Friday, October 29, 2010
The major story of the day has of course been the discovery of explosive packages bound for the U.S.
President Barack Obama declared Friday that authorities had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat" against the United States following the overseas discovery of U.S.-bound packages containing explosives aboard cargo jets. Obama said both had been addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area.While this story is still developing, and it isn't yet clear whether this was a probe and dry run, or an actual attempted attack, it is notable that other AQ attacks have occurred just prior to elections in Western countries. That is one reason to dismiss the notion that I have seen percolating around the comments section of the righty blogosphere -- that the Obama administration is talking up what is otherwise a low level threat to generate a rally 'round the flag effect in the run up to Tuesday's elections, in hopes that such an effect would help the incumbent party. It isn't clear to me that highlighting a major threat this weekend would help Democrats on Tuesday, since national security isn't something most candidates in that party have stressed in their campaigns. It might remind voters that under the Bush administration, there were no successful large-scale terrorist attacks on U.S. soil after 9/11, and that might somehow help Republican candidates. If there is a political benefit either way from this story, I think it is small, and is unlikely to alter any one race, nor have any impact on the aggregate result. Moreover, I would expect conservatives and centrists to rise above the claims made by the left during the Bush years that the Bush administration would routinely tweak the threat levels for political reasons.
The disclosures triggered a worldwide alert amid fears that al-Qaida was attempting to carry out fresh terror attacks.
It is entirely possible that AQAP is trying to influence the election somehow, though I can only speculate to attempt to understand their analytical thinking. It is curious that Jewish organizations in Chicago were targeted, since many of the people in such organizations represent a significant part of President Obama's base, dating back to a point early in his political career. Perhaps AQAP could be trying to send a message to the president -- "you have increased attacks against our brothers fighting in Afghanistan, so we will attack your political supporters."
It seems that most of the packages were without explosives, and were visibly modified. A genuine attempt would have 1) had more oomph and 2) been better camouflaged. Come on, a modified yet empty device?
At first glance this seems like a lame attempt to influence elections, but that doesn't fit AQ's style. They prefer the grandiose. Something half assed like this would only embarrass them. Maybe this was an individual or splinter effort.
It's also possible that this was a test of sorts to see what would get caught.
The smartest thing to have done would probably have been to send a package of relatively obvious, distraction devices along with real, camouflaged devices from another source. But AQ never seems to do the smartest thing...
Interesting discussion about the political exploitation aspects of this story.
It is strange to have a President do a press brief in this manner - as most likely a Homeland Security Secretary - FBI Director - Etc., would normally do this type of Public appearance to talk about this matter. Also, advertising this to the enemy is truly unwise. Normally this INTEL would remain classified, as we can be certain this type of attack must be a regular occurrence, and there is more than likely far many more of these attacks we are unaware of. It does seem like the Obama Administration has clearly used this for some political image purposes, revealing a great deal of what normally would remain classified. They may have a sense Obama desperately needs to appear Presidential.
For the record, Obama has not JUMPED at doing this kind of press briefing, as in the case of the Christmas Bomber, he preferred to play golf. He used to tell us not to RUSH to a conclusion on these monstrous Terrorist attacks.
Democrats used to claim that TERRORISM was all a Republican 'fear-mongering' ploy to gain power, and actually seemed to believe if GW Bush were removed from power, TERRORISM would go away.
The Democrats ugly slandering of Republicans over the Threats we face was an outrage after 9-11. The distortion these Partisans pushed on the American Public and the world when we face such danger was simply beneath contempt and highly destructive.
After all their 'Man Made Disaster' garbage, the denials over reality for pure Political gain, it is hard to see them push their serious handling of the Nations Security - facing the threats of Radical Muslim Terrorism.
Obama has nothing to do with the success really anyway, as we know these systems of defense, intel, counter terrorism, etc., was designed and constructed primarily by the Bush Administration after 9-11.
To see them promote this as if this is their wonderful doing, is sort of like when we watched Biden take credit for Iraq's success.
It really is quite absurd, but more importantly, one has to wonder about their capability after the endless denials over the years.
Especially with IRAN Ticking...
I'm still puzzled by the crash a couple months ago of a UPS 747. It happened an hour or so after takeoff in I think Dubai, though I'm hazy on that detail.
Apparently there was a fire in the cargo. The pilots tried for an hour or so to land, making a couple of aborted attempts (smoke in the cockpit, poor visibility) before finally crashing while maybe attempting to land on a highway. All aboard dead.
Coincidence? The story disappeared faster than water down a clean drain.