Not much work-related news to report this week. A little Perl programming, a little C++, and assorted other fairly mundane tasks. Everyone is still spending a lot of time talking and thinking about the attack. Way too much time is probably spent watching CNN and checking Yahoo! for the latest developments; and at least a few minutes playing this nifty Bin Laden game. I hear some of the local shooting ranges are using Bin Laden targets too. :-)
I saw in the news yesterday that we’ve had special forces in Afghanistan for a while now scouting out enemy territory. And there are plenty of rumours about a large number of Predator UAVs buzzing around the place and at least a few suggesting the Global Hawk UAV may be in use as well (this may a be a good place to test some of the new UCAVs shortly). I’m really relieved to see we’re not just standing around watching while the Taliban continues to stall for time.
Jane’s has an interesting article describing some of the history of the Al-Qaeda Islamic group. They apparently declared war on the US back in 1998 but until the recent events, I don’t think we took it seriously enough. This may be the first war between nations and a group of international criminals – it seems like something out of a movie, like being at war with SPECTRE (except in this case they’re evil religious nuts rather than evil geniuses with fluffy white cats). Al-Qaeda’s original plan was to overthrow the governments of the Arab/Islamic states first and then using the vast army of their combined Islamic super-state to kill all the Jews and westerners. But, over time, Bin Laden came to the conclusion that killing westerners and Jews first was the key to success (or maybe they just decided it was more fun, I don’t know). So far, Afghanistan is the only country they’ve managed to take over and turn into an “ideal Islamic state” – basically the model of how they’d like all of us to live (or at least those that they don’t intend to kill outright).
I’ve also seen members of RAWA on CNN and several news shows talking about life under the Taliban’s strict Islamic rule. You can be executed for trying to get an education, executed for not being Muslim, beaten for not following the dress code, women are treated as slightly less important than domestic animals, almost all technology, art, and music is forbidden,… Basically a whole lot of no fun.
And the these guys have already been planning more attacks. Plans for chemical or biological attacks have been uncovered. Several attacks have been thwarted in the US and Europe already. The more one reads about what we’re up against, the more this sounds like it may be the most serious threat civilization has faced since the Nazis. If these nuts get their hands on nuclear weapons this could get ugly. And Jane’s reports that Pakistan, which is believed to have 25 or so nukes, is apparently teetering on the edge with a huge population of Fundamentalist Islamic whackos being barely held in check by a military government. (hopefully, we already have those nukes targeted by cruise missles, ready to be taken out instantly if Pakistan falls.)