Was the botched terror attack in Times Square retaliation for US terrorism perpetrated by predator drones in Pakistan? Our war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is tremendously more expensive than such amateurish blowback attacks by sympathizers of al Qaeda or the Taliban. We have spent almost $270 billion on the war in Afghanistan. It is a big money bonanza for the US military industrial complex and big oil companies. One of Osama bin Laden's tactics has been to use relatively inexpensive terror attacks to provoke the US into increasingly expensive military ventures and higher energy costs that bleed our economy.
Pentagon parlance for the war in Afghanistan is "Operation Enduring Freedom" but a more accurate term is Operation Enduring Terror. According to Pakistan authorities, 44 predator strikes carried out by the CIA in Pakistan in 2009 killed more than 700 innocent civilians and only four of their intended al Qaeda and Taliban targets. As a result, those attacked might be striking back. Hakimullah Mehsud, one of the leaders the CIA said they killed in January seems to be alive. Mehsud appeared on a video on May 3, threatening attacks on major US cities in acts of retaliation against the US drone attacks on Pakistan. A second video showed Mehsud saying that "good news will be heard within some days or weeks."
Mehsud referred to reports of his death as lies and propaganda in the footage that was apparently recorded in April. The BBC's correspondent in Islamabad said if the video is verified it will end all speculation about his death. US and Pakistani officials had claimed until recently that Mehsud was killed in a US missile attack in the remote tribal region of north-west Pakistan. But last week Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed Mehsud was only wounded.
Is there a link to the failed weekend bomb attack in New York and Mehsud? Claims by the Taliban group that it was responsible for the failed attempt to detonate the car bomb in Times Square have credibility. Faisel Shahzad, the person arrested for committing the act, is a 30 year old naturalized US citizen originally from Pakistan. He spent much of the past year in Peshawar province of Pakistan, a haven for Taliban activists. Shahzad is reported to have trained with Taliban operatives. Whether or not he acted alone, blowback seems to be the most logical motive for the Times Square scare.
The Dawn newspaper in Pakistan reported, "For each al Qa'eda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities."
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President Obama has been much less reticent than President Bush to increase air strikes on Pakistan and shares responsibility for the blowback in Times Square. The President doesn't get it. Obama made a crude and dehumanizing joke at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. He said his daughters were huge fans of the Jonas Brothers and warned, "but boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: predator drones. You'll never see it coming."
Shahzad was on board a Dubai-bound flight at Kennedy Airport when FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives arrested him. He lived with his wife and two small children in Shelton, Conn. for three years. After Shazad became a naturalized U.S. citizen on April 17, 2009, he spent much of the past year in Pakistan where his wife is currently living. Details of his activities in Pakistan remain speculative, but Shahzad last entered the U.S. on Feb. 3, 2010 after a five-month visit to the country of his birth. The NY Times reported that 7 or 8 people allegedly linked to the Times Square scare have been arrested in Pakistan.
In the past two years several people with American citizenship or residency have been accused of terrorism in the U.S. like Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S.born Army psychiatrist of Palestinian descent charged with fatally shooting 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, and Najibullah Zazi, an airport shuttle driver from Afghanistan, who pled guilty to a bomb plot on New York subways.
Terrorizing Afghanistan and Pakistan with war brings blowbacks of terror from the terrorized and their sympathizers. War is not the answer. The two bumper stickers on my car read; War is Terrorism: With a Bigger Budget and Peace on Earth.