– I saw 60 Minutes frightening piece on Chem/Bio weapons in the former Soviet Union, and I realized half-way through it that someone, by tomorrow, will make the bad argument that we really shouldn’t have worried about Iraq, but we should be worrying about those old weapons labs in the former U.S.S.R. I am not sure who will make the argument first, but it is what is known as a false dichotomy. Personally, both situations scare the bejeesus out of me. At any rate, if we learned anything from the U.S.S.R., it was that treaties about this sort of stuff are worthless- Nixon negotiated and signed one with the Kremlin, they simply ignored the treaty and built the largest covert biological weapons program ever. Totalitarian regimes don’t negotiate in good faith- whether it be the North Koreans, Saddam Hussein, or the Soviets. That is a lesson we need to remember- these people lie more than our politicians, if that is fathomable.
– I am reading The Age of Sacred Terror by Daniel Benjamin and Steve Simon. This was actually recommended to me several months ago by Dave Neiwart, and he was right, it is a fascinating read. At any rate, one passage struck me as something that everyone who is bitching and moaning that “There have been no direct connections found between Iraq and Al Qaeda,” should be forced to read. The statement is annoying for several reasons, first because it is demonstrably false. Second, this passage in The Age of Sacred Terror makes clear that these connections aren’t as direct and clear-cut as many want (demand) them to be:
“There are two enduring misconceptions about Ramzi Yousef. The first is that he was a lone wolf, a solo operator who got a contract to do a job, or propelled by his own ambitions, simply set out to do it himself. True, he was not a card-carrying member of any renowned terrorist organization. But from the time he landed in the United States to the time he left, he was part of a constant triangular conversation. The phone in his apartment and the one in the home of the Blind Sheikh were frequently connected. And both of them regulalry called Pakistan: 810604, the number Rahman had dialed before Yousef’s arrival.” – The Age of Sacred terror, p. 8.
Terrorists don’t have business cards. They don’t have organizational flowcharts that they give to the public. Demanding direct connections that stand up to the strictes rules of evidence in a court of law in the United States will often be hard to get. I distrust the government as much as the next guy, and if you have read my ranting and raving on a number of issues, you will probably agree that I distrust the government more than your average joe. Some things, though, you have to just trust em, even if they often don’t deserve that trust. Terrorism is one area where I will give them the benefit of the doubt.