We've all had enough fear-mongering to last a lifetime. Indeed, we have become so frightened of terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001, that we have begun doing the terrorists' job for them by undermining the legal framework of our democracy. And truly, I wish I could dismiss Mowatt-Larssen's analysis as the work of an overwrought former CIA officer with too many years in the trenches...
Mowatt-Larssen argues that for nearly a decade before 9/11, al-Qaeda was seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. As early as 1993, Osama bin Laden offered $1.5 million to buy uranium for a nuclear device, according to testimony presented in federal court in February 2001. When the al-Qaeda leader was asked in 1998 if he had nuclear or chemical weapons, he responded: "Acquiring weapons for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty. If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God for enabling me to do so."
Even as al-Qaeda was preparing to fly its airplane bombs into buildings, the group was also trying to acquire nuclear and biological capability. In August 2001, bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, met around a campfire with Pakistani scientists from a group called Umma Tameer-E-Nau to discuss how al-Qaeda could build a nuclear device. Al-Qaeda also had an aggressive anthrax program that was discovered in December 2001 after bin Laden was driven from his safe haven in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda proclaimed a religious rationale to justify the WMD attacks it was planning. In June 2002, a Kuwaiti-born cleric named Suleiman Abu Ghaith posted a statement on the Internet that "al-Qaeda has the right to kill four million Americans" in retaliation for U.S. attacks against Muslims. And in May 2003, at the same time Saudi operatives of al-Qaeda were trying to buy three Russian nuclear bombs, a cleric named Nasir al-Fahd issued a fatwa titled, "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels." Interrogations of al-Qaeda operatives confirmed that the planning was serious. Al-Qaeda didn't yet have the materials for a WMD attack, but it wanted them.
Most chilling of all was Zawahiri's decision in March 2003 to cancel a cyanide attack in the New York subway system. He told the plotters to stand down because "we have something better in mind." What did that mean? More than four years later, we still don't know.
If we add the mad mullahs and their psychotic president to the list of Islamic fanatic groups obsessed with obtaining nuclear weapons, then any reasonable person should realize that "Islamophobia" is a manifestation of the survival instinct, and simply some irrational, non-sensical or purely emotional response to the realities of the 21st century.
Let's revisit this MEMRI Report from ‘Al-Qaeda Undercover Soldier, U.S.A’ threatening massive destruction and death in the US and other western countries unless they convert or submit to Islam:
"Despite the fact that the New York, Washington, Madrid, and London expeditions have been carried out a few years back. The search for clues on how they were conducted in such a successful manner is still going on and reports upon reports are still being written about them. However, the next expedition might not find someone who can provide analysis for. The top intellects, strategists, and analysts, will be totally clueless as to how to explain what occurred. Let me also inform you that we are talking about two operations, not one. The scale of one of them is larger than the other but both are large and significant. However, we will start with the smaller, and temporarily put the larger on hold to see how serious the Americans are about their lives. Should you value your own life and security, accept Muslims’ demands, but if you shall prefer death (over giving in to Muslims’ demands). Then, we, by the grace of Allah, are the best in bringing it (death) to your door steps.
You should read the entire MEMRI transcript. Despite it being the braggadocio of a rather depraved adolescent bully trying to pump up his pathetic ego; one cannot help but reflect that this is a bully who really really desperately wants to kill you and your loved ones. He has something to prove about his manhood, and by Allah, he intends to prove it though it be the last thing he ever does. Thus, it is wise to take him and his fellow punks seriously.
The reality of the Islamic threat to the world is incredibly sobering. And if you have any doubts about that conclusion, or are tempted to dismiss this discussion as "fearmongering", then I urge you to read this post, and then this post from archives of The Belmont Club.
The first link discusses what is called "the strategic issue of our time": Is Islam compatible with a free society. The latter evaluates three conjectures about Islam and terrorism; a discussion that remains all-too relevant today:
Conjecture 1: Terrorism has Lowered the Nuclear Threshold
These obstacles to terrorist capability are the sole reason that the War on
Terror has not yet crossed the nuclear theshold, the point at which enemies fight each other with weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist intent to destroy the United States, at whatever cost to themselves, has been a given since September 11.Their capability several years after the above was written has almost certainly improved dramatically. We know with almost complete certainty that a day is coming when we can no longer pretend that we have lots of time to stop the mullahs. Even as the international community ineptly moves toward some useless sanctions; there are too many among the world powers whose indifference will thwart any positive benefits such sanctions might have--as they did with Saddam. I would say that the Criteria to exceed Conjecture 1 have been satisfied. The threshold was lowered and terrorists either have nuclear capability or will have them imminently.
Only their capability is in doubt.
Conjecture 2: Attaining WMD's Would Destroy Islam
This fixity of malice was recognized in President Bush's West Point address in the summer of 2002, when he concluded that "deterrence -- the promise of massive retaliation against nations -- means nothing against shadowy terrorist networks with no nation or citizens to defend." The enemy was equally indifferent to inducement or threat. Neither making nice -- Jimmy Carter's withdrawal from Iran, Reagan's abandonment of Lebanon, Bush's defense of Saudi Arabia, Clinton's rescue of Albanian Muslims from Serbian genocide, the payment of billions in aid to Egypt and Pakistan -- nor the gravest of threats would alter the enemy's intent to utterly destroy and enslave America. Allah had condemned America. The Faithful only had to find the means to carry out the execution.
