The Blob

Friday, April 02, 2004

Boundless hatred

NBC News unit has obtained a planning memo, written by an al Queda militant, that specifies which Americans and others to target in Iraq and worldwide. Below are excerpts from that memo. It's pretty chilling reading. But it is important to understand that we are dealing with people with an insane, unquenchable hatred of anything they do not understand. Any notion of negotiation or compromise is lost on them.

Wars are not won with bombs or bullets, but with political will. To defeat an enemy whose sole purpose is to bring darkness to the world will take a conviction and commitment equal to their all-consuming rage. Excerpts from the memo appear below. You can read a cover story on the MSNBC site here.

From an al Queda Planning Memo:

Targets Inside Cities
Targets inside the cities are considered a sort of military diplomacy. Normally, this kind of diplomacy is written with blood and decorated with body parts and the smell of guns. It carries a political meaning that relates to the nature of the faith’s struggle. The intent is to send messages to different directions. Therefore, it is very important to choose accurate targets (similar to Al-Qaeda explosions). One of the good examples is what four heroic brothers did with their successful choice of target. (Khaled Al-Saeed, Riyadh Al-Hajeri, Abdul Aziz Al-Muthem, Moslih Al-Shamrani). God bless their souls.

Faith Targets
At the beginning of any Jihad military operation, it is not advisable to target religious places unless it is used for:

Missionaries in Islamic countries, where they try to convert Moslems to Christians such as what happened in Yemen and as what is going on in Iraq as well as well as what was going on in the land of the two Holy Mosques (Saudi Arabia) where they were distributing bibles to homes. In this case hunting those people is good and we know who they are. Covert intelligence operations. Any Moslem religious scholar who cooperates with the enemy. Targeting those is glorified and makes them as symbols for God’s anger. Reverends, priests, rabbis and any religious personality that attack Islam or Moslems such as an American reverend that cursed the prophet, we hope to God that we will get his neck. Also as what Mr. Sayed Nosair did when he killed Rabbi Kahana who cursed the prophet. Any (Jewish or Christian) personality that provides financial, military, or moral support against Moslems as with what happened with the crusades in the past.

Economic Targets
The purpose of these targets is to destabilize the situation and not allow the economic recovery such as hitting oil wells and pipelines that will scare foreign companies from working there and stealing Moslem treasures. Another purpose is to have foreign investment withdrawn from local markets. Some of the benefits of those operations are the effect it has on the economic powers like the one that had happened recently in Madrid where the whole European economy was affected. Such attacks have dual economic effects on the crusaders, Jewish and renegade Islamic countries.

These are practical examples:

1. Targeting of Jewish and crusader’s investments in the Moslem lands.
2. Targeting international companies.
3. Targeting international economic consultants and experts.
4. Targeting investments coming from enemy countries using either military methods such as the blowing up of American restaurants (franchises) or using political means such as boycotts.
5. Targeting stolen natural resources from the Moslem lands such as the attack on the French oil tanker and Iraqi pipelines. The leadership should decide the selection of such economic targets because it can choose the right time.
6. Assassinating Jewish businessmen and teach lessons to those who cooperate with them, but after you warn them.

You only assassinate those who have been proven to deal with them.

Human Targets
We have to target Jews and Christians. We have to let anybody that fights God, his prophet or the believers know that we will be killing them. There should be no limits and no geographical borders. Wee have to turn the land of the infidels into hell as they have done to the land of the Moslems. Therefore, all the cells all over the world should not look to geographic borders but should try to make the infidel countries theaters of operations and get them busy with that and themselves. They have made the Moslem lands, experiment fields for their weapons and inventions, we must turn their places into hell and destruction and the sons of the Islamic nation are capable of that.

The primary targets should be Jews and Christians who have important status in the Islamic countries. The purpose is not to allow them to settle in the lands of the Moslems. Our advice is to start with unprotected soft targets and the individuals from countries that support the local renegades.

For example, In the Holy Land (Saudi Arabia), the primary target should be Americans, then the British. In Iraq, the Americans first, in Afghanistan, the Americans first, and in Algiers, the French and in Indonesia the Australians and so on.

