Monday, October 11


Juan Cole expands on the John Kerry "we have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance" remark that is being distorted by Dick Cheney and other Repug talking heads:

The "war on terror" of Bush-Cheney is a smokescreen for naked American imperial aggression. The sad story of how Iraq posed no threat either to the US or to any of its neighbors, despite high-decibel claims to the contrary for two years by Bush, Cheney and their acolytes, will be repeated in the case of Syria and Iran if Bush and Cheney are reelected. They hope that their project of overthrowing governments in the region will go smoothly, but they do not really care, since even an Iran and a Syria in chaos is a net gain from their point of view. Chaos creates "terror" and justifies further US involvement, aggression and control. It is inconvenient for the rest of us, but then they insist, unlike John Kerry, that we live with the nuisances they are creating.

In actual fact, al-Qaeda is just a somewhat more successful version of Baader Meinhoff. It is a small terrorist group that has been created by a particular juncture in history. It is not a reason to abolish the US Bill of Rights, as Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft are doing. It is not a reason to invade three or four countries (precisely the few countries where it does not operate!) It is a nuisance to a free society, and should be curbed.

Bush and Cheney keep shouting that Kerry doesn't understand the war on terror. They mean he doesn't want to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran. As for themselves, if the war on terror is so important to them, why are Bin Laden and Zawahiri at large? Why can al-Qaeda still strike at will? We now have the worst of both worlds, with a quagmire in Iraq and Palestine, and more quagmires planned, while al-Qaeda morphs and grows and continues to form a threat.

Anyone who lived through the sixties and seventies should remember how many terrorist gangs, including the one Cole references, Baader Meinhoff, prospered for a time and then were destroyed by law enforcement and/or faded away into obscurity. Plans for a 9/11-type terrorist attack upon the Super Bowl audience was the plot of the film Black September, and other films of the time reflected the same themes. It wasn't that terrorism was ignored or marginalized as an international problem during those years; but international cooperation between intelligence and law enforcement communities was successful at restraining it. Al Qaeda, to be sure, is larger and more powerful as a terrorist group because it has far greater backing among many indigenous populations, but if Bush had had his priorities straight and not arrogantly dismissed the recommendations of the Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security and his own counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, we could have brought the same weapons to bear upon AQ that proved so successful in earlier decades. Instead, we refocused our energies on attacking a nation that offered little resistance because they were so debilitated in their warmaking ability (SANCTIONS AND BILL CLINTON'S 1998 AIR STRIKES WORKED!) and neglected the hunt for Osama and his minions. Almost every time a terrorist has been apprehended in the past couple of years, it has proven to be a foreign nation, USING LAW ENFORCEMENT processes and techniques, that has succeeded...and they've succeeded where the U.S. has not.

UPDATE: Corrente chimes in: When the Oklahoma City bombing took place we didn't call out the 10th Mountain Division and start bombing the crap out of rural white males. We called the police, and the FBI, and had an investigation, and arrested the bombers and put them on trial. They were...what's that saying?..."brought to justice."


Post a Comment

<< Home