1. Why Do They Fight?

    Glenn Greenwald posted on Twitter tweeted a link to a 2001 Washington Post online chat hosted by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, in which he explains the meaning and customs of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

    This is interesting because Anwar al-Awlaki is now being called the leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen, and the Obama Administration has authorized drone attacks to kill him.  He is also an  American citizen. 

    There are some very troubling legal issues with the actions being carried out against al-Awlaki, and Greenwald documents those regularly. 

    But I find it fascinating to think that in November 2001, after we had invaded Afghanistan, a Muslim imam with dissenting views felt comfortable hosting an online chat for one of the most well-known newspapers in the country.  (He even cites his opposition to our Afghanistan invasion in the chat.)  Then, ten years later, he has become so radicalized as to become the most wanted man on the Arabian Peninsula.  

    You have to wonder what his path to radicalization was during those ten years.  Surely there are some personality issues, delusions of grandeur and whatnot, that are at play.  But external events, such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the jingoistic turn of public discourse here in America, probably played a role as well.  Then, it’s interesting to think about how many other people followed that same path, that we don’t know about it.