Cole Discontent

The Obama administration has once again managed to outrage both the right and (at least one blogger on the) left, this time by deciding not to prosecute the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. Hot Air says the administration is playing politics and, “to please the left,” wants to start trying detainees in civilian courts before they convict any more in the military tribunal system. Jennifer Rubin and Andy McCarthy concur. At the Weekly Standard, Thomas Jocelyn calls the delay “fishy” and wonders why it’s taken nearly a decade to put Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri on trial. Liberal blogger Marcy Wheeler highlights the apparent contradiction between the administration’s decision to try Omar Khadr—a minor when he was detained and “arguably acting in self-defense”—but hold off in the much-higher-profile Cole case.

Amil Khan (who some of you may know as Londonstani) says that the flooding in Pakistan has made it clear that “the country’s eventual salvation” lies in the generation of Pakistanis in their 20s and 30s, who have rallied to join relief efforts. Terrorism expert Farhana Qazi writes that, although they may try to capitalize on the moment, militant groups really cannot compete with what the United States and Western humanitarian organizations can offer. She says the problem—as illustrated in the aftermath of 2005’s Kashmir Valley earthquake—is whether or not Islamabad can follow up. Of course, on the other hand, extremists do pose a very real danger. Juan Cole reports that the Taliban are now “threatening to attack foreign aid workers trying to help the victims.” And David Rothkopf notes the long-term problems that will exist even when the deluge subsides, including future flooding in some parts of the country and water scarcity in others, as well as competition between Pakistan and India over Indus River Valley. He tells President Obama to “make his trip to India count” in the fall by developing solutions to problems that plague both South Asian states.