Are we more secure now?

August 13, 2006

According to most Democrats we apparently are not more safe. The proof they give is that these terrorists were within a few days of bombing these planes. Of course it doesn’t seem politic for the Republicans to argue and say that it really wasn’t that close. The picture presented is of a terrorist cell which is found out and busted within a few days just in the ‘tada’ nick of time. The reality is far different. Pretty soon after the London train bombings the police got a tip from a Muslim (reason #538 why this shouldn’t become a war on Islam) who wanted to save lives. The intelligence in Britain knew about this plot for a long time and tried to get more connections. The chances for this plan to suceed were at zero for a whole year. They decided that they had got as much of the group of conspirators as possible. To put it in another way, if they had tried this plan a month earlier they still would have failed. This strikes me as an intelligence sucess rather than a failure. It also demonstrates that terror can only be stopped by proactive action. Any terrorist can kill around ten people if we just wait for them to attack. Killing the money and the leaders swiftly and efficiently is the only way we can win.

The New York Times would no doubt disapprove about the surveillance which caught the plot, but it seems that they have lied about far more than the President about the U.S. wiretapping as Captain’s Quarters reports. It seems that they were ready to run this story right before the election as 2004’s DUI story. However, the New York Times wasn’t stupid enough to think that this wouldn’t help Bush at the polls tremendously.

As to the issue of security I would say that the answer is a definitive yes. Their hasn’t been a major attack on American soil since 9/11 and the terrorists are caught in a killing field in Iraq.

Is the SDS now mainstream for the Democrat Party?

August 11, 2006

Tom Hayden in a Huffington Post article has a  lot to say about the ’06 elections. The Huffington Post bio of him remarkably ignores his role in the radical SDS.
We already know this: The public and the press were in the dark, but Vice President Cheney already knew British agents were arresting Muslim suspects in the trans-Atlantic bombing case when he attacked Ned Lamont and the Democratic Party for encouraging “al-Qaeda types.”
    When you make this accusation you are suggesting that  had the press and public known about this fact they would have been less inclined to believe Cheney’s statement. In fact this knowledge makes Cheney’s statement far more believable.
The US war in Iraq is a failure in the eyes of most Americans. The US-backed Israeli bombing of Lebanon has revived the discredited neo-conservative argument to carry the war to Middle Eastern terrorists.
No, the attempted bombing has revived the argument of taking the battle to the terrorists. Let’s face it, if we sit back and react to the terrorists we’ll lose this war and be killed, if we try for understanding we’ll be back atthe start except with a few thousand dead and a few more years of terrorist planning in the books. Also saying that Israel should be more careful in bombing Lebanon isn’t ridiculous, just wrong. Saying Israel shouldn’t bomb Lebanon at all is suicidal. Should Israel wait till Hezbullah sends a full scale army at them before engaging Hezbullah. Why shouldn’t Israel exploit their military advantage as Hezbullah is exploiting its advantage of a lack of morality (or rather a morality which doesn’t care about civillian casualties).
This is about the November 2006 election, Armageddon for Republicans who fear losing their monopolistic grip on the Congress, and about the 2008 election which will be a referendum on what the neo-conservatives have wrought. This is about the fate of the planet for this generation.
No, this is about terrorists who want to kill us. I think very few Republicans consider the elections Armageddon and by 2008 odds are that the Iraq war will not be the major issue. As an aside doesn’t calling the Republican control of Congress monopolistic seems a bit hyperbolic. There’s a fair market for both parties and the Republicans are winning now, hardly monopolistic.

Who has a plan?
Indeed who does have a plan for this war? It doesn’t seem that he has one besides leaving immediately.

The issue of Iraq is “ripe” for an anti-war majority at the polls. The “war on terrorism” is a different matter, which is why Republicans want to shift the public focus from the debacle in Iraq to the latest terrorist threat.Peace advocates don’t have a consensus on what to say. We need to win on the issue that is ripe, which is Iraq, while not being trumped by other issues which are still ripening. The case against Iraq must make sense to the broadest majority of Americans, and be bullet-proof against Republican and talk show fusillades.
His basic point here seems to be that the anti-war activists should lie about their ideas in general in order to get an electoral advantage. It seems to me that someone doesn’t believe in his convictions or in speaking truth to power. (Considering his view of the general populace I guess his motto would be ‘Lying to weakness’)

