Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Armageddon Factory

Maybe I’m too cynical at times. I read the newspapers, or watch the TV news, and my first instinct is to wonder how I am being manipulated.

Take that story about the dentist-turned-terrorist Sohail Qureshi who was jailed for four and a half years last week. Most of the newspapers were suggesting that his sentence was too mild, adding that he was likely to be free in a year.

But what actual threat was he?

He was caught boarding a flight with several thousand pounds in cash strapped about his body, with optical night-vision lenses and police batons in his bag, along with two sleeping bags, two rucksacks, some medical supplies and a removable hard drive containing US army combat manuals.

He pleaded guilty to possessing articles for terrorist purposes and to possessing a record of information likely to be useful to terrorists.

So it’s obvious, by his own admission, that he was bent upon some violent act. No doubt he deserved to go to prison.

He had also been in contact with Samina Malik, the so-called “lyrical terrorist”.

Several of the news programmes referred to him as “an al-Qaida operative”. Apparently he had been on a training camp once. One newspaper described him as “a hate-filled fanatic”, while another said that he planned “to fight against British and American troops in Afghanistan”.

It was at this point that I spluttered into my tea.

He’s a dentist. What’s he going to do: pull their teeth out? Even assuming he has actually had some training, how, exactly, is he going to fight British and American troops using police batons, sleeping bags and rucksacks?

I’m trying to imagine what sort of action he might have been planning. I have a picture of him charging down a hill spinning a sleeping bag over his head while wielding his trusty baton. He would have been able to do this at night, of course, being equipped with the night-vision lenses.

OK. He had money. Maybe he was going to buy weapons. He could probably get one or two Kalashnikovs for that money, plus maybe some grenades and a pistol. Perhaps there was even a brigade of Taliban troops waiting to meet him somewhere on the Afghan border.

You have to ask, however: what use would a dentist from Forest Gate be to the Taliban, those battle-hardened mountain-men, many of whom have known nothing but war all their lives? He wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

But it’s the comparison of resources that clarifies the real truth behind this story.

The day after Sohail Qureshi was sentenced the Americans were in action on the outskirts of Baghdad, attacking so-called al-Qaida targets.

They dropped 40,000 lbs of explosives in a forty minute blitz using F16 fighters and B1 bombers.

A B1 bomber costs $283.1 million. The US Air Force has 100 of them. Each 500lb bomb costs $283.50, making the cost of one forty minute operation, in ordinance alone, nearly $23,000.

There are currently 1,055,734 American soldiers on active duty around the world. US arms spending amounts to 48% of the world total. US soldiers are the best equipped in the world, each one having large quantities of deadly, sophisticated weaponry at their disposal….. probably including night sights and sleeping bags.

The idea that a crazed dentist from Forest Gate, an addled poetess from Southall and a few other nutters can be considered a threat to world peace compared to the Armageddon factory that is the United States is, of course, a fantasy.

Please click on the following link for a mind-boggling article from Rolling Stone magazine on the economic reasons behind the war in Iraq. Has the American state finally gone completely crazy? Here is the evidence...


Anonymous said...

So what exactly are you trying to say ? Sohail Qureshi should be set free because he is a foreigner and anti-American ? Yes, of course, he's another innocent Moslem being persecuted by the nasty white people.

There might well be "1,055,734 American soldiers on active duty around the world" but not one of them is going to get on a bus in London and blow people to bits. How would you feel if this happened to one of your family ?

And before you no doubt condemn me as a "fascist" or something, no, I don't support Bush or what the Yanks have done in Iraq or Afghanistan.

CJ Stone said...

Sohail Qureshi certainly deserved his punishment. As for American troops: while they are not killing innocents in London, they are doing in Iraq, and by the hundreds of thousands. See the counter on the blog for the current estimate (over a million) and read the link to find out the REAL reasons for the war in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I just want to say that you are an intelligent man, an engaging writer, and that I largely agree with a lot of what you have to say.

The dilemma in the UK at the moment rests on:
1. An increasing number of tabloid reading proletarian racists who think that every Muslim is a potential terrorist and should be thrown out of the country.
2. A hardcore of politically correct, old school Lefties who refuse to believe that there is a terrorist threat to the UK purely because the government says so. Furthermore, they take the perverse attitude that anyone who is an enemy of our enemy (eg Qureshi) should be treated as a friend.

The truth is that there *is* a terrorist threat to the UK but that it's very small and the number of terrorists is tiny. It's merely a case of rooting them out and having real evidence to convict them.

What is increasingly sad is that we are still living in a world in which people kill other people in the name of gods which quite clearly do not exist.

CJ Stone said...

Who said Qureshi should be treated as a friend? I was just pointing out how - relatively speaking - little threat he poses. Off to fight the American army. He's obviously a lunatic. The main point was to do with the Taliban. Why on earth does anyone think they'd want anything to do with him?