Saturday, September 14, 2013

Al Qaeda Plan to Drain US Economy - Did Fall of Soviet Union Result From Similar US Policy?

In an audio speech a day after the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, called on Muslims to carry out a “a few disparate attacks” on American soil and to “bleed America economically,”.. NY Times, Attack U.S., Qaeda Chief Tells Muslims in a Speech
For those of us in the 70s and 80s calling for a shift in US defense spending into social services like education, the "iron curtain" scare tactics were wearing thin. It was so obvious that the Soviet Union had major weaknesses that made it much less of a threat than the military-industrial complex was pushing.

Of course, our maximum union leader, Al Shanker, was totally invested in pushing the "military first" line even of schools were being starved for funds. When he endorsed war-hawk Scoop Jackson for President I made what I consider my best speech at the Delegate Assembly in opposition where I pointed that we cannot have guns and butter and Shanker was choosing guns over the UFT membership's best interests.

Then came the Afghanistan invasion by the Soviets in 1979, a 10-year disaster that sapped their economy and was the final nail in their coffin. American strategy at the time was to help drain the well by supporting insurgent elements, notably a guy named Osama and his pal Zawahri.
“We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure,” Mr. Zawahri said, according to the SITE translation quoted in news reports.

They learned their lessons from the successful US strategy in undermining and draining the Soviet Union. The Al Qaeda terrorist strategy aimed at the US was to do exactly as we did to the Soviets. Starve the economy. Though the US economy is/was so much stronger than the Soviets were in 1979 when the Afghan war began, we have seen some serious erosion. Money to defense and security (just look at TSA) has skyrocketed while school systems all over the nation are starved, as one example.
Echoing some of his past themes, Mr. Zawahri laid out a strategy involving economic pressures and terrorist attacks to wage “war on its own land” against the United States and to force Washington to maintain high levels of military spending to weaken its economy.
“And keeping America in tension and anticipation only costs a few disparate attacks here and there, meaning as we defeated it in the gang warfare in Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan, so we should follow it with that war on its own land,” he added, referring to places where Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been active.
He said such strikes could be carried out “by one brother or a few of the brothers” in anticipation of a bigger attack, apparently an acknowledgment that a diminished Al Qaeda no longer feels able to carry out major attacks itself in the short term.
“With these strikes, we must monitor and lie in wait and seize any opportunity to land a large strike on it, even if it takes years of patience for this,” he said, citing April’s attack at the Boston Marathon.
“The Boston incident confirms to the Americans the extent of their lying and tricking of themselves and their arrogance from accepting the truth that is as bright as the sun, which is that they are not facing individuals, organizations or groups, but they are facing an uprising” by a Muslim world “that rose in jihad to defend its soul, dignity and capabilities.”
Mr. Zawahri also referred to the civil war in Syria, urging jihadists fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to withhold cooperation from secular foes of the Damascus authorities, apparently underlining a strategy to turn Syria into a bastion of Islamic militancy at the strategic heart of the Middle East.
I find it hard to believe there are ways to stop this movement. As we saw in Boston this can happen anytime, anywhere and costs enormous amounts of money that drain the nation from funding basic services.  Every secret and not so secret war the US gets involved in spurs more jihadists, as chronicled in such a disturbing way in Jeremy Scahill's "Dirty Wars."
Thus we get isolationism from both the right and left, which has the view that if we weren't there we wouldn't be such a target.
I guess a lot of this shapes my dystopian view of the world which includes climate change and locusts and the parting of the waters. I can honestly say I am very glad not to have kids who will have to face this future but I worry about those who do - though I don't say this out loud to them. And to be old enough that I may not be around to face it either -
If I sound grouchy it may be due to not having eaten in 16 hours, with another 8 to go. My stomach is feeling pretty dystopian itself.


  1. No doubt when one spends a day fasting and in contemplation, concerns become more focused and incites often occur.

    It seems to me that the Koch brothers, ALEC, some Supreme Court justices, etc. have the exact same goal as Al Qaeda: a Federal government that ONLY funds military and business owners.

  2. Yikes! Just read a comment to the Sept. 18, 2013 NY Times Editorial: The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis -

    This person wrote about Koch sponsored legislation that passed in Kansas. No doubt about their goal.

    Lawrence, Kansas

    This has already happened at the state level in Kansas in November 2012. Koch money funneled through various PACs and the Chamber of Commerce decimated the ranks of moderate Republican office holders in Kansas. As payback our governor and the new ultraconservative (libertarian) legislators pushed through a bill that eliminated state income taxes on sole proprietorships, partnerships and LLC's and raised the (regressive) sales tax. Surprise. Surprise. Koch Industries based in Wichita is a partnership, not a corporation. So the next big surprise is that state revenues are down significantly.

    A coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats spent generations providing good government, good schools and public universities, good roads and decent support for the poor and disabled. We're now living off the taxes our parents and grandparents paid.


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