances such that an ideology which has any impact won't usually be eliminated just by fighting the particular people holding it at the moment (and that's particularly true of an ideology which is centered around the existe

  • by number17 (952777) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:36AM (#36710564)
    Once these 10 to 20 leaders are dead i'm sure all those people in death squad training camps will go right back to working in McDonalds or some other type of desk job. They definitely have the hunger and skillset to become a corporate executive.
    • by syousef (465911)

      Once these 10 to 20 leaders are dead i'm sure all those people in death squad training camps will go right back to working in McDonalds or some other type of desk job. They definitely have the hunger and skillset to become a corporate executive.

      Working in McDonalds is a deskjob? Well I guess if you call the grill your desk it would still be cleaner than some slashdotters desks ;-)

    • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @08:14AM (#36710744)

      You mean those death squad training camps that we blew up?

      What the hell do you think we've been dropping all these bombs and predator drones on? Al Qaeda's been relegated to nothing but some guys with AK-47s. We've killed almost anyone with money or power. Once we take out the remaining 10-20 leaders, it won't matter who's left. We can pack our bags and go home because everyone who remains loyal to the cause will be too poor to do anything about it and if they try the Pakistani/Afghani governments will deal with them. If they happen to pool some resources together the CIA will take care of it.

      Because of 9/11 we've constantly overestimated these fucks. We never should have sent the military to deal with this. The CIA could have dealt with it fine. We should have done what the Israelis did after the '72 Munich murders: assassinate, assassinate, assassinate, and assassinate some more. Sending in ground troops was a gross tactical error. It gave them something to fight. The only military forces should have been the Airforce/Navy dropping bombs and maybe some rangers taking on assassination missions like what we did to Bin Laden. Al Qaeda was nothing but a rag-tag bunch of morons. Bush empowered them by trying to turn them into Emmanuel Goldstein.

      • by devent (1627873) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @09:18AM (#36711142) Homepage

        So you mean you should react on acts of terror with more acts of terror? That is really civilized. No wonder the USA is the "defender of truth, justice and democracy". Just go in and kill'em all, and their children.

        Fuck America. The USA is the modern British Empire, that killed millions of Indian people under the disguise to bring them civilization and democracy.

        • No, assassination is not terrorism. Terrorism is killing randomly (bombs are pretty random) so that everyone should feel threatened. Assassination is killing specifically so that no one else should feel threatened.

          (I don't disagree with the rest though.)

        • by corbettw (214229)

          Fuck America. The USA is the modern British Empire, that killed millions of Indian people under the disguise to bring them civilization and democracy.

          Come on, be fair. Americans killed millions of Indians, too. Just a different kind of Indian.

      • Well, actually we have grossly underestimated Al Qaeda. They are not a bunch of rag-tag morons but have a communication system which is almost a paradox because it is simple yet so sophisticated the CIA has difficulty tracking them. If anything, the CIA are almost a bunch of rag-tag morons. We have been fighting Al Qaeda for damn near nine years and, at best, have made marginal progress. The genius behind Al Qaeda is that it basically consists of semi-autonomous, splinter cells. These splinter cells wa
      • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @11:13AM (#36711966) Homepage

        Love the idea.

        "Once we take out the remaining 10-20 leaders, it won't matter who's left. We can pack our bags and go home"

        I sincerely hope that is the case. I also understand that Leon may not be able to tell us who those 10 - 20 leaders are.

        So here's what I think We The People deserve: A countdown clock. Put a big "20" counter up somewhere, and count it down to zero. If that number doesn't go down by at least 1 per month, I want a very good reason (and for the number to fall the next month), or I want Leon to admit he is not the right guy for the job and to step aside for his replacement.

        I have no problem with military action with concrete objectives, victory conditions, and a clear path to the return to normalcy (where perpetual war is not considered normalcy). I also have no problem with a particular leader admitting he is not the right guy for the job. I even have no problem with spending as much as the rest of the planet combined on our military while we have a mission and are making progress.

