The Bright Side Is Not Very Bright

Newsweek has more on Wednesday’s bombing in Yemen, including more on the Iraq blowback aspect:

A Yemeni source (who asked not to be identified because of political sensitivities) said the Yemeni government has been concerned about returning Iraq fighters for some time, and that that was one reason [Yemeni President Ali Abdullah] Salah’s government chose last year to release Jamal al-Badawi, the militant indicted in the United States for his role in the Cole bombing.[…]

The Yemeni source said Badawi’s [release] had a logic related to Iraq. The Yemeni fighters returning from Iraq were coming back having learned new and sophisticated techniques to avoid detection by security forces. They avoided use of cell phones and e-mail. The Yemenis hoped to follow Badawi in hopes that his status as a Cole bomber would lead them to other fighters returning from Iraq, the source said.

Following on what I wrote yesterday, the fact that our relationships with Middle Eastern governments like Yemen’s have been severely complicated — and various Al Qaeda affiliates inspired and empowered — by the Iraq war must be included in any tally of the wars costs.


Now go read Charles Krauthammer’s latest war prayer, in which Krauthammer suggests that “Bush is much like Truman, who developed the sinews of war for a new era”:

What the president did note with some pride, however, is that beyond preventing a second attack, he is bequeathing to his successor the kinds of powers and institutions the next president will need to prevent further attack and successfully prosecute the long war…

Truman left office disparaged and highly out of favor. History has revised that verdict. I have little doubt that Bush will be the subject of a similar reconsideration

Even granting that the Truman argument is, as Yglesias notes, “comforting to all unpopular presidents,” it seems that an obvious way of interpreting Krauthammer’s bust-polishing is that George W. Bush’s presidency has successfully preserved and expanded the various powers and prerogatives that the next president will need to deal with the the disastrous consequences of George W. Bush’s presidency.