micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Tuesday, October 15, 2002
"Recent suicide bombing attacks and plots against Westerners show that al Qaeda loyalists are heeding their weakened leadership's call to initiate a new terror campaign using rudimentary, smaller-scale operations aimed at creating economic hardship, according to U.S., Western and Arab intelligence officials and experts," write Peter Finn and Dana Priest in today's Washington Post.

Few of these "officials and experts" are named or directly quoted and I wonder if this is a case of looking at what is being done and not having the facts lead to an explanation, so the explanation posited is merely one that the facts don't disprove. That is a logical step to take but if you are doing that, you really should look at all of the possible explanations that the facts don't disprove and acknowledge that you don't know the answer.

Later in the story, Finn and Priest describe al Quaeda's attacks till the aftermath of 9-11:

Up to and including Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda's signature actions were elaborately planned and centrally controlled -- the bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and the suicide airliner hijackings that struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- and all of them took months or years to plan.

Intelligence officials said that after the U.S.-led defeat of Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, hundreds of al Qaeda fighters were told to flee Afghanistan to their home countries and then independently target American, Jewish and other Western interests. These operatives were expected to conceive and execute acts of terror independent of the group's leadership, Arab officials said.

This is a plausible and likely scenario but the similarities between these two phases of attacks might be more important than the differences. The attacks mentioned above were not designed to cause a maximum number of causalities -prior to September 11, 2001 it would have been far easier to walk into many a professional or college sports stadium during a game and detonate a bomb than hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings, and it most likely would have resulted in a higher number of deaths- but rather to strike targets with symbolic value.

Saturday’s bombing in Bali might not seem to have much symbolic value but it is possible that the target was perceived decadence in the nightclub and/or to announce and make clear to everyone that al Qaeda is active in Indonesia. Whatever the case, the attack was not the most effective way to kill large numbers of people and it is unclear how this puts a tremendous damper on the Indonesian economy as the “officials and experts” want to suggest. All of the other relatively minor attacks seem to follow this pattern and in relatively open societies it is still very possible, with the right explosives, to cause many thousands of deaths by targeting a crowded gathering.

Finally, it is important to note that al Qaeda hasn’t always moved at the fastest of clips. It is perfectly possible that another one of their “signature actions” is in the works and these smaller attacks just represent an escalation of their actions.