The terrorist loser culture

Ann Marlowe:

Sitting on the dusty flightline at Forward Op erating Base Lagman in the Afghan hinterlands, what could make better leisure reading than the November issue of Inspire -- the English-language magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula?

The lavishly illustrated, 23-page PDF, is a "special issue" devoted to the attempted toner-cartridge bombings via UPS deliveries from Yemen. Besides a page taunting Yemen's president, the issue focuses on how the explosives were prepared, how difficult they are to detect and how economically the plot was accomplished.

Of course, none of the bombs mailed to out-of-date addresses for Chicago synagogues actually made it anywhere near Chicago.

Inspire explains the elaborate allusions to Crusader history behind the fake names on the labels ("Reynald Krak" and "Diego Diaz"). The bombmakers even dropped a copy of Dickens' "Great Expectations" in one of the packages.

This self-congratulatory spiel gets at just what is wrong with the general jihadi enterprise, and even more broadly, with much of the Islamic world. There is a combination, odd to Western eyes, of a veneer of sophistication about how Western society works, along with profound misunderstandings that lead to dysfunction.

First, someone who had spent some time in the West and kept his eyes open would know that packages to synagogues are apt to get more attention than those sent to most offices or private addresses. Second, the names don't jibe with the addresses. "Abe Cohen," yes; "Diego Diaz," try again.

Finally, and most interestingly, the time spent on masturbatory pursuits like selecting a Dickens novel for the package might have been better put to work ensuring the scheme actually worked.

But this method of operating is typical of the inward-turning, self-involved culture of jihadis -- and more broadly, the Islamic world. Perhaps it explains why there has been no successful attack on the American homeland since 9/11. Plotters are too busy nursing grievances from the Crusades to get the details right.


But the culture of resentment that cradled al Qaeda is turned fatally in on itself.

Here in dirt-poor Zabul -- a historic bastion of Taliban support, where perhaps 1 percent of the male population is literate, where the last culturally important native son, the poet Sheikh Mati, has been dead 700 years -- the bankruptcy of fundamentalist Islam is glaringly clear. And we truly have a lot to be thankful for, in being born Americans, with the culture that entails.
The failures of the Muslim culture have certainly benefited us in this war. It is essentially a parasitic culture when it comes to attacking us. The toner cartridges they used had to be imported and emptied for use. They could never develop something like a toner cartridge that actually allowed someone to print their thoughts on paper. Nor could they have produced the PDF files used to brag about their bomb without using western technology.


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