Israel/Palestine: In Their Shoes

My friends and family are very much split when it comes to Israel/Palestine.  Nearly a year ago I examined my own feelings and observations on the mess.  Its nearly impossible to really get a handle on a reality most of us don’t have to confront on a daily basis.  I remember my own understanding of the issue took a turn for the deeper after reading what it was like for children to see their parents treated like criminals, never mind treated brutally, at Israeli checkpoints.  So I’d like to invite you to join me in a very short thought experiment.  I’d like to briefly examine an aspect of both sides of this conflict.

First the Israelis.  Let’s imagine that the party to take power in Canada is a mix of social conservatism and fiscal liberalism.  Thet build schools, hospitals, and provide jobs.  The Canadians are wild about them.  They also commit violent acts against US citizens.  They send suicide bombers who travel down into Boston, New York, Chicago, and blow themselves up in buses, night clubs and crowded intersections.  They launch rockets into the US, hitting farms, schools, and random houses.  People you know have been killed in these attacks.  The Canadian government not only supports this party, they have threatened to bury us if we retaliate.  How would you want to react?  How do you think our government should react?

Let’s scale this down for the Palestinians.  Imagine your home state is divided in half.  The bulk of the land is owned by by Mexicans.  To travel from one end to another, we have to submit ourselves to military checkpoints, were we can be beaten or detained at will.  Most of us live in poverty.  The local party to gain power promises not only to fight back, but to ensure our broken infrastructure is repaired.  Members of the party regularly fire rockets into Mexico’s borders.  The Mexican government responds with overwhelming force, killing not only the men firing rockets, but nearby civilians.  Your friends have been killed.  After a failed attempt to negotiate a cease fire, Mexico is going to invade our home.  Given the inability of their military force to spare civilians, it is likely that even if you are not killed or wounded, someone you know will be.  How would you respond?  How would you expect your elected officials to act?

The interesting thing with the Israel/Palestine conflict is that both sides, upon reflection, inspire sympathy.  Something to keep in mind when reading the many one sided notes and articles from friends and media.

The New Taliban

What’s keeping me up at night?  Via Majikthise, an article in Rolling Stone by the incredibly brave Nir Rosen.  I couldn’t stop reading it.

At one point, I got the distinct impression our leaders are acting like irresponsible doctors prescribing anti-biotics, sending more and more troops.  Amid the same signs of hope for negotiation Rosen picks out, he finds pretty solid evidence we are seeing the development of superbugs:

The guarantees of safety that once protected civilians have been replaced by a new generation removed from traditional society — one for whom jihad is the only law.

In spite of assurances about women being allowed to attend school and work, we see pictures of theocracy in action:

As we wait for the Doctor to arrive, Shafiq has other problems to deal with. His nephew has been arrested by a Taliban patrol after being spotted walking with a girl. After Shafiq secures his release, other Talib fighters call to complain that they heard music coming from his house the night before. Exasperated, Shafiq protests that it was only Al-Jazeera. He doesn’t mention the Iranian pop singer.

The outlook is pretty grim (emphasis mine):

Simply put, it is too late for Bush’s “quiet surge” — or even for Barack Obama’s plan for a more robust reinforcement — to work in Afghanistan. More soldiers on the ground will only lead to more contact with the enemy, and more air support for troops will only lead to more civilian casualties that will alienate even more Afghans. Sooner or later, the American government will be forced to the negotiating table, just as the Soviets were before them.

What’s more, the direct U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan is now likely to spill over into Pakistan. It may be tempting to attack the safe havens of the Taliban and Al Qaeda across the border, but that will only produce a worst-case scenario for the United States. Attacks by the U.S. would attract the support of hundreds of millions of Muslims in South Asia. It would also break up Pakistan, leading to a civil war, the collapse of its military and the possible unleashing of its nuclear arsenal.”

…But the Taliban have their own faith, and so far, they are winning.

