Terrorism On The Cheap
While Americans stand in line to be groped by TSA agents in an effort to prevent mass terror attacks, al Qaeda is touting the fact it’s efforts to perfect a form of terrorism that no amount of groping is likely to prevent:
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is promising more small-scale attacks like its attempts to bomb two U.S.-bound cargo planes, which it likens to bleeding its enemy to death by a thousand cuts.
The editors of a special edition of the Yemeni-based group’s English on-line magazine, Inspire, boast that what they call Operation Hemorrhage was cheap, and easy, using common items that together with shipping, cost only $4,200 to carry out.
“It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy and keep him on his toes in exchange of a few months of work and a few thousand bucks,” AQAP said in its online Inspire magazine, released on militant websites.
“To bring down America we do not need to strike big,” the editors write. With the “security phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch” thereby circumventing U.S. security, they conclude.
The online magazine also said that killing mass numbers of people isn’t necessarily their goal anymore:
In the magazine, an author identified as the group’s head of foreign operations says the package attacks were intended to cause economic harm, not casualties. “We knew that cargo planes are staffed by only a pilot and a co-pilot,” the author writes, “so our objective was not to cause maximum casualties but to cause maximum losses to the American economy,” by striking at the multi-billion dollar U.S. freight industry.
“We are laying out for our enemies our plan in advance because as we stated earlier our objective is not maximum kill but to cause (damage) in the aviation industry, an industry that is so vital for trade and transportation between the U.S. and Europe.”
It’s worth noting that the “toner bombs” that AQAP sent out were only discovered thanks to intelligence tips from the Saudis, not by any of the screening processes that UPS and FedEx might use to screen packages coming from nations like Yemen. Certainly, though, it’s clear that the TSA procedures that Americans are now being subjected to would do nothing to prevent the kind of low-level, on-the-cheap, attacks that are being talked about here. Which argues strongly that we ought to be rethinking what we’re doing when it comes to counter-terrorism and security.