Archive for car bombing

U.S. avenges Times Square bombing by killing more Pakistani civilians

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by loonwatch
U.S. predator droneU.S. predator drone

Some days ago, a man of Pakistani descent by the name of Faisal Shahzad tried to detonate a bomb in Times Square.  Shahzad was arrested, and confessed to the crime, saying that he did it in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks against Pakistan.  These U.S. led drone attacks are illegal under international law and constitute an act of war against Pakistan.  In fact, they have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians and have created widespread anti-American sentiment in the country.

I analyzed the Times Square bombing here, and explained how the only way to truly stop the recruitment of terrorists against the U.S. is for us to stop bombing them over there.  Unfortunately, the U.S. government decided to take another route…

Shahzad’s plot failed.  Nobody was hurt; nobody was killed.  But the United States decided to react in an Israeli manner, and sought to avenge the zero dead by dropping more bombs on Pakistani heads, killing civilians in the process.  There’s nothing bombs can’t solve, right?  Sounds like we’ve taken a page out of the terrorists’ playbook.

Here is BBC News’ heavily biased report:

US drone ‘kills 24 suspected militants’ in Pakistan

At least six unmanned drone aircraft, believed to be operated by the CIA, were in the air when the missile strikes took place early on Tuesday, a local official told the BBC.

In the first attack, they fired at least 11 missiles – two hit a vehicle, killing four, while nine landed on a compound located in a ravine, he said…

Some days ago, a drone strike on a compound in the same area killed five people and injured four.

The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan’s government since linking a failed car bombing in New York to the Pakistani Taliban.

Drone attacks have focused on North and South Waziristan, where US officials believe many al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters find shelter.

Pakistan publicly criticises drone attacks, saying they fuel support for militants…

It is not known how many civilians have also been killed.

Is it not interesting that we know exactly how many militants died–twenty-four (not twenty or twenty-five)–but are somehow dumbstruck when it comes to how many civilians have been killed?  Why can’t we report at least a roundabout number of how many civilians were killed?

By leaving out a number, the government and the mainstream media attempt to dehumanize the victims; they are a faceless, even numberless lot…not worthy of more than one line dug deep in the text of the article. Had civilians died in the Times Square bombing, the mainstream media would tell us their names, their life stories, and the families they left behind.  Meanwhile, the victims of the U.S. drone attacks not only don’t get faces, they don’t even get numbers. This is truly a Herculean achievement!  It used to be that they would be reported as faceless numbers; now they are both faceless and numberless.  Effectively, it’s as if they never existed, effaced from the pages of time.

It may interest you to know that–as a matter of policy–the United States does not count how many civilians have been killed by the U.S. military–neither in Pakistan, Afghanistan, or Iraq.  General Tommy Franks declared: “We don’t do body counts.”  That’s strange.  If you invaded these countries to liberate its people, wouldn’t you want to know how many of them you have killed, so you can evaluate whether or not your “liberation” is really benefiting them?

If we use previous estimates, at least one-third of those killed in these recent drone attacks were civilians, meaning at least eight people.  Can you imagine the rage in American eyes if the Times Square bomber had successfully killed eight New Yorkers?  We’d have bombed Pakistan “back to the Stone Ages.”  But when our drones slaughter Pakistani civilians in these illegal drone attacks, we somehow expect the Pakistanis to thank us for it.  And by the way, eight is based on conservativeestimates.  According to Pakistani sources, the number of civilians killed by U.S. drones far outnumbers the number of militants.

We must stop this back-and-forth, this tit-for-tat.  We can’t retaliate by killing civilians.  We simply can’t, not only if we want to stop the recruitment of terrorists, but also if we want to live up to the very ideals that this country was founded upon.

Most importantly, the question is: how many drone attacks on militants and civilians alike will quench our thirst for blood, our desire for revenge?

