As I was watching the Beeb, it dawned on me (slowly. I was still on my first cup of coffee) that other nations were paying an awfully heavy price fighting our "global war on terrorism".
Last July, London suffered it's worst military attack since World War II. Today, we hear about a massive plot to down at least nine airliners in succession (three at a time was the rumour), killing at least 5,000 people.
Refresh my memory: was England ever targeted specifically by Al-Qaeda or any other terror organization beyond the IRA? Was not Osama bin Laden...you remember him, the tall skinny Saudi that keep taunting President Bush because, five years after September 11, he's still free to roam?...specifically angry at the United States? Were not all his attacks prior to and including September 11 against American interests?
So, by starting a war in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or terror against the West in general-- Saddam Hussein boasted about paying Palestinian families a bounty for suicide bombings IN ISRAEL-- and dragging Tony Blair into it, we exposed our best friend and ally in the world to grave danger, one that despite their vaunted Ring Of Iron around London, they've had to scramble to stay ahead of, failing at least once.
Even Iraqis are paying the price for our clumsy execution of this battle. Civilians who probably never held a grudge against us, only seeing us as salvation from Saddam, could not possibly imagine the price they would have to pay for this "freedom" we've given them. I'd bet, in a heartbeat, many of them would scrub the purple off their thumbs for the chance to live in peace.
Too, Israel fights a war for us, one against Iran and Syria, in Lebanon, one that Bush, realizing he's strained American credibility to its absolute limits with his asinine actions in Iraq, is too chicken to fight with Americans. The war in Lebanon continues unabated, only delayed slightly as Israel drums up even more forces to fight for America's freedom from fear.
We're supposed to be the world's remaining superpower, for the moment at any rate, yet we act like Dr. Evil,
plotting and planning failed policy behind the scenes while our minions stumble and fumble their way to abject failure, gaining temporary victories while losing the overall battle because their methods (and ours) are outmoded, outdated and outfoxed.
Cheers to England for clamping this plot down in the nick of time. Literally, it appears. Boos to America from dragging them into our fight.
By the by, everyone is convinced this was to be some sort of explosive. I'm not:
U.S. intelligence got its first inkling of the plot from the contents of a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia early in 2003. It contained plans for a gas-dispersal system dubbed "the mubtakkar" (Arabic for inventive). Fearing that al-Qaeda's engineers had achieved the holy grail of terror R&D — a device to effectively distribute hydrogen-cyanide gas, which is deadly when inhaled — the CIA immediately set about building a prototype based on the captured design, which comprised two separate chambers for sodium cyanide and a stable source of hydrogen, such as hydrochloric acid. A seal between the two could be broken by a remote trigger, producing the gas for dispersal. The prototype confirmed their worst fears: "In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot — and then kill everyone in the store."
The device was shown to President Bush and Vice President Cheney the following morning, prompting the President to order that alerts be sent through all levels of the U.S. government. Easily constructed and concealed, the device ensured that mass casualties would be inevitable if it could be triggered in any enclosed public space.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky