Monday, August 21, 2006

Bomb Plot or Political Plot?

Kevin Drum sees something suspicious in the latest airplane terror plot:
These guys, on the contrary, "had not attended terror-training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan and had relied on information gleaned from text books on how to make bombs." ....

So: was this a serious conspiracy? .... Was it about winning elections? Building public support for draconian security legislation? Plain old bureaucratic incompetence?

One of the alleged plotters, El-Nashar, had a doctorate in chemistry from a university in Leeds. Does Mr. Drum really believe that British education is so bad that this person wouldn't know how to make an explosive without receiving additional training in Pakistan?

Similarly, at Time, Andrew Sullivan wonders if Lieberman's primary defeat had anything to do with the decision to round up the suspects in this "alleged" plot.

The alleged Lieberman connection seems particularly strained: Is the outcome of a Democratic primary really that important to Bush and Rove? Would Pakistan and Britain really participate in such a scheme over a mere primary election in a small US state? If this was a grand conspiracy, wouldn't it have made more sense to unveil it before the primary when it could have made a difference rather than after?

If all the terror plots are phony, then, of course, there would be no need for wiretap international phone calls or for more intrusive airport screening procedures. Politics would then be much simpler.

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