July 29, Faisal Saleh Hayyat, Pakistan's interior minister, announced the arrest of a high-ranking Al Qaeda figure on local television. After a tense standoff in Gujrat, a city some 100 miles southeast of Islamabad, Pakistani security forces had capturedthe Tanzanian jihadist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the FBI's twenty-second "Most Wanted" terrorist and a suspected conspirator in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Late last month, President Bush lost his greatest advantage in his bid for reelection. A poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post discovered that challenger John Kerry was running even with the president on the critical question of whom voters trust to handle the war on terrorism.
In a speech in Hanover, New Hampshire, on January 24, John Kerry chided Democrats for "looking South," for thinking states on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line could bring them the presidency. But fortunately, in choosing North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running mate, Kerry has done exactly that.
On May 28, George Tenet delivered for the Bush administration. Nearly two months had passed since the fall of Baghdad. U.S. forces had turned up no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, raising the specter of gross misjudgment on the part of the U.S. intelligence community and allegations of presidential dishonesty. But, that day, the CIA announced that two trailers found in northern Iraq the previous month were actually mobile biological-agent production facilities.
Since the joint congressional committee investigating September 11 issued a censored version of its report on July 24, there's been considerable speculation about the 28 pages blanked out from the section entitled "Certain Sensitive National Security Matters." The section cites "specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers," which most commentators have interpreted to mean Saudi contributions to Al Qaeda-linked charities.
Foreign policy is always difficult in a democracy. Democracy requires openness. Yet foreign policy requires a level of secrecy that frees it from oversight and exposes it to abuse. As a result, Republicans and Democrats have long held that the intelligence agencies--the most clandestine of foreign policy institutions--should be insulated from political interference in much the same way as the higher reaches of the judiciary. As the Tower Commission, established to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal, warned in November 1987, "The democratic processes ...
History is not physics. Studying the past does not yield objective laws that can unerringly predict the course of events. But peoples do draw lessons from history and change their behavior accordingly. Western European countries, for instance, took the experience of two world wars as reason to change radically their relations with one another. The United States took the experience of the Great Depression as reason to alter the relationship between government and the market.Historical lessons can also be unlearned or forgotten.
Believe it or not, the United States is on the verge of another donnybrook at the U.N. Security Councilthis time over whether to extend the oil- for-food program in Iraq, which expires on June 3. The Bush administration is divided over what to recommend, but conservatives have been strongly urging the Bushies to let the program die.
Ask pessimists why Iraq will never be a democracy, and they most often cite its ethnic and religious divisions. A post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, they warn, could devolve into an Arab Yugoslavia, with open warfare between the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds, and with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia taking sides. Optimists like The New Republic's Lawrence F. Kaplan respond that a federation could manage these divisions.