One thing – subconsciously, as we now say in polite society – goes with another. Just like the CIA and George Bush. Finally on the back foot about duff Iraqi dossiers? Can’t understand how all those pesky WMD got lost? Then here comes another babble of awful warnings, rubbishing British Airways and Air France schedules (with Continental as an afterthought) but leaving United, American and the rest magically untouched. Does Osama have a frequent flyer deal with BA? Why can’t Halliburton run airlines too?
It is all pretty desperate stuff – even by the standards of this White House and the chattering chorus of mystic messages they rely on whenever the political heat turns sweaty. Sure, Baghdad is a bit of a bust. But look what we got on those al-Qaida guys!
Preston touts a new book by Emmanuel Todd, whom he describes as “a distinguished Parisian demographer and historian”:
Al-Qaida, Todd concludes, “is a band of mentally disturbed but ingenious terrorists”. No more; no less. “It emerged from within a relatively small and circumscribed part of the planet, Saudi Arabia, even if Bin Laden recruited a few Egyptian turncoats and a handful of lost souls from the poor suburbs of western Europe.
“However, America is trying to portray al-Qaida as an omnipresent terrorist threat, as evil as it is widespread – from Bosnia to the Philippines, from Chechnya to Pakistan, from Libya to Yemen – thus legitimising any punitive action it might take anywhere at any time. This elevation of terrorism into a universal force institutionalises a permanent state of war across the globe.”
I agree, as should be clear in Onward Muslim Soldiers, that it is unlikely that all Islamic terror activity around the world can be ascribed to Al-Qaeda. But to say that these threats have been manufactured in America to legitimize military activity is just naive, or worse.
Preston goes on, quoting Todd:
We may reasonably worry about places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where such change has barely started. “But one can in no way deduce the existence of universal terrorism from the anti-American feelings of the populations of two Muslim countries, both intimately linked to America’s power structure. A large part of the Muslim world is already in the process of finding a new peaceful equilibrium.” Too much mindless jaw about jihad is tosh. . . .
Where, please, is the evidence of universal threat that underpins this all-justifying “war on terror”?
Preston concludes with a nice rhetorical jab, calling the terror threat “a weapon of mass delusion.”
That’s neat, and will be quite popular in some circles. But let’s look a little more closely. I suppose Preston believes and would have us believe that in the last few days, the CIA or some even more secretive arm of the Bush clan and Halliburton has, besides creating airline scares:
“¢ Produced this British jihadist video;
“¢ Set up some poor stiffs in Italy as Al-Qaeda operatives;
“¢ Paid off a Saudi cleric to pray before millions at the Hajj (which was filled with troops to forestall a terrorist attack): “Oh God, give victory to the mujahedeen (holy warriors) everywhere. . . . Give them victory in Palestine. Oh God, make the Muslims triumphant and destroy their enemies, and make this country and other Muslim countries safe. Oh God, inflict your wrath on the criminal Zionists”;
“¢ Staged a bomb attack on an Indonesian cafe in the name of jihad;
“¢ Ordered Norway to keep holding a Muslim leader they want to blame for terrorist attacks in Iraq;
“¢ Forced a Pakistani nuclear scientist to admit that he gave nuclear secrets to Islamic states and rogue regimes;
“¢ Planted jihadist literature in an Australian bookstore and on a radical Muslim website;
“¢ Persuaded the French to announce that they had foiled a plot by Muslim radicals in Mali;
“¢ Claimed that another member of the Al-Qaeda cell that operated in Lackawanna, New York has been caught in Yemen.
Let’s see: Britain, France, Italy, Norway, Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mali, the United States, and Yemen, all involved in various ways in news items having to do with jihadist activity since January 29. I suppose Preston would say that these are all manufactured. No doubt Mossad has a hand in it all as well.