This is the reality of Afghanistan as it stands today.  A new Taliban, divided, is taking the country back.  We need people with intelligence and good judgement leading this country to take advantage of that:

The internal split provides an opening — if U.S. intelligence is smart enough to exploit it.

“The U.S. should try to weaken the Taliban,” a former Taliban commander tells me. “They should make groups, divide and conquer. If someone wants to use the division between Haqqani and Omar, they can.”

Its a very slim silver lining hiding underneath an enormous storm cloud.

Making Killing Liberals Normal

Hate of liberals has been festering throughout the Bush years.  You’d think two terms of conservative rule would calm and reassure wingnuts, but the crazy contigent of the radical Republican army has been working on its foaming skills assiduously.

My “most active” posts are about a Obama: The White Supremacist Backlash, and on Eliminationism: Kill All Liberals.  I regularly see search terms like “white supremacist obama”, “fuck obama muslim nigger”, and “kill all liberals” rise to the top (also encouragingly “progress hope obama”).

While we wonder if the recent murder of the Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman was politically motivated, we do know the Church killings were (David Niewert at FireDogLake):

An update on the Knoxville shooting rampage, from the Knoxville News:

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals “who are ruining the country,” court records show.

Knoxville police Sunday evening searched the Levy Drive home of Jim David Adkisson after he allegedly entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and killed two people and wounded six others during the presentation of a children’s musical.

Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still requested the search warrant after interviewing Adkisson. who was subdued by several church members after firing three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation.

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

Meanwhile the presence of a possible terrorist in Denver has excited the right wing blogosphere to the point that they overlooked the probability that the terrorist was one of their own rather than the “Muslim Terrorist” they rushed to brand him as.

The ugly side of repeatedly insisting it would be acceptable, desirable, or even honorable to kill liberals is that some people are easily convinced.  That they believe the radio hosts and right wing shock jocks of news are rooting for them when they take a gun and aim it at a human being whose politics they don’t like.  Sad, sick people.

We ought to be more aggressive in pushing back against eliminationist speech.

The question is how?

Lebanon is Fucked

This makes my stomach churn.  Via XX Factor, Mona Charen at the Politico writes:

Smadar wrote later, “I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades.” As police began to arrive, Kuntar and the others dragged Danny and 4-year-old Einat down to the beach. With Einat watching, Kuntar shot Danny in the head and then threw his body into the surf. Kuntar then repeatedly smashed Einat’s head against a rock with his rifle butt, killing her, too. Yael did not survive the attack either. In an effort to keep the baby from crying and betraying their hiding place, Smadar had accidentally suffocated her.

He was recently released in the prisoner exchange.

This week, Kuntar, dressed in fatigues and sporting a Hitlerian mustache and haircut, walked down a red carpet arrayed for him in Beirut. The government closed all offices and declared a national day of celebration. Tens of thousands of Lebanese cheered, waved flags, threw confetti, and set off fireworks as Hezbollah staged a rally to celebrate their “victory” over Israel. Mahmoud Abbas, the “moderate” leader of the Palestinian Authority, sent “blessings to Samir Kuntar’s family.” PA spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman sent “warm blessings to Hezbollah … on the return of the heroes of freedom … headed by the great Samir Kuntar.”


Mona asks at the start, “What can you say about a people who welcome a child murderer as a hero?”.

That might be an unfair question.  A better question would be what can you say about a culture that welcomes a child murderer as a hero?  And the answer is, that culture is fucked.  Perhaps even worse than fucked.  Because our own culture is fucked in the way our wars kill massive numbers of children, in the way blood is spilt daily, and we only react to news of whats happening to our own soldiers.  But this…  Imagine if the US threw a national holiday for a soldier accused of shooting an Iraqi man and beating his 4 year old daughter to death.

Violence might become necessary in the gravest situations, but worship of violence will always be the deepest kind of civil disease society can inflict upon itself.

Lieberman Asks Youtube to Remove Terrorist Videos

No word yet on whether or not the videos are under copyright.  From the article:

In a blog posting, YouTube said it welcomed the dialogue with Lieberman but noted that “most of the videos” his office had drawn to their attention “did not contain violent or hate speech content” and had therefore not been removed from the site “because they do not violate our Community Guidelines.”

