FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Faisal McBomber

by JAYNE LYN STAHL

If, as the New York Times now reports, Faisal Shahzad, the 30 year old who allegedly planted a car bomb in the back of an SUV in Times Square over the weekend, was trained by the Pakistani Taliban, then the U.S. has nothing to fear from the Taliban in Pakistan. At this rate, we might even have to go back to fighting the Russians.

What is haunting is not just the facility with which this fiasco was carried out, but the lingering image of a good looking, clean-shaven, smiling young man in sunglasses beaming as he’s being hauled off in a police car. Clearly, he was having his 15 seconds of fame. I don’t know about you, but if I were just charged with an act of terror, I’m not sure I’d be smiling like Faisal was. It was as if he was posing for the cover of GQ.

The alacrity with which he gave it all up, with or without a side order of Miranda, is also a bit baffling. Did part of his reported training by Pakistani extremists inspire him to have a loose tongue?

More chilling, though, is the idea that what was to be a weapon of mass destruction was so easily acquired in a Connecticut parking lot for such a paltry sum, $1800, and in such a benign way by responding to an ad on Craigslist.

But, let’s not forget that Shahzad is a card carrying American citizen who went to school for his MBA here, owned a house an hour and a half away from New York City, even went into debt to the tune of $200,000 here. He’s as American as the guy operating the hotdog stand on Eighth Avenue only blocks away from where the Nissan Path finder was parked.

Chilling, no doubt, for his father, too, a retired Air Force officer in Pakistan, who must be glad for one thing. At least he didn’t encourage his son to train to be a rocket scientist because a rocket scientist he is not.

A rocket scientist would not pile a bunch of explosives into a car, set a detonator to go off, and then leave the keys in the car. A rocket scientist would have hid his tracks better. A rocket scientist might even have used a drone to accomplish the dastardly deed.

I guess it’s not called an act of terrorism to blow up a house full of civilians in Karachi with a remote control bombing machine, and all in the name of fighting a war on terror. Drones have been active in Pakistan for months now.

The past eight years, if nothing else, have shown that not only have we taught the world a thing or two about fast food, big Macs, and McMansions; not only have we shown the world that bigger is better, but we’ve shown them that bad is better, too. When we conduct a secret war in a country that we say is training terrorists, we have abandoned the moral high ground.

We have abandoned the moral high ground, too, the day a U.S. interrogator decided to immerse a detainee’s head under water to simulate drowning in defiance of international law; the moral high ground was surrendered, too, the day elected officials were immunized from war crimes charges by the Military Commissions Act; the day we decided to bypass habeas corpus, and tweak the public discourse such that Miranda is now optional with the vehicle.

Bill Maher recently told CNN that it’s not that terrorists hate the U.S. that makes them want to destroy us, but that they like us too much. How right he is. We’ve taught them too well.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

WORDS THAT STICK

 

More articles by:

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail