by Austin Bay
February 22, 2006
Yes, al-Qaida offers medical benefits and paid vacations.
That's a fact, not a satire -- an ironic fact indicative of
al-Qaida's detailed plans for waging a long and vicious war against "the
West," Muslim opponents, Buddhists, Hindus and all other enemies of its
heretical version of Islam.
Al-Qaida's "bylaws" -- describing the medical and holiday
benefits package -- is one of two-dozen recently declassified documents
available at West Point's "Combating Terrorism Center"
Most of the documents were translated during 2002, which
suggests coalition forces acquired them in Afghanistan. I'm certain the
Department of Defense would not have released the documents if they had any
remaining operational utility. Their instructive value, however, is
extraordinary. The documents provide detailed -- if at times jarring --
insight into al-Qaida's goals, its penchant for meticulous planning, its use
of propaganda and its intent to use weapons of mass destruction.
Still, DOD needs to declassify more documents like these. If
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld thinks al-Qaida has an "information warfare"
advantage -- and he made that statement last week -- one way to erode that
advantage is exposing al-Qaida's vicious ambitions, calculated plans and
manipulative intents. These documents do that.
As for the vacation policy, the bylaws specify: "For those who
work in Peshawar, they are entitled for Fridays, the two holy feasts and a
one month annual leave to be enjoyed at the end of the 11th month of work,
as well sick leave not to exceed 15 days annually."
Terrorists "in the frontlines" earn additional leave.
If al-Qaida's mimicry of a multinational corporation draws a
deserved snicker, the snicker ends when the bylaws describe the Decision
Execution Branch. Its duties include "imprisonment and torture."
Another document, titled "A Short Report on the Trip from
Nairobi ... ," indicates al-Qaida employs talented, perceptive spies. The
report, penned by an al-Qaida operative named Omar al-Sumali, examines Kenya
and its border with Somalia. With a diplomat's finesse, Omar sizes up border
tribes for potential recruits. He also spots potential targets, including an
Italian communications site in the city of Ngomeni "near the pier, where our
boat is ... meters away." Omar scouts the Kenyan vacation island of Lamu and
urges his superiors to buy a boat. Kenya is an al-Qaida war zone. Recall
that al-Qaida bombed the U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998.
Omar also analyzes al-Qaida-led attacks on Belgian and Indian
peacekeepers in Somalia. An excerpt: "On the way to our camp, our brothers
heard the engine noise of a Belgium patrol car, stopped the car and shot one
of them in the head. The car was surrounded, another was shot in the leg and
a third was also shot."
Omar refers to the Indians as "cow worshipers" -- a slur
directed at Hindus.
Another document, titled "Third Letter to the Africa Corps,"
discusses al-Qaida's interpretation of America's withdrawal from Somalia.
"Africa Corps" refers to al-Qaida cells in Africa.
Translated in June 2002, the letter is actually a collection of
letters. One asks the question, "So how were our amazing Corps and its
starving African Muslim allies able to be victorious over the greatest power
in the world today?" The answer lies in the power of God, because, "When we
are truly fighting in the name and on behalf of God, we have nothing to fear
Somalia is judged a "splendid victory" with "profound
implications ideologically, politically and psychologically." Al-Qaida's
writer adds: "The Somali experience confirmed the spurious nature of
American power and that it has not recovered from the Vietnam complex. It
fears getting bogged down in a real war that would reveal its psychological
collapse at the level of personnel and leader."
His conclusion: "When the enemy abandons the battleground, he
must not be allowed to flee. He must be pursued from one position to the
next, until rooted out."
In al-Qaida's context, 9-11 was "pursuit" of its American
enemy -- the enemy that fled Somalia.