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Raffique Shah


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Blame Bush, not Bin Laden

August 13, 2006
By Raffique Shah

If there was any surprise over last Thursday's transatlantic airline crisis it was that British security forces, working in collaboration with Pakistan's, managed to pre-empt what could have been a disaster of immense proportions. But sadly for the millions who must travel by air every day, and who have nothing to do with the root causes of a would-be mass mid-air murder, the risks have not diminished. George Bush, who has taken the world to the edge of disaster, is still around-will be for another two years-to peddle his devious non-strategies.

Conceived in the warped mind of a supremacist, Bush's bloody interventionist policy has spawned other, equally evil men and women, for whom you and I, peace-loving citizens of the world, are fair game.

Let's trace the genesis of what almost happened, or what the British authorities said was a plot to bomb 11 aircraft in mid-flight. It goes back to the symbolic 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center that, five years later, has left more questions than answers. Whoever "dunnit", Bush used the attack as an excuse to launch his global war on "terrorism". I deliberately used inverted commas on the word since his first foray into one of the poorest nations on earth, Afghanistan, which was bombed into stupor before being occupied, raises serious questions as to just who are the terrorists and who are the good guys.

Because five years and thousands of lives later, the biggest, most sophisticated military machine in the world has failed to capture this one bedraggled Arab-in-a-cave. If anything, bin Laden's supporters in Afghanistan have grown stronger. Two weeks ago, when the US handed over military operations in the south to NATO forces, the latter were "greeted" with 10 dead British soldiers the following day. The Taliban is alive and kicking butt. Then there was "Eye-raq", where dumbo-Dubya went to destroy the remaining global terrorists. Instead, he has created 100 times more madmen in Iraq (as you and I know the country) than existed under Saddam Hussein. Think back: under Saddam, was Iraq ever in the kind of mess it is today?

In the meantime, stuck in the sands of Iraq, and wholly incapable of bringing any kind of stability to that once-prosperous country, Bush sought and found "terrorist nests" in "Eye-ran", Palestine, Lebanon, Pakistan hell, in just about every country in which Muslims are in the majority.

Now any fool who has studied fundamentalism in religion, be it Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or Islam knows that the one vehicle that spurs rabid fanaticism is victimisation. It was only a matter of time, therefore, before the mullahs were able to mobilise many more fanatical Muslims than we've ever had. And with Israel lending its willing, helping hand by bombing and shelling the stuffing out of the Gaza, Palestine, and now Lebanon, this disparate but focused "Mehdi army" has grown into, quite possibly, the biggest strike force in the world.

It is from these ranks emerged whoever planned and executed the serial bombings in London last year. Before Israel's occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, there was no Hezbollah. By 2000 it was able to celebrate the forced withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon. Today Hassan Nasrullah is a Mid-East hero who commands global support, even among non-Muslims. His 5,000 (maybe less) fighters have achieved what the combined forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan failed to do in the 1967 and 1973 wars. In the eyes of Muslims, and even some military analysts, Hezbollah has already won this war.

What might have been last Thursday was a mere spin-off from this obsessive, nay, perverse pursuit of "terrorists" by Bush, who single-handedly created the biggest army of terrorists the world has ever seen. Now that air travel is a permanent risk, don't blame bin Laden, blame Bush. Worse, besides creating the threat to people's safety, he has moulded a new multi-billion-dollar industry based on fear, even hysteria. Everyone in America and Britain is frightened. They don't know what to expect, from which direction it will come. And their fears become ours, since, although we are not involved, we could well be victims in one way or other. Ten years ago most nations in the world did not need the levels of security they now do. Today, everyone is spending humongous sums on security.

Looking back at last Thursday, how easily the would-be terrorists were able to bring almost the whole world to a halt. In airports from Piarco to Penang, there was near-panic, mass confusion, and inordinate delays. Airlines, already under the financial gun, now face even leaner times. We had all but accepted airports' security personnel peeping up our apertures following 9/11. Now we shall meekly allow ourselves to be stripped of whatever human dignity remains, all because of Bush.

And you know what? The Bush-men will find other ways to strike at us, ways that no security force can conceive of, far less fight. What an unholy mess.