Terrorism: September 21, 2001

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A Few Myths in Need of Correction- The attack on the World Trade Center killed more than twice as many people as were killed in the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. That's true, but only about half the people killed in the Trade Center were Americans, the rest were from all over the world, including Moslem nations. This accounts for the enormous international support for America and the war on terrorism. Note that the final numbers of the dead are not yet in, but it looks like the Trade Center attack killed as many as two Pearl Harbors, one for the US and one for the rest of the world. More of the dead were Americans.

There are about a billion Moslems on the planet, and most of their populations are impoverished, poorly governed and unstable. Islam is the majority religion in 52 nations (Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azarbaizan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote D'Ivore, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kajakistan, Katar, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malayasia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara and Yemen.) Some other nations have large Moslem minorities (Mozambique, Suriname, Guiena Bissau, Liberia and India.) India is a special case, with some 178 million Moslems in a population of a billion. This is one of the largest Islamic populations in the world, but is much overawed by the majority Hindu population. There is ongoing tension between the Moslems and Hindus of India, although Islamic fundamentalism is not a major factor, yet. Nearly all of the Islamic nations are poor and led by non-democratic (or weak democratic) governments. In most of these nations there is tension between the Moslem and non-Moslem (usually Christian) populations. This poverty and poor government is one of the major things Bin Laden preaches against, and this is a major reason Bin Laden is so popular. Blaming wealthy Christian nations for the problems in Moslem nations is also popular. 

Jihad is not a violence concept. The world actually means "holy struggle," or just "struggling" or "striving." Political and religious groups have twisted the word to mean "holy war." The Koran defines the term as "striving for the good of the community." In other words, self improvement. It has long been used as a religious term, and a religious duty. But the Koranic meaning stipulates that the striving be legal, diplomatic, economic and political before force is employed. The use of peaceful means is considered "major jihad," the use of force "minor jihad." A proper military jihad must be declared by a widely recognized authority, backed up by equally worthy religious scholars. Such a proper jihad has not been declared in centuries. The term "jihad" has become an overused buzzword by terrorists, outlaws and corrupt politicians. 

Poor airport security in the United States was not what allowed the 19 suicide hijackers to pull off the September 11th attacks. Those 19 could still get through today's increased security. While box cutters may not make it through today's security (although recent security tests have shown that they can), there are non metallic knives that could be taped to the terrorists legs. These weapons would pass right through the metal detectors. We now know that the terrorists made several dry runs and knew current procedures, and how flight crews went about their duties. So why have their not been additional attacks? Simple, airlines now advise passengers to rush hijackers. In the past, passengers were cautioned to calmly obey the orders of hijackers. Moreover, the passengers have many defensive weapons to use against hijackers armed with carbon fiber or ceramic knives. Aircraft seat cushions are designed to be easily removable for use of "flotation devices." These cushions are thick and have straps on them that you can pass your arm through to serve as a shield against the knives. The buckles and part of the seatbelt strap can be removed, wrapped around the hand and make useable brass knuckles. Women with high heels and long nails also possess effective weapons, and anyone can deliver a disabling knee to the groin. Eye gouging and bending hijackers fingers out of their sockets is also effective, The restricted space in most airliners makes is easier to corner hijackers and force them to the floor. Passengers flying today are aware of their superior numbers, and often cheer when the pilot comes on and asks for their help in the event of a hijacking. Airport security may not work, but numbers and a sense of self preservation will. This is why you won't many similar hijacking attempts in the future. For the September 11 attacks to work, there was a need for surprise. The element of surprise is gone. 

The Taliban were not created by the CIA or Pakistani intelligence. The Taliban had their origins in religious schools set up by Saudi Arabians of the strict Wahabi sect. The students were taught to memorize the Koran and to be strict followers of Islam. The CIA left Afghanistan by 1990 (although millions of dollars in American food and medical aid continued to flow into Afghan refugee camps.) The Taliban sprang up in the early 1990s as a reaction to the ongoing civil war, and civil disorder, in Afghanistan. When the Taliban formed military units and began to pacify areas in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence saw a solution to eliminating the unrest in Afghanistan (which was spilling over into Pakistan.) When the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, they said they would rule the country for two years and then step back. The Taliban, seen by most Afghans as a bunch of Pushtuns from Kandahar, have refused to relinquish power. The Taliban are tolerated in Afghanistan because they brought peace. But it's telling that most of the Taliban's fighting troops are foreigners (religious Moslems, mostly Arabs, from Bin Laden's terror camps and many Moslem nations.)

The population of Afghanistan is not, as often reported, 25 million. This is an extrapolation of the 12 million counted in the last census 25 years ago. But 22 years of war and disorder have killed nearly two million and disrupted the family lives of many of the remainder. There are probably only about 15 million people in Afghanistan, with another four million still living in Iranian and Pakistani refugee camps. 


 

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