What does the British bomb plot mean?

I just got to my computer now, which has me many hours behind early risers, let alone those early risers on the East Cost. I’m therefore only just assimilating the news about the foiled plot to blow up multiple US-bound British planes in the air. My first thought on hearing the news was that, maybe, just maybe, this will break people’s complacency and strike a mortal blow at the peacenik’s naive believe that all we need to do is sit down and talk to the terrorists. I then realized that was a ridiculous hope. Because, in these people’s minds, we, not the terrorists, are the enemy, this will be viewed as nothing more than a propaganda coup. That is, the narrative will be converted into a conspiracy between the American and British secret services to frame innocent British Pakistanis so as to strike fear into the British and American public, therefore shoring up War support.

Indeed, even if the planes had blown up, the narrative would have been unchanged. Why do I know this? I know this because more than a third of Americans think the US government attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing almost 3,000 American citizens, so as to have an excuse to flex its imperialist muscles. That they manage to think this all evidence to the contrary shows that it will take a paradigm shift of nuclear proportions (and I don’t use that phrase lightly) to remove them from the anti-American camp.

In any event, while I’m late to today’s big news, one of the virtues is that I’m in time for other people’s analyses. The first I got this morning, in my inbox, came from Stratfor. Their initial conclusions are actually comforting, not frightening, when it comes to analyzing Al Qaeda’s strength:

First, while there obviously remains a threat from those not only sympathetic to al Qaeda, but actually participating in planning with those in the al Qaeda apex leadership, their ability to launch successful attacks outside of the Middle East is severely degraded.

Second, if the cell truly does have 50 people and 21 have already been detained, then al Qaeda might have lost its ability to operate below the radar of Western — or at least U.K. — intelligence agencies. Al Qaeda’s defining characteristic has always been its ability to maintain operational security. If that has been compromised, then al Qaeda’s importance as a force has diminished greatly.

Third, though further attacks could occur, it appears al Qaeda has lost the ability to alter the political decision-making of its targets. The Sept. 11 attack changed the world. The Madrid train attacks changed a government. This failed airliner attack only succeeded in closing an airport temporarily.

Fourth, the vanguard of militant Islam appears to have passed from Sunni/Wahhabi al Qaeda to Shiite Iran and Hezbollah. It is Iran that is shaping Western policies on the Middle East, and Hezbollah who is directly engaged with Israel. Al Qaeda, in contrast, appears unable to do significantly more than issue snazzy videos.

Of course, the above, while allowing me to feel less worried about Al Qaeda, notes that there has simply been a shift in the terrorist center, from Al Qaeda, to Hezbollah/Iran. Currently, those terrorist entities (and, even though Iran is a nation, I count it as a terrorist entity) are focusing their energies on conventional warfare waged against Israel, which they view as the US proxy in the Middle East. I wonder whether they will maintain that traditional military focus or, as Al Qaeda retreats, creating a vacuum for headline grabbing attacks on civilians, if Hezbollah/Iran will also move to fill that gap.

UPDATE:  I was prescient.  I just tuned in to the second hour of Michael Medved and heard him announce that, during the first hour, he reported on (and talked to) all the people who claim that the arrests in Britain are just a Rove-ian plot to advance the Bush war machine.  I’m working on some deadline intense material today, so won’t follow up on it, but I bet all of you can quickly find places on the internet that develop that theme.

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  • jg

    “the narrative will be converted into a conspiracy between the American and British secret services to frame innocent British Pakistanis so as to strike fear into the British and American public, therefore shoring up War support.”

    How we should reply to this pro-terrorist sling:

    ‘6) Many have claimed that there are no Jihadi Terrorists in London during the past months arrests in Britain and “these are only Government conspiracies to single out specific communities, etc.” If today’s reports are verified, the latter question should be investigated as follow: Who is attempting to transform every lead against the Terrorists into a crisis with entire communities? Who in the UK and elsewhere is obstructing the full fledge war on Terrorism by protecting future Jihadi improvisation through accusing Governments (in the large sense of the word) of “political measures” while real Terror attempts are ongoing.’

    from Walid Phares, quotd at Betsy’s Page

  • Trish

    Don’t put too much faith in polls. When it says “one-third of Americans believe”, what it really means is “one-third of the people we asked answered our questions in a way that enables us to say they believe this”. How were the questions asked? How representative was the sampling?
    It’s not necessarily what it appears to be.

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  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I am seriously afraid that to wake up the mass of the American people to what they are actually facing would require the explosion of those jets, not the interception of the murderers so that the catastrophe was averted……

    Think about it – would we have gone into Afghanistan if all the 9/11 hijackers had been arrested as they were boarding the planes? Even if we had found the entire plot outlined unequivocally on their laptops? The question answers itself.

    Something truly terrible will have to happen……and then perhaps we’ll get serious.

  • isirota1965

    “this will be viewed as nothing more than a propaganda coup”

    You were unduly optimistic, Bookworm. The first comment stole my thunder. I have already heard screeches out there that this was all a set-up, that there were really no terrorists, that this was just a way for Nazi/Fascist/Hitler/Chimp President Bush and his “lapdog” Tony Blair to further abuse the downtrodden Islamic masses. One person speculated that these were really Mossad agents who were trying to swing world opinion in favour of Israel. The ACLU types area already muttering about possible civil rights violations.

    I’m starting to wonder if our society is doomed. People have to learn that the Bill of Rights is not a collective suicide pact.

  • http://theview.townhall.com/Default.aspx d_Brit

    One third of Americans believe as they do because it’s more comfortable than the alternative. The lack of substantive attacks allows their illusion to operate.

    It’s simply intellectual dishonesty at confronting the ‘truth’ of terrorism and the nature of the threat we face and that intellectual dishonesty springs from moral cowardice at confronting evil.

  • jg

    A thought-provoking evaluation: “that intellectual dishonesty springs from moral cowardice at confronting evil.”

  • zhombre

    I concur with Isirota1965. The cicadas on the left will continue to buzz the same tune. Even a cursory look-see at the lefty blogs confirms this. I adduce an example from TalkLeft.com:

    “Apparently you folks actually believe that these threats are real. But if you would just look more carefully at all the evidence, and find out more about where terrorist threats originate from, and when and WHY they appear at certain times, you might understand better.

    You are being manipulated, so that you can be better controlled. And you, and others like you, are swallowing it, hook, line and sinker.

    That is why it is so annoying (but hardly surprising) when these things happen during the run up to an election. We know that the present administration will now try to use these so-called terror threats to help make their case that the country needs yet more of their particular brand of fascism … ”

    This is typical. These people are past the point of reason.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I think the bomb plot means this isn’t just a war on Al Qaeda.

  • http://benningswritingpad.blogspot.com benning

    My first thought was, “How did they discover the plto? I can’t inagine what the process is that ferrets out these horrible, murderous attempts.” But my second thought was, “How long before this is portrayed as some sort of Right-wing conspiracy of GW and Blair?”

    I wasn’t disappointed by the speed with which the Left trotted out their Trotskyite ranrings. This is the kind of thing that makes me so tired. I wish they’d just pack up and move to Venezuela where they can be favorites of Hugo Chavez.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    As a clarification, I don’t mean Al Qaeda wasn’t behind the bomb plot, but that Bookworm’s comments about the bomb plot, shows that while you can defeat Al Qaeda’s plots, the war on terror isn’t just about Al Qaeda and stopping their plots.