Targeting the Islamic Terrorists

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.)

Weird Banking News

I just ran across this news item saying that the US is loaning $50 Billion to the EU so their banking systems won’t collapse from panic withdrawls after the attack on the US. (I’ve since received an email saying that AP should called this a “swap” rather than a “loan” as it is just a trade of Dollars for Euros.) Anyway, it got me thinking; if our allies are this scared imagine what our enemies must be thinking about now – they’re probably just beginning to realize they’ve done a BAD THING and are going to be toast shortly. Oh well, it gave me a good laugh anyway.

Terrorists Attack the United States

What a couple of days this has been. Yesterday I was following my usual routine in the morning; crawling out of bed and checking the news online. The first thing I saw was the slashdot article saying two planes had hit the World Trade Center. Two planes – it must have been intentional, I thought. I assumed they probably meant small, personal planes and at first thought it might be some nutcases like Timothy McVeigh. But when I flipped on CNN and saw that they were commercial airlines, I knew immediately it was something bigger. Suicidal terrorists trying to commit mass-murder on as huge a scale as possible – only one thing in the world today immediately comes to mind to fit that description: Middle East Islamics. (I suppose I should qualify that by saying “militant” Islamics or something just in case there are some Islamics around that are not psycho mass-murders – and if there are, I hope they’re re-examining their choice of religions today)

Susan and I watched as both towers collapsed live on CNN and CNBC. And we continued to watch for most of the day as we tried to communicate with friends and relatives that were in the area. We determined that my Uncle was not in the Pentagon when the plane hit. My sister and brother-in-law turned out to be safe in Chicago. A friend who had been in New York over the weekend had left the day before. So far, my friends and family were out of harm’s way. We know from what we saw on TV that many others were not so lucky. I checked in with some Saudi-American friends to make sure they were safe (there are racist whackos in the US who, while mere amateurs compared to Islamic nutcases, will probably be using this opportunity to express some hate of their own).

We eventually went into to the office for about an hour to take care of a few things that couldn’t be put off. We tried to donate some blood but were turned away because of five hour lines (we’ll try again when the lines diminish). We did manage to at least make a donation to the Red Cross through Amazon. After returning home we watched more hours of coverage, including coverage of Palestinians and Egyptians apparently happy and rejoicing that their friends has set some new record for mass-murder. Finally, we tried to get some sleep.

I was up early this morning and was suprised by how many of those commenting on Slashdot and Advogato about the attack were defending the actions of the terrorists, calling for the US to do nothing in response, or, the most bizarre one I saw; a person who praised the bravery of terrorists, saying “Is there anything more brave than dying to save your country / people / faith?”. (sorry, these men were murders, evil, scum, cowards, religious nuts or even insane, but I certainly wouldn’t say they were brave). I think a lot of the posters were not from the US and probably were in fear of either the terrorist attacks or the US.

My own view is that what Bush is doing so far is dead-on. And, anyone who reads my news posts regularly is probably aware that I’m no fan of Bush. But I’m 100% behind him on this. This was an act of war against the US by organized terrorist groups and the nation(s) that support them. We need to investigate, find the people who organized and payed for this mass murder, and remove them from the world. We need to find out what countries supported them in this act of war and bring them to justice as well. If that means the US is now at war with Afghanistan, Iraq, or other countries, then so be it. Some of those “governments” have been funding terrorists for too long and it’s about time to someone held them accountable. And who knows, if we can replace a few of those Islamic-whacko theocracies with some free, open, democratic governments in the process it might bring the whole world a lot closer to peace and safety.