 

Muslim alerted police to Times Square bombing

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by loonwatch

girlflag

(cross-posted from ThinkProgress.org)

The chief suspect in the case of the failed Times Square car bombing is Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, who has confessed to the plot. Much of the media has latched onto Shahzad’s Muslim faith and his Pakistani identity, making inflammatory remarks and suggestions about Muslims and Pakistanis:

– CNN contributor and Redstate.com blogger Erick Erickson complained that the words “muslim” and “Islam” are “not mentioned” enough in stories about Shahzad. He wrote, “It really is pathetic that you’re more likely to see the words “racist” and “Republican” together in the newspaper these days than “terrorism” and “Islam.” [5/4/2010]

– Hate radio host Neal Boortz tweeted, “OMG! The Times Square Bomber is a Muslim! Shocker! Who would have believed it?” [5/4/2010]

– The cover of today’s Washington Post-published Express features a black-and-white photo of Shahzad with the sensationalist headline “MADE IN PAKISTAN”[5/5/2010]

Yet one fact being ignored in the American media’s sensationalist narrative about the failed bombing is that the man who was responsible for police finding the bomb was Muslim. The UK’s Times Online reports that Aliou Niasse, a Senagalese Muslim immigrant who works as a photograph vendor on Times Square, was the first to bring the smoking car to the police’s attention:

Aliou Niasse, a street vendor selling framed photographs of New York, said that he was the first to spot the car containing the bomb, which pulled up right in front of his cart on the corner of 45th street and Broadway next to the Marriott hotel.

“I didn’t see the car pull up or notice the driver because I was busy with customers. But when I looked up I saw that smoke appeared to be coming from the car. This would have been around 6.30pm.”

I thought I should call 911, but my English is not very good and I had no credit left on my phone, so I walked over to Lance, who has the T-shirt stall next to mine, and told him. He said we shouldn’t call 911. Immediately he alerted a police officer near by,” said Mr Niasse, who is originally from Senegal and who has been a vendor in Times Square for about eight years.

As the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights notes, “South Asian, and Muslim communities may yield useful information to those fighting terrorism. Arabs and Arab Americans also offer the government an important source of Arabic speakers and translators. The singling out of Arabs, South Asians, Muslims, and Sikhs for investigation regardless of whether any credible evidence links them to terrorism will simply alienate these individuals and compromise the anti-terrorism effort.”

Reflecting on Niasse’s good samaritanism Muslim-American author Sumbul Ali-Karamali writes, “It’s somewhat consoling to know that the man who first noticed the smoking Nissan Pathfinder and sought help is also Muslim, a Senegalese immigrant. … I grew up Muslim in this country, with Muslim friends and non-Muslim friends, and there was very little difference between the two groups.We were all American.”

 

Times Square bombing in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks, No connection to Islam

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by loonwatch
The U.S.'s drones attack Pakistan; The Taliban sent their own drone to Times SquareThe U.S.’s drones attack Pakistan; The Taliban sent their own drone to Times Square

The evidence that the Times Square bombing was in retaliation for illegal U.S. predator drone attacks–and not because “they hate our freedoms” or because of some silly South Park affair–is very strong.

Hakimullah Mahsud, chief of the Pakistani Taliban (the same group that claimed responsibility for the failed Times Square bombing), had long ago promised to retaliate against the United States for the drone attacks; The Daily Mail reads:

Meanwhile the Pakistan Taliban’s new leader [Hakimullah Mahsud] has met with reporters for the first time since winning control of the militants and has vowed to retaliate against the U.S. and Pakistan for drone attacks along the Afghan border…

Mehsud said his group would avenge the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and strike back at Pakistan and the U.S. for the increasing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

Unmanned drones have carried out more than 70 missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan over the last year in a covert program, killing several top militant commanders along with sympathisers and civilians.

I discussed the drone attacks in a previous article, but I’ll reproduce the most salient part below:

U.S. drone attacks on Pakistani soil have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians.  According to Pakistani sources, upwards of 687 Pakistani civilians have died at the hands of U.S. drone attacks.  CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen placed the number a bit lower:

Since 2006, our analysis indicates, 83 U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan have killed between 760 and 1,050 people. Among them were about 20 leaders of al Qaeda, the Taliban and allied groups, all of whom have been killed since January 2008…The real total of civilian deaths since 2006 appears to be in the range of 260 to 320, or one-third of those killed.

Regardless of whether the number is closer to 260 or 687, the point is: the U.S. is killing Pakistani civilians–men, women, and children.  At least one-third of those killed are civilians.

UN human rights investigator Philip Alston has said that the drone attacks may “violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law”, and demanded the United States to prove otherwise.  The ACLU declared that this drone policy “violates international law” and is “unconstitutional”, and has converted “the entire world” into a “war zone.”  In a strongly worded letter to the President of the United States, the ACLU wrote:

The program you have reportedly endorsed is not simply illegal but also unwise, because how our country responds to the threat of terrorism will in large measure determine the rules that govern every nation’s conduct in similar contexts. If the United States claims the authority to use lethal force against suspected enemies of the U.S. anywhere in the world – using unmanned drones or other means – then other countries will regard that conduct as justified. The prospect of foreign governments hunting and killing their enemies within our borders or those of our allies is abhorrent.

