On the top right of the New York Times front page today was Alissa Rubin’s story, with the headline “Militants Show a New Boldness in Cities of Iraq.” That’s distressing news, but then I thought twice about the headline. Aren’t “militants” by definition “bold”? Wouldn’t it be more newsworthy if “militants” were showing “a new meekness”?
Utterly absent from the story was any mention of the Obama White House. Politics has been drained out. American generals now are quoted as anti-terrorism authorities without suspicion. And there’s this, which ought to be acknowledged in the civil-liberties calculus of the war on terror:
Detainees, some innocent, but many of them former insurgents long held in American military custody, are being set free every day, potentially increasing the insurgency’s numbers. The American-Iraqi security agreement requires the release of all detainees in American custody unless there is sufficient evidence to bring charges in an Iraqi court.
At least one former detainee has already blown himself up in a suicide attack.