Thursday, March 15, 2007

AL QAEDA OMNIPOTENT: The usual suspect delivers the standard cant

Six hours ago your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow marveled at an extraordinary article from Reuters which entertained the idea that the terror organization might be, in the words of one, "a bunch of clowns."

It was a truly aberrant story, going against the river of terror war received wisdom, wisdom which dictates no experts ever dare suggest the terror group might be less than omnipotent.

This was likened to witnessing the town whore undergoing a religious conversion, one that wasn't going to stick long.

And it didn't.

For the Voice of America, it was almost back to the standard practice.

The Jakob Marley's Ghost of Terror Experts, Michael Scheuer, was produced to shake his chains and moan for the polity.

Scheuer has always had the same story to sell. Once it was new and had meaning. That was long ago.

Not on the inside anymore, the power of al Qaeda still stalks him and Scheuer can be counted upon to reliably give the worst interpretation to even ludicrous news.

Like Khalid Sheik Mohammed's [or Mohammad's, depending on the pub you're reading] confessing to everything.

But first let's divert for some man-in-the-cyberstreet opinion.

"As far as we know, [KSM] had nothing to do with Jennifer Hudson being eliminated on American Idol," said one wag on the I Love Everything chat board, showing more common sense and critical thinking in one sentence than the newsmedia will stomach from its usual terror experts.

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed might be the Zelig of terrorism," said another.

See it here.

With that for perspective, we return to Scheuer.

"Other counter-terrorism experts, however, are not troubled by the fact that many of the plots Mohammad alludes to never actually occurred," reported Voice of America.

"Former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who headed the agency's hunt for bin Laden, say al-Qaeda was engaging in contingency planning. He adds that while Khalid Sheikh Mohammad may have embellished somewhat, even the potential planning he outlines is a chilling indicator of al-Qaeda's danger.

" 'I think you come away from KSM's [Khalid Sheikh Mohammad's] testimony - even if you accept maybe a quarter of it being embroidery or swagger [exaggeration] - with a very clear view of a very potent, very intelligent, very innovative enemy,' he said."

Which reminds DD of a holiday season joke.

One very bad boy was given a stockingful of horse excrement for his Christmas present, a gesture his parents hoped would knock some sense into him.

But, instead, the boy spent Christmas day wandering about the house and grounds saying he knew there had to be a pony for him hidden away somewhere.

DD has no idea if al Qaeda is still "very potent" but has seen the work of a share of legitimate failures said to be allied with the organization. And I'm willing to bet the real state of affairs is much more complicated than the standard menacing blurb and, life being what it is, such blurbs stand a better than even chance of being more wrong than right.

The Voice of America reported "some experts believe that while Mohammad was indeed a key al-Qaeda figure, they also say some of his claims are open to question and that he may be inflating his importance in some areas."

Now why would anyone ever think such a thing?

The Voice of America original is here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me what this series of posts you've written is trying to say is that the desire and intent to perform a certain act is much different and separate from the capability to perform the act.

Certainly AQ intends to do us harm, but what are their capabilities? Greatly diminished to be sure. I don't think it's unreasonable, however, to consider and plan for a time when AQ might recruit some real technical expertise.

8:00 AM  

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