Today's Blogs

The Fort Dix Six

Bloggers react to the arrest of six men allegedly planning to bomb Fort Dix, ponder revelations that Rudy Giuliani donated money to Planned Parenthood, and marvel at the reported discovery of King Herod’s tomb.

The Fort Dix six: Six Muslim men were arrested Monday for allegedly plotting to attack Fort Dix, N.J. The men, under FBI surveillance for the past 15 months, had been scouting the Army base and buying firearms, according to the FBI affidavit. Four of them are from the former Yugoslavia, one is from Turkey, and one from Jordan. Bloggers watch the investigation unfold.

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters suspects these aren’t the brightest jihadists in the madrasah. For one thing, Ford Dix is heavily fortified and “bristling with military personnel.” The group also took a training film to a retail store to convert to DVDs: “Is this al-Qaeda? It could be, but I’m not sure that true AQ jihadis would be that dumb. … It could just be AQ-inspired fanatics who managed to screw up just enough to get caught.”

Many bloggers speculate that their motive might have something to do with the thousands of Albanian refugees housed at Fort Dix in 1999. At conservative Red State, Moe Lane is unsure if the suspects targeted the fort “because of its role in the Kosovo situation”: “If they were, it raises the question of whether they are actually looking for revenge for our intervention in favor of Muslim Yugoslavian refugees.” Peter Brimelow at V Dare Blog excerpts a 1999 piece with a quote from one of the 4,000 Kosovars residing there: “I feel like I’m in a paradise.”

Some bloggers doubt this arrest is a major coup. Liberal Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog anticipates right-wingers spotlighting the arrests. But, he notes, “apparently no warrantless wiretapping led to these arrests, no torture of suspects in overseas prisons, nothing liberals have objected to in the Patriot Act. Remember that when you’re told that these arrests prove that we can’t trust liberals and Democrats.” Steve Benen at the liberal  Carpetbagger Report concurs: The capture was thanks to “intelligence gathering and law-enforcement efforts — the very techniques the Bush White House has consistently ridiculed as ineffective in counterterrorism.”

Matt Johnston at Going to the Mat notes that the feds had a gun dealer as an informant: “I wonder how much of these ‘secret’ arrangements are happening. Working with gun dealers makes sense for the authorities and could be much more widespread than one might think.”

Read more about the Fort Dix plot. The Smoking Gun has the FBI affidavit.

Poor planning: Rudy Giuliani donated a total of $900 to Planned Parenthood during the 1990s, according to federal tax returns provided to the Politico by a rival campaign. Giuliani says he is personally opposed to abortion but that he believes the ultimate decision belongs to the mother.

Some bloggers predict that, coupled with Giuliani’s fumbling answer in last week’s Republican debate, this revelation could hurt. Conservative physician Cursor at The Strenuous Life is disappointed: “Previously, these statements were merely nonsensical, now they appear to be calculated deception and political posturing. So long Rudy.”

I’d be a little more concerned, if he donated to …” writes Brennan at the conservative American Pundit. “That’s enough for 2 John Edwards haircuts. This attempt at a hitjob on Giuliani, has changed nothing for me. The last donation was 8-9 years ago, the first 14 years ago. I guess I’m supposed to jump ship?”

Liberal DailyKos diarist “dmsilev” wonders who provided the documents: “I’m going to guess one of the second-tier campaigns, looking to kneecap the front-runner and pick up some of the pieces. This is also a sign that open season has begun among the GOP field. Rudy’s both the front-runner and a guy with a lot of skeletons in his closet; expect to see a lot of stories of this sort coming out over the next several months.” But Bill C. at conservative Brain Droppings doesn’t think it came from Republicans: “How do I know? Because a Republican who was caught leaking this would kill their chances. Not just kill them. They would be pariahs and there is no way any Republican could count of the press keeping this kind of secret.”

A Giuliani spokeswoman responded to the revelation: “Ultimately, this election is about leadership, and it’s a sign of leadership to stand by your position in the face of political expediency.” Isaac Chotiner at  New Republic blog The Plank doubts this is the answer voters want to hear: “Maybe this remark was a shot at Mitt Romney, but I can’t imagine that GOP primary voters like hearing stuff like this. The quote reads as if Giuliani is equating pro-life values with ‘political expediency.’ “

Read more about Rudy’s donation.

Herod’s tomb: A team of Hebrew University archeologists announced Tuesday that it has found the ancient tomb of King Herod, the man blamed for the Massacre of the Innocents during Jesus’ lifetime, according to the Gospel of Matthew. The tomb was buried in a giant hill called Herodium, eight miles south of Jerusalem.

Christian blogger Ben Witherington believes this discovery is the real deal: “Why should we believe this claim after the bogus one about the tomb of Jesus? In the first place the locale is right. The Herodium was a fortress which Herod built near Jerusalem so he would have a place to flee to in a hurry if an enemy was closing in. … There is also the fact that this claim by Netzer comports with what  Josephus tells us about the demise of Herod the not so Great.”

Another Christian blog, The Way of the Fathers, wonders what’s next for Herod: “It will be interesting to see if, in a few years, Herod’s decorations can make the grand tour, as did those of Caiphas and Pilate last year. I wonder if he ever dreamed he could spend 2011 in Cleveland.”

Seattle-based blogger ninme marvels at the place’s name: “Herodium, eh? Wonder what gave it away.”

Read more about Herod’s tomb.