Only 9% of Pakistanis support the U.S. led drone attacks–and only 6% amongst the Pashto speaking people who live in the NWFP (the area being bombed).  Pakistani officials have declared the drone attacks on Pakistani soil to constitute an “act of war,” a feeling shared by the vast majority of the country’s citizenry.

In January of this year, it was thought that Hakimullah Mahsud was taken out in one such drone attack.  However, Mahsud appeared in a TTP (Pakistani Taliban) propaganda video (allegedly taped on April 4th), declaring that he was in fact still alive.  As you can well imagine, Mr. Mahsud was not too happy with us after that, so naturally he promised revenge on America in the typical over-the-top “Jihadist” rhetoric.  He declared that his fighters had already infiltrated the United States, and would strike within one month.  That month elapsed yesterday (May 4th), meaning the attack on Saturday (May 1st) conformed to his promised deadline.  Furthermore, the video allegedly made on April 4th was released after the car bombing, indicating that it was the fulfillment of the threat.  The Telegraphreports:

Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud threatens US months after ‘death’

Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has vowed to attack major US cities in two new videos released months after his reported killing in a US missile strike.

The videos emerged after an attempted car bombing in New York City, for which his faction claimed responsibility in a third video, and provided the most substantial evidence so far that he survived a barrage of US missiles.

Mehsud threatened to retaliate against the United States within a month for the killing of Islamist militant leaders, appearing in a nine-minute video allegedly made on April 4, after his supposed death in January.

“The time is very near when our fedayeen will attack the American states in the major cities,” said Mehsud…

The video is the first showing Mehsud since January and was issued on the heels of a claim by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan that it was behind the attempted bombing in New York’s Time Square on Saturday…

“Inshallah (God willing) very soon in some days or a month’s time, the Muslim ummah (world) will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in USA,” Mehsud said.

He made similar remarks in an audio message in another TTP video Monday that was apparently recorded on April 19 and features Mehsud’s face next to a map of the United States showing multiple explosions across the country.

IntelCenter, a US-based group that monitors Islamist websites, said it believed all the TTP videos issued since the New York car bomb scare were credible.

“It is our assessment that this threat is credible and that there is a high threat of further attacks like the NYC attack during the coming days and weeks ahead,” it said.

The authorities have not confirmed that it was the Pakistani Taliban who did it, and we cannot ignore the possibility that the TTP is wrongfully seeking “credit” for this dastardly deed.  However, at this time, it seems that it is indeed the Pakistani Taliban who masterminded the failed Times Square bombing.  If they are in fact responsible, then the connection between the illegal U.S. drone attacks and the Times Square bombing is a very strong one, especially since:

Mehsud said his group would avenge the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and strike back at Pakistan and the U.S. for the increasing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

So these Islamic extremists did not try to bomb Times Square because “they hate our freedoms” or because of an Islamic prohibition on depicting the Prophet Muhammad, or because the religion of Islam is diabolically evil and commands them to do so.  The motivations are largely political, not religious, in nature. Our country has attacked theirs and killed their countrymen.

The bewilderment of some Americans–”why are there so many Muslim terrorists!?”–is mostly a reflection of a deep ignorance of what our government does abroad.  It’s not really that hard to understand the simple fact that if we kill hundreds of civilians in another country, some people from that country are going to try to retaliate and kill some of us.  As Representative Ron Paul put it: “They don’t come here to attack us because we are rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there [attacking them].”

I could care less about Hakimullah Mahsud and his Taliban cronies.  But I certainly don’t want my taxes to fund the drones that kill hundreds of civilians…something that is not only morally atrocious but which also helps the Pakistani Taliban recruit avengers.  But if you’re OK with that, at least stop acting so bewildered when they keep attacking us.  If we attack them, they will attack us.  If we kill them, they will try to kill us.  It’s not rocket science.

Related Posts: Attempted Times Square Car Bombing; Is it Forbidden to Ask “Why”? and South Park angle unlikely; Marriott Hotel, not Viacom, probable target

UPDATE:

The Telegraph reports:

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, said yesterday that the failed attack could be retaliation for US drone attacks on the Taliban.

“This is retaliation. And you could expect that… let’s not be naive,” he told CBS. “They’re not going to sort of sit and welcome you to sort of eliminate them. They’re going to fight back.”

