The Department of Homeland Security has raised the level threat level to severe for the aviation sector. The severe or red level is the highest level on the terror threat warning system.
Everybody panic! Assume crash position! The terrorists are plotting....
British police on Thursday said they foiled a plot to blow up several aircraft flying between Britain and the United States in what Washington said might have been an attempted al-Qaeda strike.
Oh, um, hunh.
So the British foil a terrorist plot and the Americans raise the terror alert. Boy howdy, our guys are paying attention now! Glad we're so on top of things.
I'd have to imagine that if Bush had played football instead of being a cheerleader, he'd have grabbed the ball after one of his team-mates scored a touchdown and spiked it. Yeah! Go me!
Seriously, we're always raising the terror alert after the fact, never before-hand. Or else at politically convenient times.
But there are more important things going on.
A suicide bomber has killed at least 35 people and injured 122 near a highly revered Shi'ite shrine in southern Iraq.
The bomber blew himself up while being patted down by police near the Imam Ali mosque in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, said Dr Munthir al Ithari, the head of Najaf's health directorate.
Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, a Shi'ite, denounced the bombing as a "barbaric massacre" by extremists seeking to inflame sectarian passions.
A suicide bombing in Iraq, and once again, they're not directing their attacks toward us: they're directing them toward each other. Gen. John Abizaid, USCENTCOM/CC, said, “The sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it, in Baghdad in particular. ... If not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.” Again, stating the possibility of an already existing condition. Like the terror plots. Like everything else, they're a day late and a dollar short.
But does that really matter, anymore? We cannot avert a civil war that is already in force. We can either pick sides or sit in the middle of the cross-fire. Or else we can leave and let them hash it out among themselves. None of these is a good option. We've unleashed hell in Iraq and we're incapable of fixing it. But let's examine the possibilities:
- Pick sides. This is the only course to true "victory"; choose a side that we feel will be friendly toward our interests and run a hard military campaign to ensure that this side wins. The upside is that it has the best chance of ending the conflict and moving forward to the future. The downside is that our military will likely have to kill millions of people, mostly civilians, in order to accomplish this task. We'd "win", but we'd become monsters of epic proportions. We'd go down in history with the worst of the worst, like Hitler and Pol Pot. While I think Bush or Cheney might go for this option, I don't think that any decent American wants to have our troops going around slaughtering people. At least I hope not.
- Sit in the cross-fire. This is the stupidest option. It accomplishes nothing, except giving the Iraqis targets to shoot at other than each other. It might help stave off some of the destruction that would ensue in a civil war, but it doesn't really accomplish anything.
- Get da fuck out. In an ideal world, this would cool off the tensions and allow Iraqis to peacefully forge their own future. I don't see that happening at this point, however. Maybe once upon a time. Maybe. I don't think leaving will make things worse like Bush claims, but I dont think it's going to make things better, either.
- Forge an alliance of bordering Muslim nations (Syria, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) to help Iraq come together and build a government for themselves, then get da fuck out. If the goal is to establish a western-style democracy, this would basically be conceding defeat. Check that: under any circumstances, this is conceding defeat. But this is where we're at, right now. We've lost. The best we can hope for is that the Iraqis will trust their neighbors more than they trust the U.S. or Britain. We can provide financial support to this alliance, and form it with the understanding that the goal is to give these border nations a peaceful neighbor, not to slice up the pie for themselves. I don't know if this is realistic or even possible, but I would hope that our leadership would give it a shot. It's the only option I can see for avoiding a major catastrophe in that region.
But hey: Joe Lieberman lost. And the Brits foiled a terror plot. So the news is not all bad.