Lieberman made a mistake.  If he was going to call for the removal of material that showed people being killed, that’s one thing.  If he’s going to use strident language and simply flag videos he does not agree with, he weakens his own argument.  Although one wouldn’t expect such a stalward supporter of the war in Iraq to understand that sometimes it isn’t wise to overreach.

Hamas Sacrifices Children, Israel Firing Anyway

This is just awesome for anyone fortunate enough to live in the “land of milk and honey”.  (New York Times, emphasis mine):

JERUSALEM — A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in northern Gaza on Monday during an Israeli operation against militants there, and a dispute quickly arose over exactly how they had died.

The Israelis said they shot a missile from the air that hit two armed men who were carrying heavy explosives which blew apart the family’s house behind them. Palestinian witnesses said they believed an Israeli tank shell or a missile from an unmanned drone flew into the small house, killing the four as they were eating breakfast. Two other children from the same family were badly wounded and hospitalized.

The killings prompted vows of revenge and seemed likely to complicate Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire between Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, and Israel.

Shortly afterward, seven rockets and nine mortars were fired at southern Israel from Gaza. No one there was injured although a building was damaged.

Is it just me, or is firing rockets from a residential neighborhood a bad way to avoid civilian casualties?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak placed the blame squarely on Hamas.

“We see Hamas as responsible for everything that happens there, for all injuries,” he said while on a tour of an Israeli weapons factory, as reported on Israeli radio. “The army is acting and will continue to act against Hamas, including inside the Gaza Strip.”

This is insane.  Hamas terrorists are using their own people as PR talking points.  Meanwhile Israel is firing anyway, ignoring both the ethical and practical problems with doing so.

Great time to be a Palestinian.  If I were growing up there, I’d pretty much hate everybody.

McCain’s Dismal Foreign Policy Expertise

John McCain is going to run as an expert on foreign policy, an experienced heavyweight with security his centerpiece strength.

Which makes this pretty fucking alarming (via Greg Saunders at TMW, emphasis mine):

The foolishness of this John McCain “gaffe”, to use the media’s favorite understatement, should terrify anyone who actually thinks the commander-in-chief should have a basic understanding of the wars we’re fighting :

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

Wow. If foreign policy is supposed to be the area in which McCain is an expert, I’m terrified of what he might do to the economy.

McCain’s being transparent.  He wants to yell “boo, Al-Qaeda!” when pressed with a foreign policy question, even when it makes less than zero sense to do so.  If McCain’s experience amounts to staring at a wall while people whisper the answers in his ear he’d better come up with another angle to market his presidency.

Palestinians and Israelis: Stupid and Violent

This is my heritage, my culture exploding in a sea of blood.  Fucking idiots.

Likely in response to a massive death toll from Israeli air strikes, a coward with a gun went on a shooting rampage at a school.  Hamas has responded by praising the attack:

On Thursday, Hamas did not take responsibility for the yeshiva attack but praised it. In a text message then, Hamas said: “We bless the operation. It will not be the last.”

Thereby telling the world in no uncertain terms that theirs is a “movement” that kills children to get what they want.  Awww, isn’t that sweet?  Just like the Israelis.  Well, not quite.  Here’s the difference, as far as I can tell.  Israel kills more by attacking while accepting civilian casualties.  Palestinian forces deliberately target civilians.  I don’t care how oppressed you are.  You don’t win the sympathy and support of the world by telling your supporters to go into schools and shoot children.   That makes your struggle for your own nation a fucking joke.

On the Israeli side, they’ve responded brilliantly:

The killings, which drew criticism from President Bush and the United Nations, are bound to put more pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to respond somehow, somewhere with force.

Yes!  Respond by killing even more Palestinians.  That won’t fuel more violence at all, will it Prime Minister Genius?

The two sides are both being led by the blind and the bloodthirsty.

