Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of

Articles by Josh

Everybody and their brother -- at least anyone who has any sense and isn't on the payroll of the GOP -- has been saying for years that our occupation of Iraq has nothing to do with fighting radical Islamists who want to commit mass casualty terrorist attacks in the US and around the world.

'Nothing' is a very big word. Clearly, there is a relationship. Indeed, I think there's a pretty solid argument to be made that our invasion and occupation of Iraq has expanded the pool of terrorist recruits. And in other indirect ways with Iraq and international terrorism, we are all blind men touching different parts of the same elephant. But on the basic ground of 'Is fighting in Iraq helping reduce the threat of terrorism at home?' the answer is clearly 'No'.

And yet, I wonder if this recent terror scare out of London may have actually driven that point home in a new and more resonant way.

Living in a major American city, I take it for granted that my wife and I live under a certain general threat of major terrorist attacks. In that sense I'm not really different from everyone else in the country to this or that degree. Back in late 2001, when I was living in DC and we were in the midst of the Anthrax scare and various reports of sleeper cells in the United States, I remember having moments where I hoped the FBI and CIA were doing everything imaginable to shut these guys down, whatever the constitution might say.

Now, here's the point I want to focus in on. I want to make a basic distinction between the things we might think or feel impulsively when in the grip of fear and things we really think ought to be done. I never thought we should be torturing people or rounding people up. What I am saying is that I remember the atmosphere of those days just after 9/11 and the primal gut instincts that made part of me wish those things were happening.

It now seems that even this London bomb plot may not be all it's cracked up to be. But it did give me a moment of that gut level fear. And in that moment, as much as I've thought what I've thought about Iraq, I'm not sure I ever felt as clearly how completely beside the point Iraq is from the real threat we face of deracinated Islamic radicals (in the Muslim world and sprinkled about the West) trying to perpetrate mass terror attacks.

It hit me like a sort of epiphany even though it was a realization of something I and countless others have been saying for years.

I'm curious to know whether anyone else experienced something similar and even more whether anyone else's mind (about Iraq) actually may have been changed.

Is there anyone in the country who can say honestly, in their heart of hearts, that when that moment of fear hit them after the recent reports out of London, they said to themselves, "God, I'm glad we're in Iraq"?


Over the last few years, there have been several occasions when -- for all my skepticism about the Bush administration's politicization of terror alerts -- I've been surprised at how my skepticism, even cynicism, about terror alerts just can't keep pace with the administration's bad faith.

I'm not ready to say the London bomb plot is another bamboozlement. It at least seems clear the Brits were involved in a serious investigation. But even this case now seems to be turning out to be less than met the eye. And there are real grounds to question whether Bush and Blair jumped the gun for reasons other than counter-terrorism. We'll see.

Bush Secret Decoder Ring / Dictionary for Insiders.

Central Front in the War on Terror = Geographical setting of Failed Bush Policy

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IDF Chiefs of Staff are always very prominent and important figures in Israeli politics and society. They frequently enter politics after they retire (Moshe Dayan, as an example) and at least two I can think of off the top of my head have become prime ministers (Rabin and Barak). The current one, Dan Halutz, has had a particularly prominent role in the current war.

Now it is being reported that in the hours between the original kidnapping of the soldiers on the Lebanon border and the commencement of full-scale hostilities, Halutz went to a branch of the Bank Leumi and sold off his investment portfolio.

The pure facts of the matter are not in dispute. Halutz admits that he sold off the portfolio at the time in question but says it was unrelated to the events of that day.

Said Halutz: "It was my portfolio of shares, on which I had lost NIS 25,000. It is true that I sold the portfolio on July 12, 2006, but it is impossible to link that to the war. At the time I did not expect or think that there would be a war ... I am a citizen too and have my own economic affairs. This has stained [my reputation] for no reason and is unworthy of any further comment."

Bank Leumi has ordered an investigation into the source of the leak.