        What I do have a problem with is spending $700b per year and always being told that victory is just over the next hill. $700b per year should be enough to get the job done -- and if it is not, we cannot afford to continue. Now get it done, or bring in the next guy, or change the victory conditions to something that is attainable.

        Then, two years from now, I want the peace dividend. We cannot afford to continue on this path (same for health care and social security, and I want my taxes raised).

  • Panetta, are you really that sure that you can announce this before executing those people? This sounds as a buttload of PR bullshit, or one hell of an ego who wants his 15 minutes of fame. Shut them down first, then have an interview. That's the way it should be done.

    Now back to work! Pronto!!!

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      It's just propaganda from the ministry of "defense"(sic).

      By announcing this they'll keep the rednecks and conservatives happy for another tax year while they work on the next announcement.

  • it's like an old joke, about a computer programmer, who is being pulled away from his computer by a bunch of mental hospital nurses, while he is looking at the screen, where there is an infinite loop running, and he is yelling: -It's only going to take a little longer!

    War on terrorism, on drugs, on poverty, on anything that government does, it's not only futile, it actively causes more of what they are fighting against.

  • Our previous POTUS declared victory how long ago? And what changed as a result? Now we have a new POTUS, who is changing nothing and what do we get?
    • Now we have a new POTUS, [...] and what do we get?

      Bin Laden shot in the head? Withdrawal of troops from Iraq? A deadline for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan?

      • Now we have a new POTUS, [...] and what do we get?

        Bin Laden shot in the head?

        Can you point to something that was somehow changed by that happening? We went to the other side of the world to murder somebody; so what?

        Withdrawal of troops from Iraq?

        Most of whom have been replaced by contractors, or other people who do similar jobs - often at higher pay - but aren't directly responsible to the US military.

        A deadline for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan?

        I hope you're also not holding your breath to see that war actually end.

  • by the_raptor (652941) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @08:07AM (#36710718)

    Al Qaeda was a reaction to Arab tyrants propped up by the American government. What has defeated Al Qaeda is the "Arab spring". If there are no corrupt tyrants and those Arab countries can actually develop their economies Al Qaeda have nothing to offer except religious extremism. Which most people don't want. Most people no matter their religion just want to be able to provide for their families and live in peace.

    While "Al Qaeda" will be around for decades, without a support base of poor Arabs their ability to carry out any serious attack is nullified.

  • How will you know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rongage (237813) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @08:13AM (#36710732)

    OK, since Al Qaeda folk don't exactly have a uniform that is distinguished from the local fashion, how exactly will we know if they are either dead or hiding? If Al Qaeda were to stop fighting tomorrow, would we believe them defeated, or are they just waiting for us to leave so that they can resume their activities?

    As much as I hate to say it, we are fighting a war based on ideology and have absolutely no way to know if we have won.

    • by vvaduva (859950)

      You mean, the "US Government" is fighting a war...I am not, so your "we" is not exactly accurate with its collectivist implications.

  • This is idiotic...there is no Al Qaeda. "Al Qaeda" was a CIA creation back in the days of Mujaheddins/Russia in Afghanistan, and it's not a specific group of people, it's rather an anti-American sentiment that runs throughout the Muslim world. Some people buy into it, others don't. You don't defeat things like that with bullets and bombs. Stop invading, bombing, and manipulating governments in foreign countries...when you give people no reason to hate you, they will likely stop wanting to kill you.

  • Under what law can the USA kill "10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group"? Why is there nobody who actually asks what jurisdiction the USA can claim or what international law there is that the USA can do that? What if you replace Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with Germany, Italy and France? ... that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group in Germany, Italy and France.

    There is no deceleration of war and they are not captured to be put in f

    • And do you believe those drone attacks in Pakistan are backed by any form of international law ? They bomb anyone they call "suspected terrorist" without any court order. It turned out that most of casaulties of drone attacks are just civilians. I've read somewhere that weddings were among their favorite targets as muslims often shoot into the air from their kalashnikovs on weddings but drone operators didn't give a shit about this.