Israel, Palestine: The Illegitmacy of Violence

What do you think of, when you think of Israel?  Jerusalem?

Its a heavy question, for a Jew.  I think of many things, visions and words from my youth.  And a rich history that feels nearer than that of any other people on Earth.   I say this as a man who identifies as ethnically Jewish.  I left my religion behind long ago, slowly and deliberately.  But I still watch events in the Middle East with intense interest and disgust.  Those are my relatives butchering each other over land they think God promised them.  And I cannot stand the blindness with which the world views Israel/Palestine.  An eye is nailed shut to the violence on one side or the other, without regard for the facts.   So I try to keep both my eyes open, and I see blood stained hands each claiming the same gold standard: justification.  As if murderous actions are ever justified.

Given the intensity of the feeling over there, it is bound to become expressed in artistic form.  Hence yet another piece of art comparing the Israelis to nazis, and the Palestinians to the Jews.  But it isn’t the same.  Israel’s actions are deadly wrong, but they are not building giant camps and systematically killing all of the Palestinians.  It just isn’t happening.  And to claim it is sounds shrill and desperate.

But that desperation itself is understandable.  After all, Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians mirror with frightening accuracy the German’s actions that preceded the concentration camps:  The ghettos.  Jews were herded into ghettos first, kept in poverty and eventually moved onto the camps for efficient extermination.

However there are key differences that must be addressed.

That poverty of the Palestinians is a joint effort between Israel and the surrounding nations.  Israel wants to punish the Palestinians for the violence they have engaged in (and is fearful of money sent their way coming back in the form of rockets).  Neighbors want Israel destabilized, and would gladly suffer the Palestinian people poverty and see generations of desperate people keep their hated nemesis mired in internal conflict.  Don’t even get me started on my own country’s support for violence in the region  (Short story: Oy Vey).

The Palestinians plight lacks to abject desire to kill so obviously present with the Germans.  Palestinian men are not marched onto the street and shot.  Palestinian infants are not smashed against walls until their blood has stained the walls black.

The Palestinians kill innocents.  Children.  People who have no business being shot or blown up.  Dead.

I look at the Palestinian’s plight, and I want to root for them.  I want to express solidarity.  They are a people being oppressed by a government.  But how can I support a violent movement?  A movement that considers blood an acceptable price for land?  So I end up supporting neither side, and watching both sides commit murder with contempt.

In the meantime, I find hope in watching a new movement that appears to be gaining strength:  The movement for a single Secular Democratic State in Israel Palestine.  Ghada Karmi has a rundown here, and there is an indymedia story here.  My suggestion is they name themselves something hilarious.  One of the highest points of our shared culture is comedy, and the land of milk and honey needs to take itself a wee bit less seriously.

You Are About to be a Terrorist

Do you ever disagree with our government? Are you perhaps anti globalization? A liberal? Then this should worry you silly (David Niewart posting at Firedoglake, emphasis mine):

Last week I tried to explain why Jane Harman’s “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” is a profoundly bad idea, one likely to skew and misdirect the fight against genuine terrorism into an ideological witchhunt that poisons our constitutional rights.

What I neglected to mention, unfortunately, is that this Orwellian bill is very much on the verge of becoming reality. It has already passed the House by a 400-6 vote, and now sits before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs — chaired by that “Independent Democrat” Joe Lieberman.

I think we can all see where this is heading. Joe loves him those Muslim-bashers, and this bill is tailor-made for them.

This is in danger of becoming law.

At this point, the bill certainly looks to be a fait accompli. Perhaps, somewhere in the Senate, someone will find the courage to stand up and question what this bill does and where it is taking us.

It would take an act of unusual courage this year, because you can be certain anyone doing so would be accused of being “soft on terrorism” — and nothing sends politicians on both sides of the aisle scurrying faster than those dread words. And the Democrats voters put in power in 2006 have not exactly been profiles in courage so far, Chris Dodd notwithstanding.

No, they certainly have not been.

