" If the media never gets around to mentioning Bojinka, I think that would be a telling sign that the media wants people to associate the plot with the war in Iraq and Israel's war with Hezbollah, when it is clear the terrorists wanted to do the same exact thing about 11 years ago."
* or watch malkin become unglued. shortermalkin: 'they're not brits, they're MUSLIMS'
It's hard to know what to make of today's airplane bomb hysteria, which is one reason I haven't written about it so far. There's so much disinformation and misinformation flying around -- which is inevitable whenever the cable guys have one of these panic attacks -- that I finally succumbed to the temptation to tune it all out.
Many of us have grown accustomed enough to the pointless politicization of color-coded alerts to be instantly skeptical. But the idea that Al Qaeda had a "big one" in the works -- and would have loved to have pulled the trigger in the middle of Israel's war on Lebanon -- certainly isn't inherently implausible. I've mentioned the possibility myself.
On the other hand, none of the previous known plots hatched by the British wing of the movement have come anywhere close to the alleged scope and sophistication of this one. To expect a bunch of idiots who literally couldn't figure out how to set their own shoes on fire to pull off the simultaneous destruction of up to 20 planes using liquid explosives is a bit of a stretch.
I'm also dubious about the claim that the plotters were following -- almost to the letter -- an 11-year old plan developed by Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to blow up a dozen or so U.S. airliners over the Pacific. Following the script for a previously exposed and foiled operation doesn't exactly seem like a global terrorism best practice. Are we dealing with professionals or amateurs here? Or is it a little bit of both, plus a healthy dose of hype from a couple of guys (Bush and Blair) who right now can use all the hype -- and raw, adrenalized fear -- they can get?
Like I said, it's a BYOP (bring your own paranoia) party. The truth behind the latest episode of the "Osama bin Laden Hour" is one of those unknown unknowns Rumsfeld talks about. Would the security apparatuses of two leading capitalist powers (including the commercial heavyweight champion of the world) really turn the global transportation system on its ear just for the sake of a temporary political advantage? And if that's really what's really going on, why isn't it October right now?
It's a pretty ironic coda to the wingnut flypaper theory -- under which we were supposed to "take the fight" to the terrorists in Iraq (and Afghanistan and Lebanon and, in time, Iran) so that we wouldn't have to fight them in the streets of New York and London
Either there are more than enough flies to go around or the flypaper has moved -- or both.
What can I say? We're stuck to our own flypaper. Which means that phony or not, today's hysteria probably is an authentic glimpse at the shape of things to come. We're going to have to get used to the idea of standing in two-hour lines at airport security and toting our carry-on items in a clear plastic bags. But these inconveniences are absurdly insignificant compared to other risks we'll face if we remain on the road we're on -- the one that leads to that clash of civilizations the uberhawks are clamoring for.