Georgia10's open thread today made mention of the arrest of 17 young men in Canada who were apparently plotting to destroy the Toronto office of the Canadian intelligence agency, and perhaps some other buildings.
Georgia10 made an excellent point about this issue isn't making any conservatives talk about security on our northern border. That much is true. I'm also on the mailing list of a conservative who was a former neighbor of my relatives, though--and based on what I've received from him (with full links to Michelle Malkin) they're using this incident in Canada as "proof" of the validity of their approach in the "war on terror."
The response to this incident in Canada will have repercussions on our national security policy. The Republicans will want to take advantage of the Canada incident to keep the public scared--much to their electoral advantage, if they succeed. It's up to us not to let them do that.
The first, and most immediately obvious, point is border and port security. What if these people didn't actually want to attack sites in Canada? What if they had wanted to smuggle it into the United States? How difficult would it have been for them to do so? And given that this isn't the first terror plot to come from Canada, what is being done to tighten the security on our northern border?
On equal footing with border security are the implications for the continued application of the current "GWOT" policies. The subject line of the email I received from my conservative contact is: "But wait--I thought Canada was against the war."
The conservatives have made a habit, using completely convoluted and outright false logic, of attempting to refute our well-founded claims that the invasion of Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism, rather than decreased it. Bush said (I distinctly remember the quote, but I can't find the link--help me out?) that some people were saying that our mission in Iraq had encouraged terrorism, but he reminded us that we weren't in Iraq on 9/11. Well, that obviously false logic is going to be perpetuated by the conservative movement in the face of this incident in Canada.
They're going to say that this incident in Canada proves that Islamic fundamentalism is brutal, ruthless and indiscriminate, and that the only way to deal with it is the way they're dealing with it, and that anything else constitutes appeasement. Don't let them get away with it.
Is Islamic fundamentalism brutal and indiscriminate? Yes. This incident certainly demonstrates that. You'd have a hard time figuring out what exactly it was that Canada--one of the most liberal societies on earth--did to this young men. And they should be punished to the fullest extent of Canadian law for whatever it was that they were planning.
But I can tell you this much: I have serious doubts about whether this young men in Canada would have decided to engage in terrorism--if in fact they did--if the overall flames of fundamentalism had not been fanned and stoked with such loving care by the policies of our current administration. John Kerry made mention on Thursday of how the tragedy of 9/11 gave us a rare opportunity, and he certainly hasn't been the only one to say it. We had a chance to bring the world together afterwards, and use our aggrieved moral authority to bring other nations together to combat totalitarian fundamentalism.
But we didn't--and I would argue that our failure to do so leads to situations like the one in Canada. I'm not even going to talk about the geopolitical national security implications of our failures in Afghanistan. I'm not going to get into the broader implications of Shi'ite Southern Iraq's new alliance with Iran. I instead want to touch on the reaction that the needless death of countless tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens is going to create. I want to touch on what Haditha will do. What Isahaqi will do, regardless of whether our soldiers were cleared of wrongdoing in the massacre. Let's talk about Abu Ghraib. Bagram. Gitmo.
And then let's talk about committing all these atrocities at the same time was our leaders try to force the exertion of an increased amount of religious control over our live. When Christian fundamentalist discourse becomes an integral part of the speeches of our leaders as they justify the foggy cloud of actions that conceals, if only temporarily, the worst in humankind committed in our name, and gives legitimacy to its continuance. Let's talk about what can happen when one of our top generals openly declares that we are conducting a sectarian war.
For any conservatives that are reading this piece, right now, YES. I proudly declare my belief that the policies of the Bush administration were probably a significant contributor to the rise of this homegrown terrorism in Canada.
So why did these homegrown terrorists want to assault Canada? Because it's the West, and these young men and teenagers we're really smart enough to distinguish between us and Canada. Canada is the West to them, and it doesn't really matter if Canada assisted with the invasion of Iraq or not. Bin Laden said (and again, I remember that this was printed in the L.A. Times, but I can't find it) that Al-Qaeda would never attack Finland, so obviously Bush was lying about Al Qaeda hating America's freedom. By extension, I assume that Bin Laden would also never attack Canada. But these homegrown terrorists are merely lashing out, without the sophistication to analyze the political consequences. They're following through with the next salvo on the "war of civilizations"--a conflict brought about in large part by the actions of our administration.
The conservatives will also use this to justify warrantless NSA surveillance. But you can't let them do that either--because we all know that communications between the United States and Canada can be monitored with 72-hour rubber-stamp post-facto approval from the FISA court, and that warrants are easily obtainable to monitor domestic surveillance.
In short, the Republicans and the Dominionists will try to use this incident in Canada to reverse our efforts to make the American public see the evil consequences of their policies. They will talk about this in their terms. We need to talk about it in ours.
Don't let them get away with it.
[Cross-posted on Daily Kos]