Here are the Democratic members of the Senate Homeland Security committee:

Carl Levin, MI

Daniel Akaka, HI

Thomas Carper, DE

Mark Pryor, AR

Mary Landrieu, LA

Barack Obama, IL

Claire McCaskill, MO

Jon Tester, MT

Not exactly a promising list, I know. But it is what it is.

Actually, that is a damn promising list. Jon Tester rode into office on the coattails of the DailyKos/netroots community. Failing to fight on this bill would be turning his back on that community in the worst way. And Barack Obama is a candidate for president who is the underdog in a very close race. The chief criticisms against him is that he does not have substance and he does not take risks. Championing the opposition to this bill would smartly deal with both issues. And for a man who wants to restore trust in government, his efforts here would go a long way.

In the Homeland Security Committee Democrats I see a lot of promise. The question is will they fulfill it?

Saudi Arabia, the UK, and US

We all share some things in common(Korova, MOA):

 Mr Howells told a conference ahead of a state visit by Saudi leader King Abdullah that the two states could unite around their “shared values”.

Well, we both take a rather lax approach to human rights, don’t we?

We could easily add the US in there.  And in Saudia Arabia’s frantic effort to be perceived as anti-terrorism, they’ve actually attacked the UK for their response to the July 2005 bombings.  Take a look at the language used (VOA, emphasis mine):

As to the global terrorist threat in general, King Abdullah told the BBC that it will take a long time to suppress.

“No, it has not been completely defeated and I believe strongly as I mentioned to you earlier, I believe and I have said so in my public comments, that it will take 20 to 30 years to defeat the scourge of terrorism with vigilant effort,” he said.

He’s following Bush’s rhetorical lead.  This will come in handy when he vehemently denies allegations of human rights abuse, that is if he even addresses them at all.

Al Qaeda’s Latest Message and Our Nutty Response

Bin Laden purportedly has a new tape out.  (Christian Science Monitor):

Analysts say that Mr. bin Laden’s latest tape adds to evidence that the group has failed to extend its strength or spread its message inside the troubled country.

Does this mean Bush will stop saying we are in Iraq to fight Al Qaeda?  Probably not so much.

According to The Washington Post, the military believes that Al Qaeda in Iraq, which established itself in the country after the US’s 2003 invasion, is largely a spent force

That’s great news, but Al Qaeda in Iraq is not Al Qaeda.

Here’s where things start to get a little crazy:

Writing on the blog, Walid Phares argues that bin Laden’s latest rhetoric reflects a loss of control of events in Iraq.

Today’s audio … was dedicated to whip the chaotic commanders of Jihad in Iraq. Usama’s message was more so the expression of a frustrated (self appointed) “Caliph” trying to reign in on his emirs gone wild in the deserts of Middle Earth. The “Lord” is upset with how al Qaeda Iraq has administered the struggle, the people and the image.

Apparently our endless war with terrorism and the war in Iraq were not exciting enough to write about without dipping into a Lord of the Rings reference.  He all but calls Bin Laden Sauron.  Nice.

The best part is his analysis is incredibly shoddy.  Bin Ladin isn’t a Caliph trying to reign in his Emirs.  He might be trying to win over some Emirs to his side, but this is a significant distinction.  Either that, or he’s still working for the CIA, and just being a polite enough chap to put out a new message more frequently.  After all, big daddy Bush is hurting in the polls.

Eavesdropping Didn’t Help Uncover Terrorist Plot

Remember when the NYTimes reported that giving up our civil liberty brought us civil security?

The government’s ability to eavesdrop on potential terrorists helped the United States obtain information that led to the arrests last week of three Islamic militants accused of planning bomb attacks in Germany, the nation’s top spy official said today. This surveillance ability was temporarily restricted earlier this year by a special court, and then restored by Congress last month.

