I Knew the Numbers
I knew the numbers. I knew how many had died, this time. When I saw the report about the hostage situation in Russia on BBC World News late last week, my first reaction was to channel-surf away, though when I'm home in time to watch the show, I customarily do so, all the way through.
I surfed away to some inane, innocuous program like Crocodile Hunter, but my partner protested; she'd not read about the story as thoroughly as I had. So we went back, and saw images. Not words, not numbers, but images of these kids running from the school half-naked (I still have not heard any reasons behind the kids not being clothed), and images of mothers waiting and hoping outside the school. The school where hundreds of adults and children were killed.
And I had to leave the room and head outside for a smoke when I heard the reporter announce that Putin was keeping in place his "hard-line" approach to terrorists.
We will hunt them down and kill them in their caves.
Where have we heard that before?
It was not just the images of despairing relatives and terrified children that made me flee; that, sadly, I can handle more and more lately.
Rather, it was the assertion that Putin would be working on the same basis that Bush has been working on. The same basis that kills at least a couple of American soldiers daily, and often dozens of Iraqi civilians who are just trying to live their lives.
The realization that both the US and Russia are in the hands of such men, whose only answer is to kill more, moved me to tears and sent me away from the news to kill a few more lung cells.
Anyway. Emotion aside, for the moment, the Russia atrocity
does in fact seem to be al-Qaeda related:
ALL the evidence now indicates that the attack on the school in southern Russia was months in the planning and executed by ruthless and professional terrorists who had funding from Al-Qaeda.
Like Al-Qaeda's militants who carried out the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, a number of cells apparently spent extended periods organising the spectacular Beslan attack.
The school seige, as well as the simultaneous attacks that brought down two Russian planes a week before, bear the hallmarks that have come to define global Islamic terror, which were highlighted in the official Sept 11 report: Extensive preparations, perfect coordination, the use of suicide bombers, heavy surveillance and possible rehearsals.
And this simply raises the question, again: What do the neocons mean when they say that we are winning against al-Qaeda? Could someone please define "al-Qaeda" in concrete terms for me?
It is a network of fanatics. It has "higher-ups" in charge of such things. But it is a loosely gathered set of cells with a generally similar point of view that tends to involve violence against the West.
And it seems to me that the more the West supposedly strikes at al Qaeda by attacking the wrong targets, such as Iraq, the more we serve to transform al Qaeda from a recognizable organization into a general ideological movement. And when the entirety, or the majority, or even a sizeable portion of the Muslim world can identify with the label "al-Qaeda," we've lost.
For decades, at least, and likely for generations.