The importance of the targets should be as follows:

1. Jews: They are at different levels. American and Israeli Jews first, the British Jews and then French Jews and so on.
2. Christians:

Their importance is as follows:

- Americans
- British
- Spanish
- Australians
- Canadians
- Italians

The Purpose for Human Targets
To stress the struggle of the faiths. Targeting Jews and Christians is a proof that it is a religious struggle. To show who the main enemy is. To get rid of the renegades and to purify the land and to use them as examples for others. To spread fear in enemy lines. This is a requirement from God as a Holy Koran says, “Verse from the Koran”. To lift the morale of the Islamic nation. To destroy the image and stature of the targeted government. America’s nose was smeared in the soil after the attacks on New York and Washington. To obstruct political projects for the infidels and the renegades. Italy decided not to send soldiers to Iraq after exploding Italians in Baghdad as well as the promise made by opponents of the Spanish Prime Minister to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq because of the Madrid explosions. Punishment for killing Moslems. God says, “Punish them in the same way they punished you.”

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Thinking the unthinkable

Over the past few weeks and months, I have read much of plans by Al Qaeda to do something horrific, an act of terror that makes September 11 but a prelude by comparison. Interviews with some Al Qaeda leaders point to plans for a decisive attack on the United States sometime near the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which would begin this year on October 16. Other stories I have read was that Al Qaeda claim to have in their possession a former Soviet briefcase atomic bomb with the potential to kill over 100,000 innocent people.

What would be the reaction if the United States ever suffered a nuclear attack, not by a country, but by a band of terrorists? What would be the appropriate response? How could the United States respond in kind, if such an unthinkable act were not committed by a country or a government?

It may be exactly what an Osama bin Laden and his comrades envision: a powerful country left powerless by asymmetric warfare. Certainly an immediate reaction would be to lash out in vengeance with our vast arsenal of nuclear weapons. They might expect that, and be willing to see a world torn apart by anger and passion. Al Qaeda has shown itself to be patient and skilled at exploiting fear, uncertainty and doubt. This is the kernel of terrorism. The vision of Osama bin Laden is to lead a pan-Islamic state that merges muslim-dominated countries across half of the globe. He is not a believer in nationalism, but a radical Islam. I have come to believe that his hatred of what he does not understand will not be satisfied until Americans and non-muslims are driven from the holy lands of the Middle East, but perhaps until all non-Muslim societies lay in ruins. His would be an empire of darkness.

Al Qaeda have learned that the results of their savage bombings in Madrid can change the course of a country's politics. If the October threat by Al Qaeda proves to be true (and I pray that it is not), an attack of this magnitude could threaten the stability of our own democratic process.

Democracy is the form of government in 65 percent of the countries of the world. It is a form of government that has given rise to nationalism and self-determination by people all over the world. But in the mind of Osama bin Laden, democracy and nationalism are threats that must be exterminated at all costs. It is not enough for a bin Laden to reclaim the holy lands of the Middle East in the name of Allah. He wants more. He wants nations to disappear and in their place, a vast pan-Islamic empire would emerge. Not just across the Middle East, but throughout Asia and around the globe. There would be no democracy, no government, but only fealty and deference to one God.

That threatens everything I believe in and everything I love. I believe in diversity and freedom of people to choose, to express themselves, to determine their destiny. The vision of Osama bin Laden is anything but. It is about surrendering all control to one man. And those who oppose his vision and will must be exterminated. That is why democracy and nationalism are so threatening to him.

The Cold War taught the leaders of United States and the former Soviet Union that in a mass exchange of nuclear weapons, nobody wins. Sadly, this is a lesson that others, including the despotic leaders of North Korea, Iran and other countries do not understand. But more chilling still is the thought of a nuclear armed Al Qaeda. Unlike nations, the terrorists of Al Qaeda would not understand the responsibility for which the possession of nuclear weapons places on those who hold them. Restraint is not part of their vocabulary.

Sadly, the Islamic world lacks a voice of opposition to the goals of Al Qaeda. If there is not outright support of bin Laden, the lack of apparent opposition from within the Arab world signals a tacit and unspoken support for their aims. That we have come to a world so polarized is a terrifying prospect.

So what can be done? Do we fight or capitulate? Do we annihilate or negotiate? I've given this a great deal of thought. You cannot negotiate with people who have no reason to negotiate. To capitulate would be to invite our demise. To unleash a torrent of nuclear weapons may not just exterminate half of the world, but all life as we know it. And what right would we have to cease millions of innocent lives in the name of revenge?

I am convinced that a logical deterrent exists. If necessary, it may be a way to strike back against a part of the world that is increasingly full of hatred against non-believers of any kind. What I will suggest may seem to be heresy or equally an unthinkable way of striking back against an enemy whose hatred knows no bounds, but here goes:

Give them exactly what they want. And let them be accountable for their choice.

That would mean leaving the Middle East behind. I'm talking about withdrawing completely from the Middle East. All traces of American influence would vanish. All trade, commerce and cultural exchanges would cease. Foreign aid would stop immediately. The West would close its schools to aspiring students from Islam. In times of disaster, they would have to depend on themselves to get back on their feet. No American would be allowed to enter that region of the world. We would disengage with the muslim world in every sense. Instead of fighting back with weapons, we would do so peacefully.

