RANGER AGAINST WAR: Hook, Line and Sinker <

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hook, Line and Sinker

New York, New York, a helluva town
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down
The people ride in a hole in the ground
New York, New York, it's a helluva town!
--New York, New York
(On the Town)

The scientist says the plane is going to crash,

the captain says it's not.

Your vote doesn't count

because you have to side with the captain

which means it's a tie

--No Highway in the Sky

When Faisel Shahzad pleaded guilty Monday to plotting to blow up Times Square, he was engaging in a bit of hyperbole ("Times Square Plotter: 'It's a War'".)

His device could not blow up Times Square; it would take a 500-pound bomb or greater to achieve that outcome. Shahzad's incendiary device would have caused limited destruction, which is of course terrorism. But it is a long shot from
"blowing up Times Square".

"Shahzad, 30, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, called himself "a Muslim solder" and said he wanted to "plead guilty and 100 times more" to all of the charges.

"A federal grand jury last week indicted Shahzad on 10 terrorism charges. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said prosecutors had not reached a plea agreement with Shahzad, who faces life in prison. A sentencing hearing will be held Oct. 5."

This case proves that U.S. federal courts can handle the legal problem of terrorism. From start to finish, this case was handled in an appropriate manner since Shahzad was apprehended, questioned, arrested and charged. The case was properly adjudicated.

The interesting part is that Shahzad himself has called his thwarted effort an act of war, which it exactly is NOT. Shahzad is not a "warrior", despite his protests that he is. But who can blame Shahzad for his warrior self-image when we as a nation have adopted the same stance?

Since 9-11-01,
our leaders and the media have been preaching that terrorism = warfare, and the American people have accepted this falsehood. Ergo, their entrance into two phony wars to fight terrorism. Terrorism is NOT warfare, and the Shahzad case shows the correct response to such crimes is a legal one.

The problem now is that a large portion of the U.S. public accepts as gospel that terrorism = warfare. As infectious disease specialist
Robert Field said in Lancet when discussing the problem of getting parents to trust vaccinations again after the autism link was discredited earlier this year, "It is very easy to scare people; it's very hard to unscare them."

Warriorhood will not save us, nor will it help our adversaries.
Anyway, what makes our warriors holy and their mission sacrosanct, while theirs are vile? With Shahzad we see the equation balancing out, as the terrorists are successfully co-opting our rhetoric to keep the war project in motion.

For about $15 K a terror group recruited, trained and deployed an operative to NYC. This operative was bumbling, inefficient and totally ineffective, BUT his message is now broadcast around the world -- free advertising via the media express. His clarion call to arms is paid for by U.S. tax dollars -- his trial cost millions of dollars, and our invasive wars have cost us trillions. Pit that against a $15 K investment.

The teaching point is that terrorists need not be successful, yet they can still create their product: terror. In so doing they assist their cause with increased funding and recruitment, and they do it on our dime.

What is interesting is that we prosecute totally inept operators and act like we are striking a serious blow against terrorism. In fact, guys like Shahzad are disposable dupes, and we fall for it, hook, line and sinker.

"John Timony, a former Miami and New York City police official, said that although Shahzad failed, police should not underestimate the risk of homegrown terrorism."
The point missed is that guys like Shahzad become radicalized because the basis of our Phony War on Terror [PWOT ©] is radical. Our actions are inconsistent, lacking legal or moral cohesion.

We preemptively and electively invade countries, capture riflemen on the battlefield, and call them terrorists. This incorrect label implies terrorists can be captured on a battlefield. In fact, terrorists do not squander their assets in military operations. This is exactly why they elect to be terrorists. The two occupations are not one and the same, though there may be ideological overlap.

Sending our Armies to fight the various factions in Iraq and Afghanistan has provided these groups with a legitimacy they do not deserve. Keeping low-level shooters in open-ended incarceration in Bagram prisons and Guantanamo conversely denies legitimacy to our efforts.

Terrorism is not a legitimate tool for either groups or nations to employ. Neither group has this right, which is a consideration that we seldom entertain.

Employing Armies to fight terrorism is like asking a prostitute to sign a pledge of abstinence. It won't happen.

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Blogger Terrible said...

Or would it be more like asking a prostitute to wash your windows, clean your toilet and do you dishes? One thing for sure fighting terrorism isn't a military function. Nor is invading foreign countries that present no military threat to the US in any way supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States or protecting our national security. Quite the opposite.

Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 7:41:00 AM GMT-5  

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