According to the New York Post, Mr Shahzad witnessed the drone attacks during eight months he recently spent in Pakistan and has told prosecutors that his bomb attempt was supposed to be revenge for the drones’ killing of Taliban leaders.

Of course, there will be a concerted effort to downplay the fact that hundreds of Pakistani civilians have been killed in these drone attacks, or that the drone attacks are illegal under international law.  Notice how the Telegraph says “drones’ killing of Taliban leaders,” even though far more civilians have been killed than Taliban leaders (a ratio of 50:1 according to Pakistani sources, and 16:1 according to CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen).

 

South Park angle unlikely; Marriott Hotel, not Viacom, probable target

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 5, 2010 by loonwatch
Faisal ShahzadFaisal Shahzad

Following the failed Times Square bombing and the arrest of a Pakistani-American suspect named Faisal Shahzad, questions remain about his possible motivations.  Some have suggested that the recent South Park controversy could have something to do with it: perhaps Mr. Shahzad was retaliating against Viacom, which owns Comedy Central.  According to this theory, the grievance was over a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad by the satirical cartoon show South Park, which runs on Comedy Central. The Viacom building is in close proximity to the intended blast site.

The police have not ruled out this South Park angle (and I do not think they should), although officials have conceded that it is one out of a hundred possibilities.  However, certain extreme right-wingers and anti-Islam ideologues (such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) have invested a lot in this South Park-Times Square connection, and pray that it turns out to be true.  It would certainly allow them to paint the Muslim community in the worst possible light: “Those crazy Moozlems bomb and kill innocent civilians simply for drawing a cartoon of their prophet!”

Proponents of the South Park-Times Square connection argue that both the (1) location and (2) timing fit.  As for the location, it is said that the the parked SUV was in close proximity to the Viacom headquarters.  This is true, but it is unlikely that the blast would have significantly damaged the Viacom building.  Instead, it seems more likely that the intended target was the Marriott Hotel, which is right next to the blast site.  Most importantly, the reaction of the emergency response teams gives us a strong indication of what the terrorists’ target was.  It seems to have been the Marriott Hotel, which was evacuated and shut down.  USA Today reports:

NYC’s Marriott Marquis partly evacuated due to car bomb scare Saturday

Update, 12:13 pm: Earlier this morning, I learned more about what Marriott Marquis guests experienced last night from Kathy Duffy, who handles public relations for Marriott’s New York hotels. Since the suspicious vehicle was parked on the 45th Street side of the Marquis, NYPD told the hotel to evacuate that side of the building. Since the hotel was sold out, that meant evacuating several hundred people who had rooms between floor 10 and 45, she said. The Marquis provided the guests with temporary cots and blankets in the banquet room (see CNN iReport photo link below), where they stayed until around 2 to 3 a.m., when they were allowed back to their rooms, Duffy told me.

Because the Marriott Hotel–and not the Viacom building–was evacuated, it seems pretty safe to say that the former was the target and not the latter.  Furthermore, the attack was on Saturday night–after hours.  The Viacom building would likely have been virtually empty.  Wouldn’t a bloodthirsty terrorist have struck during peak office hours in order to kill as many Viacom employees as possible?  The New York Times commented:

Times Square on a Saturday night is one of the busiest and most populated locations in the city, and has long been seen as a likely target for some kind of attack.

We can further reasonably assume that a bloodthirsty terrorist would want to kill as many people as possible, and therefore a “sold out” Marriott and a heavily “populated” Times Square were the more likely targets than the unoccupied Viacom building.  If it was truly the Pakistani Taliban involved in the attack, the chosen target (the Marriott) would fit their M.O.  This is not the first time the Marriott would have been targeted.  In 2006, Islamic extremists detonated a bomb outside the Marriott in Karachi, the same city where Faisal Shahzad allegedly met with radicals.  In 2008, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was bombed, as well as another Marriott in Jakarta.  In 2003, the Marriott in South Jakarta was bombed.  In addition to the Marriott, several other hotels have been bombed in Pakistan.  In fact, two of the prime targets chosen by terrorists in Pakistan are consulates and hotels.

