Now that John McCain has virtually cinched the GOP Presidential nomination, almost if it were on cue, the chief of the US Northern Command, Air Force General Gene Renuart has warned that “Al Qaeda terrorists may be plotting more urgently to attack the United States.” The timing of the warning is perfect, allowing McCain to continue with his campaign of fear and harping on the danger of terrorism. If he doesn’t have a viable plan to salvage the economy, secure the southern border, and a host of issues the GOP refuses to address, then only one path is left, and that’s to use the tactics of fear and intimidation. The problem is, General Renuart’s warning doesn’t make sense once you add-up the facts and what we know of Al Qaeda:
U.S. commander warns on al Qaeda plotting
# “I think it would be imprudent of us to let down our guard,” says Renuart
# “Tangible results” are needed to maintain credibility, recruit more, Renuart says
# U.S. intelligence analysts in July concluded al Qaeda had rebuilt operating capability
WASHINGTON (AP) — Al Qaeda terrorists may be plotting more urgently to attack the United States to maintain their credibility and ability to recruit followers, the U.S. military commander in charge of domestic defense said Thursday.
Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command, also told reporters he has not seen any direct threats tied to the U.S. presidential elections. But he said it would be rash to think that such threats are not there.
“We need only to look at Spain and see that they’re certainly willing to try to do something that is significant that could affect an election process,” Renuart said. “I think it would be imprudent of us to let down our guard believing that if there’s no credible threat that you know of today, there won’t be something tomorrow.”
While he said that U.S. authorities have thwarted attacks on a number of occasions, he said terrorist cells may be working harder than ever to plot high-impact events. He did not point to any specific intelligence that authorities have received but said the “chatter” they are hearing “gives me no reason to believe they’re going to slow down” in their efforts to target the U.S. MORE
In this particular article, even though it’s contradictory and ambiguous, CNN printed what are obvious discrepancies and anyone paying close attention to this story is left scratching their heads - left to surmise for themselves if there really is an enhanced danger of terrorist attacks on the US Mainland. More than one opinion is expressed, and even those are contradictory and vague.
General Renuart correctly states that the Al Qaeda attacks in Spain did alter their Presidential election - and Spain elected a government that was opposed to the Iraq War and quickly changed course on their country’s Iraq policy. From an operational standpoint, Al Qaeda was successful and read the Spanish political climate perfectly - and for their purposes, the attack on Spain was a complete success. In addition to impacting the Spanish Presidential election, they also sent a message to other European countries that are American allies - making many hesitant to back US Mid-Eastern policies. When we look at NATO’s rules of engagement in Afghanistan, most of NATO’s troops are out of harms way, while British, American, and Canadian troops are doing the bulk of the fighting. NATO policies such as those being displayed in Afghanistan indicate that while they may state they support the “mission”, it appears that support comes with a caveat; that NATO isn’t willing to commit and deploy their troops and directly engage Al Qaeda and the Taliban; I believe this is a move that is designed to minimize the threat of terror attacks on their own soil. Their support is there, but not where it’s really needed - and not where their own troops face the danger that Americans, Canadians, and the British face on a daily basis.
Back to the Spanish Presidential election; I believe General Renuart’s rationale is dead wrong! Ask yourselves what a massive Al Qaeda attack on American soil would accomplish for Al Qaeda? In Spain, it changed the country’s support of America in the Iraq War - exactly what Al Qaeda wanted. Al Qaeda’s stated goal is to force the “infidels” out of the Middle-East through any tactic that’s imaginable, and we’ve seen the brutality and death those attacks result in - and now we have our own Presidential elections rapidly approaching. The American public has expressed their disapproval of George W. Bush and his failed Middle-East policies, and Democratic candidates, Presidential and otherwise are likely to sweep the 2008 elections. Whether it’s Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who is elected to the White House, we can expect sweeping policy changes that will work to correct the damage wrought upon us by the Bush administration, so “who” would benefit from a spectacular Al Qaeda attack prior to the general election?
It’s my opinion that an Al Qaeda attack on the US prior to the Presidential elections would be counter-productive to Al Qaeda itself, and we know they closely monitor our politics, just as they do throughout the world. A massive terrorist attack prior to our Presidential elections would all but guarantee that John (McBush) McCain would win the election as Americans reeled in fear and outrage - and demanded swift retaliation! An attack of the magnitude that rivaled or surpassed 911 would guarantee the northern tribal areas of Pakistan would be turned into a wasteland, and I’m sure Iran would somehow find themselves in the cross-hairs of an angry America. In short - it would alter our elections, but not in a way that was beneficial to Al Qaeda or the Taliban - so why would they even consider such an attack?
In the same article, CNN noted that:
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff raised eyebrows when he said he had a “gut feeling” that the United States faced a heightened risk of attack.
On Thursday, however, Chertoff said the U.S. has successfully lowered the risk of a large-scale domestic terrorist attack for the near future. (Emphasis added.)
Our southern border has been porous and an easy entry point for people, large-scale shipments of drugs, and none of us are aware of what has been transported through the numerous underground tunnels that have been discovered between the Mexican/Us Border. We know that Al Qaeda has successfully infiltrated the US through our southern border, so how has Mr. Chertoff and Homeland Security “successfully lowered the risk of a large-scale domestic terrorist attack for the near future.”? Mr. Chertoff went on to state that terrorists are attacking European targets because of our enhanced “traveler screening” but fails to give the southern border an honorable mention; as much as this lapse in our security has been publicized, are we to believe that an enemy that has vowed to destroy our country is ignoring the easiest access into our nation?
Reading CNN’s article raises more questions than it answers, but one factor is abundantly clear. As we move closer to our own Presidential elections, it’s obvious the GOP will use tactics of fear and intimidation in an attempt to continue President Bush’s policies, and unfortunately, I believe this is only the opening salvo in a series of threats, innuendo, and exaggerated fears of Al Qaeda attacks that will intensify as the election approaches - and somehow, the public has to figure out how to differentiate fact from fiction.