Thursday, August 10, 2006

Terror plot disrupted: British police arrest 21 suspects

Something oddly familiar about the latest GWOT news. As I've watched CNN, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and DHS Michael Chertoff discussed how a law enforcement investigation foiled an imminent plot to blow up planes inbound from the UK or outside the US. New details from British authorities said that electronic devices such as iPods or key fobs could have been used to detonate a liquid or gel explosive disguised as Gatorade or in toiletries. They were banning airline passengers from bringing such items in carry-on bags onto flights. The plan involved "mass murder on an imaginable scale" on as many as 10 planes. Law enforcement officials believe that the British-born suspects in custody may have ties to al Qaeda and some of the would-be terrorists were of Pakistani descent. The plot was reminiscent of a 1990s conspiracy that targeted jumbo jetliners, to explode them as they flew over the ocean. President Bush took a moment during his travels to state that the plot was a "stark reminder that there is still a war...that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any hurt our nation."

I can't put my finger on it...but, something seems very familiar. Oh, yes, now I remember. Is the GWOT a "war" or a global law enforcement and intelligence gathering effort?


British police acted urgently overnight, arresting 21 people who were plotting to carry liquid explosives onto as many as 10 jetliners in what U.S. government officials said privately could have been the biggest terrorist attack since 9/11.
Information gathered after recent arrests in Pakistan convinced British investigators they had to act urgently to stop the plot, sources told CNN.
--CNN, Air travel in chaos after terror threat 'busted', August 10, 2006
...they are really misleading all of America, Tom, in a profound way. The war on terror is less -- it is occasionally military...
But it's primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world...
--John Kerry, Transcript: Democratic Candidates Debate in South Carolina, moderator Tom Brokaw, Janary 29, 2004

...Senator Kerry has questioned whether the war on terror is really a war at all. Recently he said, and I quote, "I don't want to use that terminology." In his view, opposing terrorism is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law enforcement operation. As we have seen, however, that approach was tried before, and proved entirely inadequate to protecting the American people from the terrorists who are quite certain they are at war with us - and are comfortable using that terminology.
--Vice President Dick Cheney, Remarks by the Vice President at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, March 17, 2004
Terrorism is not a law enforcement matter, as John Kerry repeatedly says. Terrorist activities are not like gambling. Terrorist activities are not like prostitution. And this demonstrates a disconcerting pre-September 11 mindset that will not make our country safer. And that is what we see relative to winning the war on terror and relative to Iraq."
-- Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie, on CBS' "Face the Nation, CNN, Bush campaign to base ad on Kerry terror quote, October 11, 2004

Isn't it ironic that good old-fashioned police work and intelligence gathering would foil a terrorist plot and stop a "mass murder" from occurring?

So why did we invade Iraq exactly?

UPDATE: Of course, I didn't raise the question of whether the non-stop GWOT news currently hyped on all the TV channels is a political manipulation. Is it Real or is it Spiel? Banish the thought. American leaders would never do such a thing.

UPDATE II: Ivo Daalder at TPM Cafe makes the case, "...more proof that America and the world need to stay the course in their global war on terror. But, of course, it proves no such thing."

And in the comment thread at FDL, McGee @ 51 snips a response from former CIA analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who's stuck in Europe, watching British Authorities meltdown in the face of an alleged terrorist plot.