Friday, August 11, 2006

In an article published today in the New York Times, Amelia Gentleman reports that U.S. government sources have issued an alert to Americans living in India of a suspected terrorist attack on or near the August 15th commemoration of India’s independence from British rule. Stay away from independence celebrations folks, and be vigilant because it looks like “foreign terrorists, possibly linked to Al Qaeda,” are on the hunt. Officials at several other embassies, including the British and German, said they knew nothing of the threat.

Answer me this. What’s Al Qaeda doing looking for Americans in India? And if they’re looking for Americans in India, why not just attack Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley and home to many important Indo-American enterprises? Okay, here’s the answer: they aren’t, mostly because Al-Qaeda can find a hell of a lot more Americans to kill in the USA and most of Europe than in India. And why make trouble for the 10% Muslim minority in India, except to mobilize them. But if mobilization is what they’re after, why wait until August 15th? Why not have used Republic Day, in January?

If you’ve read Osama’s Fatwah (check this blog about 10 postings ago for an English transcript), you will see that there’s no mention of India. Osama seems clearly bent on removing all Americans from the Saudi Peninsula as his first order of business. It’s not even clear that America would be Al-Qaeda’s main target once that happened, but there’s no way the number two target would be India; not even 22. In my opinion, these links to Al-Qaeda are really what the American government says to keep the home fires burning.

Y’know, our president went to war in Iraq, with the willing and voluntary support of the vast majority of Congress, because he wanted to, and he has tried to link that war to the war on terrorism since Day One. Even today, some 40% of Americans believe there was a link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The rest of us, including those who actually study these things, mock the 40% who don’t, but that’s because we always think we’re right anyway. In this case, we are.

Bush is simply using his embassies to let Americans overseas know that Al-Qaeda is still a force to be reckoned with. Notch up the fear index a little. He does that through Chertoff at home (careful of that Oil of Olay, Mr. TSA screener… when you shake it it explodes), but all those “news” outlets overseas compete with Bush’s biases, so the embassies have to pitch in and do their part to maintain the fear level at Orange.

Al-Qaeda should not be dismissed. They are well-organized, well-funded, and capable. Neither should they be invoked. They are small, limited in scope, and they choose their targets with discrimination. Driving a car bomb to, and detonating it in, some crowded bazaar in New Delhi, no matter how big the bomb is, is still a different thing than a year of flight school and all that followed.

Bush wants Al-Qaeda on every American’s lips, not because of 9/11, but because of the America he began to create on 9/12. We should not let him, or the flock of geese in Congress, get away with it. We need to fly where we want to, do what we want to, and never be afraid of saying to anyone we meet that our government has been hijacked by the minority. Remember, Kerry-Gore won the popular vote in 2004. If you didn’t vote for Bush, at least the second time, tell everyone you meet that he’s not your president. You may still be a target for someone, but it won’t be because of anything you have done.


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