Turns out that’s not the case (Slashdot):

crymeph0 writes “Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell asserted that the ‘Protect America Act,’ which frees the intelligence community from pesky things like judicial oversight while they eavesdrop on international conversations, was used to good effect in exposing the recently foiled terrorist plot to bomb US military facilities in Germany. Not so, according to other, anonymous, intelligence community officials. McConnell was forced to admit his errors in a phone call to Sen. Joe Lieberman. Turns out the military got wise to the bad guys months before the law was passed, simply due to alert military guards noticing odd behavior by some passers-by, a.k.a. good old fashioned police work.”

This government lies at every turn.  Just repeating the words of a speech isn’t reporting.  Its note-taking.  If you want reporting you need to add in critical analysis.

WashingtonPost, Bin Laden and Old Tricks

William Arkin is an idiot.  The fun kind.  Let’s take a look at his attempt at analysis regarding the Bin Laden tape.  In a posting titled “Bin Laden the Communist” Arkin writes:

Bin Laden saves his vitriol for corporate interests.

He claims that the “major corporations” are behind a long history of American killing, of the “Red Indians,” in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And I love this one: “life of all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations.

Bin Laden says that America should “liberate” itself “from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system.” Oh, and also “embrace Islam.”

So criticizing capitalism, corporations, and global warming is communist?  Please comrade!  You are fooling no one.

In fact, Mr Arkin, you’ve simply achieved a sad little double whammy of tired conservative tricks.  Calling out the problem with corporations and unrestrained greed is a liberal position, and you damn well know it.  By calling these positions communist and tacking that label on Osama, you are following in very well worn footsteps:  Calling liberals communists, and equating liberals with terrorists.

You fucking idiot.

That is absolutely irresponsible of you.  Stop it.

To add further insult to injury, you miss a very interesting problem this video raises.  Osama calls out the danger of global warming.  Ok….  Sometimes, even the very worst of humanity has a point.  Like when the Chinese government accuses us of human rights violations.  Well, they aren’t wrong.  And we have to deal with that.

Besides, for a CIA trained asshole who loves mind-fucking America, I’m surprised Osama hasn’t officially adopted the Democratic party platform.  After all, that would serve the Republicans better, and everything that violent bastard has done since Bush took office has helped the Republicans hold onto power.

Iraq Truck Bombings: Who Was Responsible?

From the Telegraph:

“We’re looking at al-Qa’eda as the prime suspect,” Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver, US military spokesman, said.

As soon as I read that, I was suspicious.  Al-Qa’eda, or Al-Qa’eda in Iraq?  There is a significant difference, and the Bush administration is known for trying to conflate the two, just like their efforts with 9/11 and Saddam Hussein.

Let’s see what the BBC has to say:

Al-Qaeda blamed

Al-Qaeda in Iraq was suspected of carrying out the bus attack, and is now the chief suspect in the truck bombings.

The group is reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as “anti-Islamic”.

Al-Qaeda may also have logistical reasons for launching such attacks.

Well that’s confusing.  The BBC seems to be actively mixing the two together as if they were the same group.

Bloomberg just blames Al-Qaeda:

The method of the attack was “consistent” with al-Qaeda tactics, U.S. military spokesman Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner said at a televised news conference in Baghdad today.

The LA-Times is a bit more specific:

“The car bombs that were used all had the consistent profile of Al Qaeda in Iraq violence,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, U.S. military spokesman, adding that the group’s signature was evident in its “complete disregard for human life.”

So we have Brig Gen Kevin Bergner saying “Al Qaeda in Iraq”, and Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver saying “al Qa’eda”.  Just based on rank I’d be tempted to go with the General.  Certainly, given that Al-Qaeda is based in Afhganistan/Pakistan, Al-Qaeda in Iraq would be the far more likely suspect. But most outlets seem to have the opposite inclination.   Forbes is another good example:

Rescuers dug through the muddy wreckage of collapsed clay houses in northwest Iraq on Wednesday, uncovering at least 250 bodies from suicide truck bombings the U.S. military blamed on al-Qaida, making it the deadliest attack since the war began.

With such a deadly attack, getting the perpetrators right is all the more essential.  Instead we are stuck with what looks like really sloppy journalism.