Aug. 16, 2005

Al Qaeda: Why Hand Them A Victory?

An article here sent to me by conservative blogger Sacto Dan.

The one overwhelming problem I have with it is that it continues to repeat the falsehood that the Spanish government was toppled out of fear of another Al Qaeda attack. Not only is this wrong, but it confers an image of power and effectiveness on a group that now has little power other than it's name and reputation. As such, by saying it was effective in toppling the Spanish government, it is being given a credibility that they do not rightly deserve, and credibility is the only thing they have left. It's this final attribute that needs to be undercut in order to deliver the coup de gras.

The danger of handing them this Spanish "victory" is that it is precisely this kind of credibility that will attract other young "jihadists" to fight under their banner, whereas if the truth of the situation was being circulated, it is much less likely.

And what that truth is, is that the government of the day, already suffering credibility problems of their own, proceeded to knowingly lie about the source of the attack, initially blaming it on their old nemesis, ETA. Unfortunately for them, the public found out that the government had learned almost immediately after the bombings had occured, that the attacks had in fact been carried out by Islamic jihadists. Yet they still decided to go ahead and lie about it to the public to score political points against their old enemy. In essence, they played "politics as usual" with a deadly serious situation. And to an already wary public, that was the final straw. As far as this government was concerned, "They're outta here", and out they went.

And so, not surprisingly as this is almost always the case, the truth is much less "glamorous" than the myth. The irony of it is that the US miltary and their right-wing pundits are the people who keep repeating this myth as a warning to others about how not to behave in the face of an attack. Naturally, bin Laden and Zawahiri are going to go along for the ride. Hell, they've been handed a victory that they never achieved yet one that will surely attract others to their side, seeing them as a more effective group than they actually have any right to take credit for.

In any case, the irony of the situation is incredible. I would be laughing if the consequences of all this weren't so tragic.



by Amir Taheri
New York Post
August 11, 2005

August 11, 2005 -- 'OH, no! Not him again!" This is how several Arab friends reacted as we watched a re-run of Ayman al-Zawahiri's latest "message" on al-Jazeera the other day in a café in Edgware Road, London's Arab quarter.

A fugitive terrorist of Egyptian origin, al-Zawahiri is often identified as al Qaeda's chief theoretician and No. 2 to its paymaster, the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden. In his message he endorsed the 7/7 attacks in London and threatened more such operations against both Britain and the United States.

The message merits attention for a number of reasons. To begin with, al-Zawahiri shows that although al Qaeda — with its leaders dead, captured or hiding in caves in remote regions — no longer exists as an organization, the ideology (or brand name) it represents is still a threat not only to several Muslim countries but also to the major Western democracies.


SactoDan said...

Thanks for crediting me with sending the article, I wish I had written it.

It may be so that the Spanish government knew it was Al Qaeda from the beginning. From here it looked like they assumed that initially based on past experience, and changed it when they figured it out.

You claim otherwise, and I do not know enough on the subject to refute, but I'll assume for a minute it is true. Can you tell me this; if the attacks had not happened, would the government have changed?

I'll venture no, so they (the terrorists) might not deserve all the credit, but they certainly deserve most of it.

In anycase, good fair debate (without profanity).

Mycos said...

Very sorry to have not gotten to this before. I'm sure I'm talking to the wind at this point, but I'll answer regardless.
Had the attack not happened, then their wiould have been no neccesity for them to have lied about who the perpetrator was, of course . So no, in that sense, the government would likely not have changed. But I suppose...if one can find a "silver lining" in a tragedy like this at all, themn it would have to be that at least the Spaniards were able to see this governments true colours before the election, no doubt an opportunity which a lot of Americans are now wishing they had. OTOH, they did vote the guy back in for a second term, knowuing pretty much what we know now anyhow. It just wasn't as well known, or at least not believed up until now. Even still, it's going to take some kind of a formal, top to bottom investigation of this administration to understand the sheer number of misdeeds. It has almost certainly been part of their strategy here in that it's hard for someone to believe that anyone could do so much--- so wrong. The criminality of these guys is just .....I'm amazed at how it's so clear to so many everywhere else in the world, and yet the very people it's happening's simply bloody amazing is all I can say.