As for the timing of the attack, proponents of the South Park-Times Square connection argue that the bombing attempt occurred almost immediately following death threats made by Revolution Muslim. They argue: how can this just be a coincidence?  However, it is in fact the incredibly short time duration–between when the South Park controversy took place and the attempted Times Square bombing–that works most against the South Park-Times Square theory.  It is unlikely that the terrorists could have planned the attack so quickly.  Furthermore, and most importantly, numerous reports have come out saying that Faisal Shahzad went to Pakistan to receive terrorist training.  This happened long before the South Park controversy.  Hence, something else radicalized him and convinced him to bomb his adopted country.  If we assume that the Pakistani Taliban trained him (and instructed him to bomb NYC), then all this preceded the South Park affair.  Mr. Shahzad, and his Taliban teachers, had intended to bomb us long time ago.

It is highly unlikely that Revolution Muslim has anything to do with the bombing, as they are under constant scrutiny by the FBI.  They are known for their antics and tall talk, not for their actions and walk.  And surely they would have bombed the place first, before announcing to the world their intention to do that and placing themselves under the watchful eye of the government.

It could be argued that Revolution Muslim issued the call and other extremists hearkened to it.  However, as I discussed above, the bombing took place too soon afterward.  Furthermore, the Pakistani Taliban–who claimed responsibility for the bombing–have not (to my knowledge) ever expressed outrage over the South Park cartoons.  The South Park controversy seemed to be a decidedly North American affair, and it is unlikely that the Taliban took notice of it.  If they had, where were their bellicose condemnations and flamboyant threats?

Lastly, there seems to be no motive to attack Viacom.  Comedy Central had, to the dismay of the South Park creators, cowed to the threats from the Islamic extremists, and refused to show the Prophet Muhammad on their channel.  Faisal Shahzad is a highly educated man; certainly, he would have known that it would makes no sense to attack Viacom or Comedy Central, considering they met the extremists’ demands.  Had this recent bombing had anything to do with South Park, it would have been the creators of the show–not Viacom–whom would have been targeted.

In conclusion, it seems unlikely that the failed Times Square bombing had anything to do with the South Park controversy.  This is so because neither the location, timing, or motive fits.  Rather, the intended target seems to have been the Marriott Hotel and Times Square, both of which would have resulted in the greatest number of deaths.  As such, it is extremely unlikely that the Times Square bombing had anything to do with a cartoon’s depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.  I believe that the extreme right wing and anti-Islam camp wish to pin it on the South Park affair only to exploit the Times Square bombing to further their hate-filled agenda.

There is a concerted effort to hide the fact that our country’s horrific foreign policy–the interventionist policy in the Islamic world in general and the predator drone attacks in Pakistan in specific (which have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians)–could be (and most likely is) what motivated the Times Square bombing. (I argue this here, and more convincingly here.)  Instead, it is easier to blame it on a heathen religion.

 

Attempted Times Square Car Bombing; Is it Forbidden to Ask “Why”?

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by loonwatch

times

Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin, has been arrested in connection to theattempted Times Square car bombing.  Like other Americans, the Muslim (and Pakistani) American community is relieved that this attack failed and no lives were taken due to this dastardly deed.

The mainstream cable news networks have gone into overdrive, discussing the case in great detail and analyzing it in every which way.  Dozens of so-called “terrorism experts” talk in somber terms about the existential threat that Islamic radicalism poses.

Yet, it is amazing that none of them ask (and seek to really answer) the simple question: Why?  Whydo these extremist Muslims keep targeting the United States?  It seems to be the most obvious and intuitive question.

As of now we do not know the motivation of the alleged car bomber but one speculation is that the bomber was targeting Viacom, the parent company of Comedy Central, in response to the  South Park controversy.  But could there be another reason as to why he did what he did?

Representative Ron Paul dared to explore that question in a televised debatearguing: “They don’t come here to attack us because we are rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there [attacking them].”  When Dr. Paul said this seemingly common sense and painfully obvious thing, Rudy Guiliani–who virtually copyrighted 9/11–threw a hissy-fit and demanded Paul to issue an immediate apology, and went on to say that it was the most “absurd” explanation for 9/11 he’s ever heard.  The Republicans tried to silence Ron Paul, fearful that he would point out such an obvious fact that it may force them to reconsider their war-mongering views.

Similarly, the mainstream media engages in self-censorship, refusing to ask the most obvious question: why?  Why did this man of Pakistani descent attempt to bomb the United States of America?  Mayor Bloomberg tried to answer this question:

Terrorists around the world feel threatened by the freedoms we have in this country and want to take our freedoms away from us.

This preposterous answer reflects George Bush’s famous “terrorists hate us for our freedoms.”  Such a response divides the world neatly into good guys and bad guys.  Us vs. Them. We Americans are the good guys, and those evil Mooslems are the bad guys.  The bad guys hate us because of how good we are.