      If I'm disilusioning you than I'm sorry. For me it seems that US army and t

    • Actually there is a law. It is the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists" act passed by Congress Sept 18 2001.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Terrorists [wikipedia.org]

      Section 2 - Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces

      (a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurre

  • I think we've already defeated them.

    I don't care if the military said they'd give everyone in America a pony if we just leave our guys there another six months. Get out. Turn over anti-terrorism activities to the special forces and bring the rest home.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @09:48AM (#36711342) Homepage

    ... that we've turned the corner and are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Perpetual optimism is neither helpful nor constructive.

    "A year ago none of us could see victory. Now we can see it clearly, like light at the end of the tunnel."--Lieutenant-General Henri-Eugène Navarre, 1953."

    "Dien Bien Phu has fulfilled the mission...." --French Army spokesperson, 1954

    "Victory is in sight."--General Paul D. Harkins, 1963

    "I didn't just screw Ho Chi Minh, I cut his pecker off." President Johnson, 1964

    "At last there is light at the end of the tunnel." Joseph Alsop, 1965

    "The North Vietnamese cannot take the punishment any more in the South. I think we can bring the war to a conclusion within the next year, possibly within the next six months." --General S. L. A. Marshall, 1966

    "I believe there is light at the end of what has been a long and lonely tunnel." --President Johnson, 1966

    "We have reached an important point where the end begins to come into view."--General Westmoreland, 1967

    "We have the enemy licked now. He is beaten."Admiral John S. McCain, 1969

    "The enemy is reeling from successive disasters. We are, in fact, winning the war." --William F. Buckley, 1969

    "If we just keep up the pressure, these little guys will crack."--U. S. General Earl Wheeler, 1970

    (The U.S. continued fighting for three more years. The end of the war is often given as 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese)

    • I understand that this is somewhat off-topic but it needs to be said. I am sure every one of you remembers your parents raising you to tell the truth and not to lie. If you lied, you would be admonished. All the while, if adults lie, it is okay. It is the lies that are colored as "PR bullshit" that have kept us in foolhardy wars for too long at too high of a cost.
    • (The U.S. continued fighting for three more years. The end of the war is often given as 1975 with the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese)

      No, wrong. The US was out of Vietnam by 1972. The Democrats in Congress cut off all funding to South Vietnam in a fit of spite after Watergate. They would be damned if Nixon would have any positive legacy whatsoever. They succeeded. The South Vietnamese were removed from any sources of supply and had to scrounge on the black market. They were hollow as a bell w

  • We need to continue hitting inside of pakistan. The fact that AQ is attacking Pakistan gov. is because they are upset that we are destroying them and pakistan gov. has been helping. Always keep in mind that AQ has the same mind set of neo-cons (two sides of the same coin): If you are not with us, you are against us. Simple as that.
  • Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda 'Within Reach'

    Yeah and the checks in the mail and I won't come in your mouth.

  • It's not like war is the only growth industry left in America. There's always the prison industrial complex to soak up the job losses of the returning American soldiers. Either as guards or inmates. Enjoy.
  • by ChilyWily (162187) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @11:33AM (#36712134) Homepage

    Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda 'Within Reach'

    If my employment depended on "defeat being close at hand for the enemy", I too would make such statements.

    What I want to know is - will the drone attacks that fuel so much resentment and hatred now stop? Will the 600 nightly raids by the military/blackwater(xe) mercenaries end? Will the so-called War now need any less lives (both american and afghani)? Will the so-called War now need any less money? Will we finally stop supporting the Afghan drug lords?

    If the answer is no, then there is no change and this is really just a PR stunt to pacify the american people who don't want to wage war and bring misery on innocent people in a far far away land while pumping up the troops. If violence is being used to justify that the enemy is close to be defeated then the cynical side of me says "this is not over by a long shot, keep the money bags rolling in".

  • Ten years of counter-terrorism and nation building in Afghanistan, and targeted assassinations in the region around it. And U.S. officials are *still* unable to make visits there unless they are unannounced... for security reasons. Is that really what near victory looks like?
  • Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

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