Main menu:

Recent posts




To help keep HP running


Or make a one-off donation:

On the terrible tediousness of reserving judgment

In the hours following the atrocities in Norway, Jennifer Rubin– a rightwing blogger at The Washington Post– was one of many eagerly jumping to conclusions.

[T]here is a specific jihadist connection here: “Just nine days ago, Norwegian authorities filed charges against Mullah Krekar, an infamous al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist who, with help from Osama bin Laden, founded Ansar al Islam – a branch of al Qaeda in northern Iraq – in late 2001.”

But it gets worse. Rubin goes on to claim that the attacks (for which at that point no one knew for sure who was responsible) help make the case against cuts in the US defense budget. (It’s entirely possible to argue for or against defense budget cuts based on factual information.)

This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. I spoke to Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, who has been critical of proposed cuts in defense and of President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan. “There has been a lot of talk over the past few months on how we’ve got al-Qaeda on the run and, compared with what it once was, it’s become a rump organization. But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we’re dealing with global nest of snakes.”

To which James Fallows responds:

No, this is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too tedious to reserve judgment about horrifying events rather than instantly turning them into talking points for pre-conceived views.

Amen and amen.