But could there be another reason that possibly motivated the bomber?  Could it have anything to do with what has caused widespread anti-American sentiment in his country of origin?  U.S. drone attacks on Pakistani soil have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians.  According to Pakistani sources,upwards of 687 Pakistani civilians have died at the hands of U.S. drone attacks.  CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen placed the number a bit lower:

Since 2006, our analysis indicates, 83 U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan have killed between 760 and 1,050 people. Among them were about 20 leaders of al Qaeda, the Taliban and allied groups, all of whom have been killed since January 2008…The real total of civilian deaths since 2006 appears to be in the range of 260 to 320, or one-third of those killed.

Regardless of whether the number is closer to 260 or 687, the point is: the U.S. is killing Pakistani civilians–men, women, and children.  At least one-third of those killed are civilians.

UN human rights investigator Philip Alston has said that the drone attacks may “violate international humanitarian law and international human rights law”, and demanded the United States to prove otherwise.  The ACLU declared that this drone policy “violates international law” and is “unconstitutional”, and has converted “the entire world” into a “war zone.”  In a strongly worded letterto the President of the United States, the ACLU wrote:

The program you have reportedly endorsed is not simply illegal but also unwise, because how our country responds to the threat of terrorism will in large measure determine the rules that govern every nation’s conduct in similar contexts. If the United States claims the authority to use lethal force against suspected enemies of the U.S. anywhere in the world – using unmanned drones or other means – then other countries will regard that conduct as justified. The prospect of foreign governments hunting and killing their enemies within our borders or those of our allies is abhorrent.

Only 9% of Pakistanis support the U.S. led drone attacks–and only 6% amongst the Pashto speaking people who live in the NWFP (the area being bombed).  Pakistani officials have declared the drone attacks on Pakistani soil to constitute an “act of war,” a feeling shared by the vast majority of the country’s citizenry.

Could it possibly be–I dare ask–that some Pakistanis would want to bomb Times Square because our country has committed what they perceive as numerous acts of war, which have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children?  How would we feel if Pakistani predator drones were killing hundreds of New Yorkers?  After 9/11, Americans had blood in their eyes, and that burning anger resulted in the U.S. invading two countries, bombing both into the stone ages and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.  Some Americans even contemplated nuking Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of Islam.  So do we find it surprising that a handful of Pakistani extremists might want to strike inside the U.S.?

Pakistanis protest Hillary Clinton's visit, demanding an explanation for illegal drone attacksPakistanis protest Hillary Clinton’s visit, demanding an explanation for illegal drone attacks

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Pakistan, an angry Pakistani woman asked her why she didn’t consider drone attacks to be terrorism.  Whether or not the attacks fit the definition of terrorism, to the hundreds of dead civilians it is irrelevant (and largely only of academic interest) whether the bombs fall from the skies (drone attacks) or are packed into parked cars.  The result is the same.  But as long as Americans drop bombs from far distances, they feel immune to the feelings of guilt from the very real consequences.

There is, however, one major difference between the drone attacks and the terrorist attacks like the failed Times Square bombing.  The former are ordered by the United States government, whereas the latter are not carried out by any country’s government.  The Pakistanis would argue that at least their government didn’t order the Times Square bombing, whereas the drone attacks are ordered by the U.S. government.

There is a very real anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan, and the question must be asked: why?  Whywould any of them want to attack us?  I believe I have presented the most likely reason.

Because I have the audacity to ask and answer this question, I will no doubt be accused of being unpatriotic.  Yet, I consider it extremely patriotic to speak the truth on this matter.  It is only by properly understanding the origins of terrorism that we can seek to end it, and thereby save American lives.  None of this condones what the Times Square bomber did.  I hope the man arrested for this terrorist act is given a fair trial and–if found guilty–punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Neither am I saying that the Muslim community has no role to play in tackling extremism within their ranks.  Although I reject Islamophobic claims that Muslims are “silent” when it comes to terrorism, I do believe that more must be done…much more.  Yet, the efforts of the Muslim community will invariably fail if the Islamic world’s main grievance–our interventionist foreign policy–is not reevaluated.

When attacked, we ought to be able to ask the question “why” without being accused of being unpatriotic or of condoning the act.  We must move beyond George Bush’s simplistic mentality.

Further reading: Glenn Greenwald on the threat of terrorism and Only 6% of terrorist acts inside the U.S. committed by Muslim extremists

Update:

It seems that I was right:

Times Square bombing in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks, No connection to Islam