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This week, the commander of NATO, U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, let the jihad out of the bag. He told the U.S. Senate that among the Libyan rebels – you know, our guys, the ones on whose behalf we’ve fired off about $1 billion worth of ordnance at Libya – “we have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al-Qaida, Hezbollah.”

That means the U.S. military is fighting on behalf of the flickers that took down the World Trade Center in 2001 and the Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Does anyone care?

Next question: Wouldn’t we all salute if Stavridis had next told the Senate that, as a result of this heinous policy, which orders U.S. forces to participate in a mission to advance the cause of global jihad, he would be stepping down from his command in protest?

Sigh. Instead, Stavridis reassured the Senate, “We are examining very closely the content, composition, the personalities, who are the leaders of these opposition forces,” he said.

Next question: Do I feel better?

The Daily Mail picked up the story, noting: “The comments have sparked an embarrassing diplomatic spat between NATO and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, who disagreed that al-Qaida was involved in the rebel movement. ‘I would like to think I’m reading much of the same stuff and no,’ Ms. Rice told Fox News when asked whether she had seen any evidence to support Stavridis’ assessment.”

No evidence. Not even a shimmer, according to Ms. Rice. That’s funny. I’ve been reading, not intelligence reports, but regular news stories about the predilection for jihad among the people of eastern Libya, which is the seat of the rebellion, and which, according to a 2007 West Point study, sent more jihadis per capita to Iraq to fight American forces than any other region in the world. One of their military leaders, Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi, is reported to have fought for years in Afghanistan – and, to be precise, that would have been against us and for bin Laden – or so he used to brag, back a week or so ago when it wasn’t politically risky.

Now the rebs are practically media-savvy, as the Independent discovered: “‘We are not al-Qaida,’ were the first words of Khalid Arshad Ali as he dusted the triggering mechanism of an anti-aircraft artillery gun. ‘We are mujahedeen. We are here to fight for Libya and no one else. We are Muslims in this country and we are all Sunnis. We know that Gadhafi is getting paid by the Jews. We know that Israel is supplying him with special guns. He is not a proper Muslim, and it is our duty to fight him.’”

Now, I did say “practically.” But hey – what’s wrong with Uncle Sucker given a helping hand to a few self-described “mujahedeen” who can’t keep their poison for Jews from spraying all over themselves? Certainly, no one in Congress seems to mind. Maybe our representatives got the good word from U.S. ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz, whom the Wall Street Journal recently described as “point man for U.S. contacts with the rebels.” Cretz tells us the rebs are totally on top of it, that they actually caught “maybe three or four” members of an al-Qaida affiliate trying to infiltrate.

Phew. That was close. Wish we could thank them – “heckuva job, rebels” – only we don’t know who the rebels are. Asked about those “flickers” of al-Qaida and Hezbollah among rebel forces, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We do not have any specific information about specific individuals from any organization who are part of this, but of course, we’re still getting to know those who are leading the Transitional National Council. And that will be a process that continues.”

Not to worry; the president doesn’t. “So far, they’re saying the right things,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday on “CBS Evening News” when asked about Libyan opposition leaders.

And how. They even issued a “vision statement,” which, according to the Guardian, uses all the right words: “transparent,” “empowerment,” “tolerance,” “green” …

Green?

No “flickers” of jihad, but plenty of concern for the environment. Uh-huh.

Any flickers of intelligence in the minds of our leaders?

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