Because capability is the sole variable of interest in the war against terrorism, the greater the Islamic strike capability becomes, the stronger the response will be. An unrepeatable attack with a stolen WMD weapon would elicit a different response from one arising from a capability to strike on a sustained and repetitive basis.
As we see from the MEMRI article from a few short days ago quoted above; this position has continued to be promoted by Islam's radicals, who appear to speak not only for themselves, but an increasingly larger number of Muslims worldwide. You also might want to check out this map from an Islamic website; and this documentation of the bloody borders of Islam's expansion since 9/11.
I think it is fair to say that all bets will be off when Iran's nuclear capability becomes not just a threat, but a reality. I suspect that Ahmadinejad's defiant and bellicose position indicates that they already have some limited capability which they will not hesistate to use if the West tries to shut them down.
The second conjecture posits that there will be an escalating exchange of nuclear attacks that will inevitably result in the destruction of Iran and other muslim nations, possibly Pakistan or Syria; but since the threat of terrorism is transnational, the threat's full eradication of necessity will escalate beyond Iranian borders.
Does Islam care about this possibility? In the almost four years since the conjecture was written there are clear signs that some Islamic countries are concerned and risking quite a bit to prevent this scenario. But the great majority welcome it as "Allah's will" and some even have intentions of precipitating it to give credibility to their own little religious sect.
The problem is that for the seeds of democracy and freedom to break through the infertile Middle Eastern ground in which they have been planted, let alone to bloom--a hope initiated by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by the Bush Administration--we are talking in terms of decades.
Thus, time is not on our side as Al Qaeda and Iran both rush toward accomplishing their apocolypse; and as the political left in this country is more intent on bringing down Republicans and doing battle with global warming than they are are preventing a devastating clash between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism.
Conjecture 3: The "War on Terror" is the Golden Hour -- the final chance
It is supremely ironic that the survival of the Islamic world should hinge on an American victory in the War on Terror, the last chance to prevent that terrible day in which all the decisions will have already been made for us. That effort really consists of two separate aspects: a campaign to destroy the locus of militant Islam and prevent their acquisition of WMDs; and an attempt to awaken the world to the urgency of the threat.
The policies initiated by President Bush bets everything on the hope that Islam can be changed if it is infused with some democratic opportunities and freed from some of the political and religious tyranny that has dominated the Middle East. If such a democratizing process had been started--and carried through-- twenty years earlier when the threat of Islam first came into Western consciousness...well who knows how much the situation might have changed by now? But the West, in its hubris, did not take the growing threat seriously enough because they were "realists"; and even today many in the "reality-based" community still dismiss or minimize it scornfully.
Even the devastating attack within our borders that finally spurred us to mobilize our resources and fight back both militarily and strategically is fading from our collective memory. Remembering 9/11 is now considered an act of "fearmongering" for political gain; and those who want to wipe it out of historical significance have the human tendency to forget whatever is unpleasant (sometimes called psychological denial by people in my profession) working in their favor.
And, contrary to the infantile imaginings of the antiwar and so-called "peace" movements, Bush's strategy actually represents the best possible hope for peace; even if it is slight. He has pursued the strategy, despite growing unpopularity in the polls, not because it will bring political glory, but because it is the 'best' option out of a plethora of really bad options.
It is a strategy that faces the grim reality of Islamic contradictions and historical brutality; yet has enough optimism and goodwill in it to be genuinely worth the price we are paying in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it works--and I haven't entirely given up hope yet-- millions of deaths might still be prevented.
If the peace crowd really cared about peace, then they would do well to reconsider their own perverse antics; and the Democrats their knee-jerk opposition to Bush.
Because, if both the antiwar fanatics, and the Democratic Party they increasingly seem to control, succeed in their determination to undermine the war in Iraq or the war on terror in general (as opposed to working to win it) ; or, if the Islamic extremists succeed in eliminating any voices for moderation and tolerance; then there will be only one strategic option open.
Whether it is appreciated or not, these last few years have indeed been our "Golden Hour" --the short time we have to deal with the threat that is represented by the radical elements of Islam.
So much of the last four years has been wasted and frittered away by the left and their carping and undermining of Bush's strategic ploy. The continual appeasement, encouragement and cover given to those who would destroy us without mercy, has markedly diluted what we might have accomplished up to now with our aggressive pursuit of a strategy that answers the strategic question of the day with a "yes".
The 'Golden Hour' is rapidly approaching an end. As the clock ticks down to answering "no" to that fundamental strategic question; and as we creep closer and closer to the ultimate confrontation with a medieval, uncompromising and fanatically ruthless religion which intends not only to obtain nuclear weapons, but to use them; there will be no deus ex machina --and no pointless protest marches with clever placards--that will be able to save the millions of lives lost in that conflagration.
ANSWER, Code Pink, most of the Democratic Party and all the other leftist nutjobs are already preparing to blame Bush if the worse happens. Rational minds--and history, if it survives--will recognize the truth: that President Bush has chosen a strategy and done everything possible to change the course of history. That the strategy was implemented too far along in the process to be able to wholly succeed; or that the enemy is even more nimble and eager to embrace death than western sensibilities could have possibly predicted-- are painful realities that must be faced.
Sir Winston Churchill once observed, "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
We in the West need to stop flinching at the reality that faces us. David Ignatius clearly had a wake-up call as he evaluated Mowatt-Larssen's analysis of the Al Qaeda threat--and the rest of his cohorts need to have the same kind of alarm bells go off in their own heads.
Time is running out.
UPDATE: A related post of mine that answers some of the questions in the comments: "Strange Love: How They Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Iranian Bomb"