All Al Qaedas Are Not Equal

The Los Angeles Times defines its terms

The Los Angeles Times has a good story today about how U.S. forces in Iraq are shifting their attention away from combating Shiite militias and towards the Sunni group, Al Qaeda in Iraq. They reason that this bunch of mostly foreign terrorists are the ones most likely to make trouble following an American withdrawal.

I like when terms are clearly defined, especially when they are potentially misleading. As we’ve learned in the past few years, to claim to be part of “Al Qaeda” doesn’t necessarily mean you are receiving marching orders from Osama. But this is a fact easily forgotten. So it was good to see that the Times made sure we kept this in mind, adding this sentence to the bottom of the article’s sixth paragraph: “Despite its name, the extent of the group’s links to Osama bin Laden is unclear.”

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Gal Beckerman is a former staff writer at CJR.