09 July 2008
Turkey with al-Qaeda Dressing
Some people are quick to blame al-Qaeda for the gunfight outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in which three cops and three "terrorists" were killed. I'm not sure if the U.S. government, or at least the Republicans, would want to spin it this way, because it seems small-time for bin Laden's group. We're often told that al-Qaeda is only interested in spectacular terrorism, something to equal or preferably top the attack on the World Trade Center. If you believe that that's what they want to do, you're perhaps more likely to believe the Republican claim that their policies have thwarted new attacks. But if al-Qaeda is willing to do small scale stuff like this stunt in Istanbul (and it's far from clear that it was al-Qaeda) then Americans should ask themselves how likely it is that the government could prevent every such scheme when it can't prevent all those school shootings. The less likely it seems that the government could stop every single small-scale plot, the more likely it is that al-Qaeda simply has no one in this country willing to risk their necks on this sort of attack, or no one in the country, period. You should ask yourselves anyway why there hasn't been one single self-styled jihadi attack in America on this probably unpreventable scale. You'll have to conclude either that the Bush administration is omniscient and supremely efficient, or that all Bush's police-state measures are unjustified by the scale of the actual threat. Figure that one out for yourself.