In the wake of all the solemn ceremonies this past weekend during the 9/11 commemorations and all the chatter of a possible terrorist attack during the proceedings, the US is still full of fright for that long-armed, snake-in-the-grass called al-Qaeda.
Talking TV heads waxed eloquent on how bad the terror group — Jumping Joe Biden blubbered during ceremonies at the Pentagon the al-Qaeda attacks on 9/11 awoke the US, a “sleeping giant,” into a frenzy of war, which led Americans to follow bin Laden to hell’s gate if necessary and they got him.”
Left out of that bullshit, of course, was real-time realism.
(Illustration found here).
Also to celebrate 9/11 was al-Qaeda itself, which released a long-winded video decrying US peoples not “falling as slaves” to the control of big corporations — too late al-Zawahiri.
The title of this epic is “The Dawn of Imminent Victory.”
But for who, though?
One of the most-astute, on-the-ground reporters, Patrick Cockburn, says in a piece at Counterpunch al-Qaeda is an ‘enemy that barely exists.’
As the arch-exponent of â€œterrorismâ€, al-Qaâ€™ida is both less and more than the picture of it presented by governments, intelligence agencies, journalists and commentators.
As an organisation, it has always been small and ramshackle, but, if it appears larger, it is because it has the ability to tap into fierce local disputes.
Osama bin Laden may have wanted to launch global jihad, but the majority of those who claimed to be al-Qaâ€™ida since 9/11 have had a different and more immediate agenda.
In Iraq, al-Qaâ€™ida in Mesopotamia, the local franchisee, though never under the control of Bin Laden, was always more interested in butchering Iraqi Shia than in killing American soldiers.
The Pakistani Taliban, closely linked to al-Qaâ€™ida, still devotes part of its energies to sending suicide bombers to blow up Shia villagers and city labourers, even when it is facing offensives by the Pakistan army.
Al-Qaâ€™idaâ€™s sectarianism is fortunate for the West.
Many of the attacks attributed to al-Qaâ€™ida since 9/11 have failed because those carrying them out could not build the simplest explosive device.
Why this has happened is something of a mystery since such expertise is all too widespread in areas of al-Qaâ€™ida strength, in central Iraq, north-west Pakistan and even parts of southern Yemen.
But the knowledge is not passed on because the bombmakers in these areas fortunately remain absorbed in seeking to murder their Muslim neighbours and show limited interest in spreading mayhem to Chicago or New York.
Al-Qaâ€™ida as a global organisation has always been something of a fiction.
Bin Laden may have wanted international reach but, aside from 9/11, seldom achieved it.
His propaganda has been accepted as reality by self-interested governments and intelligence agencies with an interest in exaggerating the al-Qaâ€™ida threat to enhance their own authority.
Even the most botched and amateur bombing attempt has been portrayed as if it were the Gunpowder Plot revisited.
Al-Qaâ€™ida in the Arabian Peninsula commented derisively that it did not matter if its plots failed or succeeded, because even failures disrupted world air traffic and created chaos.
And this nothing new in recent history:
This overreaction to â€œterroristâ€ attacks is not quite inevitable.
In Northern Ireland after the start of the troubles in 1968, the Provisional IRA became expert at provoking the British Army and government into overreacting.
When a British soldier was killed, the collective punishment of a Roman Catholic district would follow and young men rushed to join the Provisionals.
It took a dozen years before the British Army realised that it was reacting as the IRA hoped it would react.
Apparently, the one big plus for Osama and his boys is the ability to judge the US dumb-ass, sledgehammer-to-kill-a-flea concept of retaliation — US Joint Chief huncho Mike Mullen blubbered it right at that Pentagon ceremony: “From this place of wrath and tears, America’s military ventured forth as the long arm and clenched fist of an angry nation at war. And we have remained at war ever since, visiting upon our enemies the vengeance they were due and providing for the American people the common defense they demand.”
Vengeful Mullen is so full of his own shit.
In fact, despite all the surge of US troops to Afghanistan two years ago, and despite President Obama’s great desire to dismantle al-Qaeda, there’s less than 100 of those guys left in that worn-torn country, that number given in December 2009 — gotta be even less by now.
Why the uproar?
Fear — but like those classic horror movies with a telephone call coming from ‘inside the house,’ the fright should be directed not overseas.
A piece at Aljazeera English sums it:
This enemy is from within, and it ain’t no “Muslim sleeper cell” either.
It is homegrown.
It is greed.
It is the Republican Party giving birth to a nightmare it calls the Tea Party.
If during the Bush era (2000-2008) the world was menaced by the neocons, the Obama era is plagued by a Tea Party that makes the neocons look like pussycats.
If the neocons were psychopaths taking their class notes from Leo Strauss’ lectures for global domination, these Tea Party sociopaths are targeting the very foundation of a civil society.
In this, one has only to look at the two GOP presidential debates.
The crowds in the first one clapped and applauded at Rick Perry’s record of putting to death a record amount of Texas people — the outburst even made Brian Williams rephrase a question.
And again last night, the audience cheered death:
At Monday nightâ€™s CNN GOP Tea Party/â€‹Republican Party presidential debate, the audience cheered, and screamed, â€œYeah!â€ when moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul if he was suggesting letting a hypothetical 30-â€‹year old uninsured man die because he couldnâ€™t afford to pay for his medical care.
Ron Paul said, â€œthatâ€™s what freedomâ€™s all about.â€
Shit like that is the way-real fright all US peoples should have right now — if any of those bat-shit crazy assholes do make it to the White House next year, America is f*cked.
Be afraid because the bogeyman is a white, old guy ready to kill without reason.