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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

February 8, 2010


Bill Blum - "The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction," writes Fareed Zakaria, a leading American foreign-policy pundit, editor of Newsweek magazine's international edition, and Washington Post columnist, referring to the "underwear bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his failed attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas day. "Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn't work. Alas, this one worked very well."

Is that not odd? That an individual would try to take the lives of hundreds of people, including his own, primarily to "provoke an overreaction", or to "sow fear"? Was there not any kind of deep-seated grievance or resentment with anything or anyone American being expressed? No perceived wrong he wished to make right? Nothing he sought to obtain revenge for? Why is the United States the most common target of terrorists? Such questions were not even hinted at in Zakaria's article.

At a White House press briefing concerning the same failed terrorist attack, conducted by Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan, veteran reporter Helen Thomas raised a question:

Thomas: "What is really lacking always for us is you don't give the motivation of why they want to do us harm. ... What is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why."

Brennan: "Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents. ... [They] attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that [they're] able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death."

Thomas: "And you're saying it's because of religion?"

Brennan: "I'm saying it's because of an al Qaeda organization that uses the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way."

Thomas: "Why?"

Brennan: "I think ... this is a long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland."

Thomas: "But you haven't explained why."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Helen,

I try to get people to ask these questions everyday... sometimes they listen... sometimes they don't. There are way too many Americans deluding themselves and taking the low road of denial...

February 8, 2010 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To answer the question: they attack us because of our support for Israel in its ongoing campaign of genocide against the Palestinians whose land we and the UK helped Israel steal over sixty years ago. If we would just tell Israel that they will get no more money, goods, or military equipment from us until they make peace with the Palestinians, then this could all be ended quickly.

The real turning point in world history was when George H. W. Bush committed one of the most evil acts I've ever heard of: arranging for the CIA to make money smuggling drugs so that it could be used to purchase weapons that became a bribe to the Iranian terrorists so that they wouldn't release our hostages until after the Reagan-Carter election. If Carter had served a second term, he would have managed some sort of beginning to peace in the Middle East that could have prevented the disasters of 7 terms of GOP Presidents (although Clinton was elected as a Democrat, he behaved like more of a Republican than Reagan when it came to foreign policy and the economy).

February 9, 2010 10:46 AM  

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