SteadyBlogging on Twitter (SteadyTweets?)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Salon's "Right Hook"

From this edition of "Right Hook":

One well-known conservative thinks that President Bush's reelection will lead to a horrific al-Qaida attack. According to the Jerusalem Post, Yossef Bodansky, the Israeli-born former director of the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare and author of "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America," says that an al-Qaida attack on the U.S. with nonconventional weapons is virtually "inevitable," and that the organization is likely "tying up the knots" for such an attack. "All of the warnings we have today indicate that a major strike -- something more horrible than anything we've seen before -- is all but inevitable," he told the Post on Sunday.

After 9/11 and the launch of the U.S. global war on terrorism, a theological debate began within the operational arm of al-Qaida, Bodansky says, over whether the mass killing of innocents using weapons of mass destruction was permissible. Former CIA analyst and bin Laden expert Michael Scheuer asserted in his book "Imperial Hubris" that bin Laden has had the Islamic world's approval to use nuclear weapons against U.S. civilians since May 2003, when a Saudi cleric condoned it in a "lucidly written" treatise citing Islamic law and rebuking U.S. transgressions against Muslims.

Bodansky argues that Bush's reelection has poured fuel on that fire.

"While bin Laden and his associates argued that by virtue of their participation in US democracy, US citizens were enabling their rulers to fight, other Islamic luminaries contended that this does not permit such massive attacks, Bodansky said. The reelection of Bush in November, he said, was viewed by bin Laden and his cohorts as a decisive answer to this deliberation, with Americans now 'choosing' to be the enemies of Islam. In bin Laden's mind-set, he said, the stage was set for a non-conventional attack. While there may still be some vestiges of debate and doubt within Islamic circles, he believes that planning for such an attack is finished. 'They got the kosher stamp from the Islamic world to use nuclear weapons,' he said."

Curiously, this analysis did not get any play in the media before the election.

Bodansky also told the Post that America is losing the war on terrorism: "In the pre-9/11 world, Bodansky said, jihadists could count on 250,000 individuals trained and willing to die, and 2.5 million–5 million people willing to help them in one way or another. He cited intelligence estimates from this summer that suggest that as many as 500,000-750,000 people are willing and trained to die, 10 million are willing to actively support them, short of killing, while another 50 million are willing to support such a movement financially."

No comments: