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I don’t want to say too much about the British airplane terrorist arrests that were made today. As we all know from experience, the initial reports often get a lot wrong, and we don’t hear the real story till some days later. In addition, when it comes to terrorism, we know that politcians and law enforcement like to spin and sensationalize the stories to make themselves look good. The details look significantly less lurid on Day Three, when it turns out that the Apocalyptic Plot to Destroy America was actually a Drunken Plan to Paint “USA Drinks Peepee” On the Side of a Bridge.
On the flip side, of course, maybe the general outline we’ve heard today is largely accurate: Muslim terrorists, 12 British planes, liquid explosives, backers in Pakistan. I’ll tentatively accept that for the moment.
As would be expected, the Republicans (plus Republican Jr. Joey Lieberman) are using this foiled terror plot to bash the Democrats and support all of our favorite bloody/illegal White House policies. Y’know, the fact that British and Pakistani intelligence were able to capture some would-be terrorists in the UK is obvious proof that the US must continue its occupation of Iraq. I’m not one to defend Democrats, but the conservative rhetoric that’s pumping out today is just bullshit, out and out lies. Dick Cheney made an unusual press conference by phone just to say that Joe Lieberman is great, and that Democrats are spineless and will let Koran-o-fascists set up a theocracy in your daughter’s bedroom.
Well, specifically, he said this:
When we see the Democratic Party reject [Joe Lieberman] … it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that’s becoming the dominant view of the Democratic Party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home…
That’s more offensive that just setting up a strawman, it’s a fucking lie. Seriously, can he name one Democrat who is saying that if America stops the war in Iraq that it will be safe from terrorism? Of course he can’t, cuz he made that shit up. Nobody thinks that. The true anti-war position is more like “we’re not defeating terrorism, we’re not helping the Iraqis, and hundreds of Americans are dying. Let’s get the hell out of there.”
Lieberman got into the act as well:
“I’m worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don’t appreciate the seriousness of the threat to American security and the evil of the enemy that faces us — more evil or as evil as Nazism and probably more dangerous than the Soviet communists we fought during the long Cold War… If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them and they will strike again.'’
(Ned Lamont is, of course, the guy who just beat out Lieberman in a primary election)
I’ve always loved that logic, “we can’t do that, it’s what the terrorists want!” Indeed. Osama bin Laden is carefully watching C-SPAN, holding off on his next plan to drive the American Crusader from the Holy Land until he sees the exit polls from New Haven. Anyone with a bit of smarts knows that the Iraq war has been like a three-year orgy to bin Laden. For a decade, he’d been zealously preaching to the Muslim world that the US was out to destroy Islam, and was ignored. After the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, many Muslims finally started convincing many that he had a point.
Frankly, militant Islamists are sort of in a win-win situation here: if the US stays in Iraq, they can use it to recruit Muslims to their cause; if the US leaves, they can claim the departure as a victory and use that to recruit.
(Whaddya think, did Lieberman lose the vote because he’s an asshole, because he’s pro-war, or because he has the charisma of a piece of wet cheese?)
White House press secretary Tony “I Used to Work for Fox News” Snow gave a long monologue claiming that the victory of Ned Lamont represents “a white flag in the war on terror” from the Democratic party.
And of course, our president had to chime in as well:
“A stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation… It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America.”
They don’t hate freedom, jackass. They very clearly seem to think that the US (and Israel) are out to destroy Islam, and they think they are defending themselves. We’re not out to destroy Islam, of course, but if we happen to cause it irreparable damage while trying to suck up the oil underneath it, we’re not going to shed too many tears (or even notice that we’ve done so). They are misinterpretting the situation, but let’s be honest, it’s not a particularly crazy way to interpret America’s actions.
Let me remind everyone that until the US invaded, Iraq had nothing to do with the war on terrorism. Iraq was a secular dicatatorship which had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or 9/11. Until after the invasion, of course. That’s part of what makes this rhetoric so infuriating. I feel like Lewis Black. “There weren’t any terrorists there, you assholes!! We told you not to go there, but you went there anyway!! And now that you’ve turned the country into a terrorist summer camp, you’re saying we’ve got to stay there to fight the terrorists that weren’t there before we arrived!!
What’s even crazier, is that the story we’re hearing about today’s UK terrorist arrests are actually evdience against US policy. I’ve been saying since 9/12 that Al Qaeda is an international criminal syndicate, and should be treated as such. The US needs to do some serious cloak & dagger, undercover cop shit to find out who they are and how they operate, so that they can be shut down. They’re kind of like the mafia. You aren’t going to shut down the mafia by bombing New Jersey or Sicily.
From the look of this case, British intelligence got a tip from an informer, and then put the suspects under all sorts of surveillance. The Brits didn’t bomb the neighborhood, they didn’t wiretap all of the UK, they just spied on the guys who might actually be plotting something. Anyone who tries to tell you that successful UK policework means that 130,000 American soldiers have to sit in the desert shooting at Iraqis thinks you’re an idiot.