Thursday, March 04, 2010

knocking at the wrong door

The War on Terror is over.

Either that, or al Qaeda has decided to start marketing party tapes.

Either of those options are possible based on a Washington Times story: "Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico."

I won't quote the entire story.  You would be rolling on the floor -- instead of reading this post.  I do have some priorities.  Respect for my readers knows no bounds.

But here is the summary.   American counterterrorist officails (what we once called intelligence agents) discovered an al Qaeda recruiting tape -- while it was being televised on an Arab station.  The recruiter bragged about slipping a biological weapon into the United States from Mexico -- through a tunnel.  He also talked about making common cause with white supremacist groups in the United States.

Before you roll your eyes too far, intelligence sources have declared the tape to be "authentic."  I think that means that the source of the tape is considered to be al Qaeda, and not that the recruiter is anything but stark raving mad.

The tape is a hoot.  Here is the recruiter raw and (mostly) uncut:
Four pounds of anthrax -- in a suitcase this big -- carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there. * * * One person, with the courage to carry 4 pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this 'confetti' all over them, and then we'll do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real celebration.

Scary?  You bet.  Until you start thinking through the elements of this little rant.  The threat simply does not hold together -- at least not as it is played out on the recruitment floor.

Tunnels?  Who needs a stinkin' tunnel?  They have been an on-going problem for the decade the Great Wall of Shame started going up.  If a barrier gets in front of a determined person, he will go under, over, or around it.

There were some attempts to tunnel under the fence when it was first constructed.  And they were shut down years ago.

But most people decided to simply go around.  Doesn't al Qaeda watch movies?  Say, like Men in Black?

The Sonora desert is not Gaza -- despite some topographical similarities.

Of course, with a small package, there is no need to go around anything.  It could merely accompany a happy family in a soda cooler returning from holiday in Ensenada -- or Toronto.

And who drives the family van?  Hardly a white supremacist with swastika tattoos and a "Mein Kampfer van" bumper sticker.

Imagining a white supremacist and an al Qaeda operative sitting down together to hatch this little caper is as unbelievable as Joe Biden and Doris Kearns Goodwin setting up an Original Writing Ethics Foundation. 

Someone must have been wearing his headdress too tight on filming day.

But the anthrax is a nice touch.  The stuff is downright nasty -- if disbursed properly.

Nothing panics the American psyche like diseases.  Just think of the irrational reactions to last year's swine flu.  Against all facts to the contrary, Americans were convinced that we were all going to die, not with a bang, but a snort.

And that is why, silly as the idea sounds, people are treating it with a degree of seriousness. 

What amazes me is the Mexico element.  None of the 9-11 terrorists slipped into the United States through Mexico.  And, even with the added element of smuggling a 4-pound package into the United States, Mexico offers no greater advantage than any other border, airport, or dock.

The borders of the United States are porous because its citizens travel as free people, and an incredible amount goods pass through its ports.  Trying to stop the elements of terror will always be a sucker's game (the performance art of airport security is a perfect example).  The trick to ending terror is to detect it at the source and, then, to neutralize the terrorists.

I find the tape baffling.  My first reaction was that the allies had managed to bump off all of the smart people in al Qaeda.

But I suspect the tape is simply a ramble session to build up the morale of new recruits.  Undoubtedly, someone with a bit more cunning is planning the next round of terror for the West

I just hope that someone on our side, with just a bit more cunning, is one step ahead.


calypso said...

If they kill 300,000 plus citizens of any country - that will be the end of them. The retribution will know no boundaries. This would enact a war to end all wars I believe.

Sad to think that there are humans that think this way.

Anonymous said...

"Mein Kampfer van"? Now you are punning in German? But I liked it.