But what should be said on terrrorism? That we need a change from Bush policies that have not made Americans safer after 9/11? That Bush has talked about “taking the fight to the terrorists” but they already were in Britain, Canada, and almost in the air over the Atlantic while 140,000 Americans were sweating in Iraq? That Bush’s slaughterhouse in Baghdad, Bush’s arming of the Israelis with cluster bombs, and Bush’s unilateralism have incited more anti-American hatred than ever before?
     I’m taking it that by talking about the fact the terrorists are already here Mr. Hayden isn’t endorsing Michael Savage’s idea of interning all Muslims until Michael Savage decides that we can let them out. Also the fact that a terrorist plot failed  does not mean that we are not a safe place. Exactly how would Hayden prevent terrorism. Not through military action as he has made amply clear, and not through surveillance, I’m assuming, considering I haven’t heard him take a high-profile stand against the New York Times. Maybe he thinks we should buy the terrorists a Coca Cola and hope that they spend the next hundred years wiping out every Jew in Israel while we tie down their hands and feet and bring out the wheelbarrows to the sea. Then after we give them Israel and the terror doesn’t stop we can hand over the Vatican. Then we could give them Spain. Of course we’ll have to convert to Islam but that isn’t so bad really because these people are not bad, we’re bad. After all who’s great to the nth degree grand father did the Crusades, huh. Who killed the Jews in the Holacaust, who massacred the Armenians, oh never mind about that last one that was just an accident on their part.

That Bush’s budget-cutting, tax-cutting philosophy has left us stripped of resources to protect our ports, airports, nuclear plants, and other exposed facilities? That Bush’s oil policies are destablizing the planet, the economy and the atmosphere itself?
Let me tell ypu that this is one of the first times I’ve heard Bush accused seriously of being a budget-cutter. Also Hayden presents his plan for defense against terrorism. To quote an idealogical compatriot of his, Neville Chamberlain,
” Before giving a verdict upon this arrangement, we should do well to avoid describing it as a personal or a national triumph for anyone. The real triumph is that it has shown that representatives of four great Powers can find it possible to agree on a way of carrying out a difficult and delicate operation by discussion instead of by force of arms, and thereby they have averted a catastrophe which would have ended civilisation as we have known it. The relief that our escape from this great peril of war has, I think, everywhere been mingled in this country with a profound feeling of sympathy.”
We can’t as a radio caller suggested, “pull our troops out and build a 20 foot wall around the country. I agree that Bush’s economic policy has destabilized our economy. For example the European economy is tremendously stable almost exactly matching inflation while our economy is very unstable at approximately 4% instabilility a year.

Those are just suggestions. We cannot simply say “withdraw troops from Iraq”, though of course we should say that too. To the Democratic Party, I say keep the peace and justice movement in mind. Don’t sound like flip-flopping echos of the Republicans on terrorism and Lebanon. If you are going to take the fight to the Republicans, you can’t sound like Republicans lite.
So his political advice is to ignore everything but the Iraq War but to go for broke on that one issue. There is just one problem with his proposal. If by some chance things start going right in Iraq the Democratic Party has completely messed up their election chances and it could be 1972 all over again instead of 1974.

Why Airplanes?

August 10, 2006

Police in Britain uncovered a major plot to blow up several airplanes in midair with chemicals which combine to be powerful explosives. The terrorists planned to take flights to the U.S. from Heathrow and blow up 6 or 7 planes. It’s hard to understand why the terrorists try so hard to target planes. 9/11 made sense there was no way to kill so many people without using planes as missiles. Also the airports were relatively safe targets, and the passengers were trained to obey the hijackers. But blowing up planes seems peculiarly inefficient. An attack on a movie theatre or Broadway would be relatively easy to commit and would require only a few terrorists with sub-machine guns. Here are the possibilities that I can think of for targeting planes.

  • The terrorists wanted to send a message to America and Britain, namely that no matter how much you try to stop us we’ll get through your security screening. The major problem with that reason is that if you’re going to wait 5 years for your next major terror attack you want to have a large chance of a major success.
  • The terrorists felt that once they got on the planes they’d be certain of success while shooting people up has risks to the very end.
  • Most jihadists have a strong suicidal streak running through them. Therefore, a key component of their plan may be to kill themselves at the same time as their victims.
  • The terrorists are rather desperate to get the U.S. out of Iraq quickly and therefore they wanted to make an attack specifically on those two countries.
  • The terrorists who planned this attack were not the highest level terrorists. These people wanted to do an attack which felt like them as terrorism rather than the common murder of shooting up a mall.

As an aside this story demonstrates the importance of wiretaps and intelligence surveillance. The fact is that no security check would have got them if they had made it undetected up until then. How many security guards could be trained to recognize certain chemicals in their liquid form.