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Don Meaker

If you assume that Al Queda would stop at the Umma, then it would make sense to compromise with them, say we withdraw computers, phones, television, and let them sit in their medieval squalor.

Problem is, we tried that. After all, what was Afganistan but a little Taliban paradise, where they could beat women for not being veiled. And rather than have gratitude to us for permitting that little paradise on earth to them, that was where the 9/11 attacks were planned.

Based on reality, I would suggest that they hold that the entire world must become Umma. Further, their rantings suggest that their Umma is not their goal, except in an intermediate sense.

They want all of us to submit to their Moon God, and to them. If we will not, then they will kill us, as and when they can.

Of course, if that is their goal, and they say it is, then no compromise is possible, and we must kill then as and when we will, right?


Since the umma is all the faithful, Afghanistan was, for al Qaeda, only a base from which to strike. The Taliban, interestingly, were not as interested in spreading Islamist revolution to other countries, but they were happy to collaborate with al Qaeda.

I'm not saying, "Give al Qaeda what it wants," the keys to the kingdom--of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE...I _am_ saying that their interest in (1) hurting the United States, and (2) nuclear weapons as a way of inflicting that hurt, is as means, not ends.


The US is the “far enemy” for Jihadis. Bin Laden has proved with 9-11 that strikes against the far enemy may be difficult but are justified by their RoI. Bin Laden’s cause has advanced rapidly due to our mistimed invasion of Iraq. In America I'd worry more about them hitting the still largely unprotected chemical plants rather than nukes. I’d also worry about nukes too but if terrorists get one it might well get used on the ”near enemy” first and the most likely target is Moscow.


I think you've really expressed the ground truth here. Too many "experts" think that because nuclear terrorism might occur, it WILL occur, and they bet on the come in the near term. They need to examine what each terrorist group wants and what their strategy is, and nuking American cities is not going to advance their goals.

I don't worry about US chemical production sites or nuclear power plants at all. We've had them around for decades, and no Bhopal. I think there's a reason, first because it's not as easy as the fear-mongers say it is, and second, it's not in the best interests of any terrorist except the appocaliptic ones. If the FBI can interdict the crazies before they hit, all is well. If they don't, I'm not convinced the damage will be that bad. Look at that train wreck in South Carolina (or was it Georgia?). Tens of thousands of chlorine gas spills out, only eight die from the gas effects.

Nuclear terrorism makes for great movies and TV plots but not for reality (unless you're a contractor trying to get some DHS funds).



ali - good link and interesting article, thanks. As for this: "In a May 2003 report, CIA analysts claim that there is a high probability that there may be a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear (CRBN) attack within the next two years."

Somewhere I can dig up the same exact quote in SecDef Bill Cohen's testimony to Congress in the 1990s. And I can also get a DCI quote in the late 1980s to Congress saying "within the next five years." When do we hold these guys to be more factual and less scaremongers? I have no respect for their assessments anymore.

Steven D

I think your analysis is insightful with respect to foreign terrorist groups, but not necessarily with regard to domestic ones. How soon we forget that the largest terrorist attack on our country before 9/11 involved the home grown version of terrorism.

I believe that those folks would be more than happy to use a nuclear weapon if they could get their hands on one. It's quite possible that domestic terrorists were behind the anthrax attacks (which are still unsolved, and have never been claimed by Al Queda).


Good point, Steven. The evidence on the anthrax attacks strongly suggest domestic origins, with a rather half-baked attempt to point the finger at foreign groups.


A bit more scaremongering:
In the US, as in the American built plant in Bhopal,the production systems are designed to cope with sudden peaks of demand and so with very rapid production in mind the vats are huge.

I’ve been in a chemical accident myself. One small drum of acid got speared by a forklift leaked onto some other stuff and produced an acrid cloud that covered several city blocks. It was no worse than tear gas and didn’t kill anyone put a few people in hospital though.

Dick Clark recently gave a talk where he imagined looking back from 2011 on the US Jihadi campaign; this featured amongst other things an executive jet Kamikazi strike on a Chemical plant.

Given that the typical part of the profile of a Jihadi is a technical degree, I don’t think it is beyond their wit to kill their way into a plant take hostage’s noddy suit up and methodically C4 every vat they find, not hard if they’ve got “Compressed Gas Chlorine” painted on them in foot high letters. Logistically this is an immensely simpler operation than the highly detectable, loony tune 9-11 plan. Even if the vats are empty they’d still destroy real estate values (yes it’s that frightening) within a 14 mile radius of anything that looks like a chemical plant, bring the US Chemical industry to its knees as it retools its shutdown production lines, and all the industries that depend on it.

In EU there have long been strict regulations that only allow small amounts of dangerous chemicals to be stockpiled; no such regulations exist in the US, post 9-11 I find this surprising. It suggests that DC is placing the interests of industry lobby groups well in front of defending its citizens; that of course would be nothing new.


Another point about loose nukes: why not nuke the US in such a way as to lay the blame on someone else? There would be no point in using such a strategy against most of the EU, but the US might be expected to give an extreme reaction. (Recall our treatment of Germany and Japan during the air war phase of WW2.)

So while Jihadis MIGHT NOT want to use them on us directly, they might have good reason to do so INdirectly. After all, the time-warn theory behind much of terrorist activity is to create an over-reaction that increases the number of people who agree with the terrorists.


Can you answer a few questions for me? It is for a project that is due by the end of my school year.

Who are the terrorists?
What have they done since WWII?
Where are they strongest?
What do they want?
Should we give it to them? (should america give it to them)

I really need this information. I have been searching the entire web for these answers and haven't really found was I was searching for. If you can help me, please email me at [email protected]


Just a thought...

But the group Aum Shinryko (or however you spell it), the group who released nerve gas into the Tokyo underground system, were rumoured to be working on nuclear weapon technology.

Seeing as how they are allegedly a doomsday group, should we be terrified? (UK)

james mcmullen

i think terrists are homosexual and should all go commit.

james mcmullen

i think terrists are homosexual and should all go commit.

james mcmullen

terrists are gay. all should go die.


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