That may sound lame or naive. I beg to differ. There is an old adage admonishing people "to be careful for what you wish, because you might just get it." And that's exactly the basis of the strategy that I envision.

But we would not stop there. If the Islamic world would be freed of contact with "infidels" and their holy lands no longer desecrated by our presence, then the same should hold true for the United States. Quite simply, people of Islam would not longer be allowed the freedom to live in or even visit our country. That smacks of outright prejudice, but I mean for it to be anything but. This would be the price of giving Al Qaeda what they want.

Doing this would have tremendous costs for both sides. The loss of oil from the Arabian peninsula would be devastating to an economy that depends on it. But the loss of hard dollars flowing into countries like Saudi Arabia would be an order of magnitude more destructive to an economy that depends almost exclusively on petroleum. Countries like Pakistan depend on being a factory for much of the world, and the loss of trade in garment manufacturing might cause an already unstable economy into total collapse. Important exports of the United States such as medicines, agricultural products or technology would become unavailable. The changes would not be apparent overnight, but in the long term, the impact on a part of the world full of rage and holding a vast population would be cataclysmic.

For its part, the United States would be forced to cozy up to countries like Russia in ways we once considered unthinkable. And it would force an austerity on our economy that is hard to imagine. A change of this magnitude would hold many unpleasant surprises for our society. Loss of jobs, loss of exports, loss of contact with much of the world. But what would be worse? A nuclear winter, or a winter of disengagement with half of the world?

The mere act of disengagement would be painful. We would be asking ourselves to change our constitution to exclude a vast group of people from living in our country. Islam would have to be banned as a religion in the West. We would be asking friends, neighbors and even trusted associates to simply pack up and leave. For many of them, the US has been their only home. The howls of protest would be divisive. And to many, this idea would be heresy. But consider the equally unthinkable alternative: Armageddon. Is that any more acceptable?

Being the optimist that I am, I believe that necessity is the mother of invention. And a situation as unthinkable as this would force the United States to get really serious about sources of energy from hydrogen, tidal action, winds and the sun. Americans have always been good at adapting. It would mean that generations of Americans would suffer. But I wonder if our suffering would come close to those in the muslim world. Rather than coming to arms, giving Al Qaeda, and those who follow this path of darkness, what they are ignorantly asking for might be more destructive a vengeance than any nuclear counterstrike ever could.

This may have an insufficient effect if other countries do not join in. The strength of the strategy would be measured in the willingness of other non-Islamic countries to follow the same doctrine. As the recent revelations of a massive scandal involving the UN Food for Oil program illustrates, countries have no no alliances, only intererests. But countries that try to step into the breach created by a withdrawal from the Islamic world may only make them the new target of an unquenchable rage.

It is but one scenario, one I hope I never live to see. I know a number of people who are muslims. I do not hate them. I know them to be good people. I do not want them to suffer. But I do not want to see those I love, a country that I love, and a world that I love be torn in two by the unquenched hatred of one man's dark vision. However insidiously clever an Osama bin Laden may be, every man and woman on this earth have fundamental flaws. And by giving Osama bin Laden everything he dreams of may be the worst nightmare he could ever have. I hope that it never comes even remotely to that. But if my nightmares are an insufficient vision of a future reality, I hope that we can mete more vengeance and justice through complete disengagement than any nuclear torrent.

This may be the most controversial thing I have ever written. It is born of my worries about the future and concerns for where we, as people of this earth, are going. It is not based in a deep-seated hatred, rage or prejudice. Hatred is the last emotion I want to feel. Instead my concern is about the fate of the earth and of all its inhabitants, regardless of their religion, race, or location. Nothing that we in the West can stop a bin Laden and those like him from hating us with every fibre in their bodies. We can never understand someone so completely swept up by a vision of Islam that is a distortion of the teachings of Mohammad. We cannot understand a culture so foreign to ours any more than a bin Laden understands our way of life. With such irreconcilable views, I fear a storm is approaching in our future, one that may divide our world. In a time when we need each other more than ever, I fear that the only solution from something far worse would be to do the very opposite. It would promise only heartbreak, pain and sorrow. But the alternative, a world completely at war, a world armed with weapons of mass destruction instead of common sense, is unthinkable.

What do you think? How can an increasingly polarized world find common ground? Is it even possible? Let me know. Sadly, this is a time when we have to think of where our destinies may take us. And to save ourselves we may have to peacefully go our separate ways.