Al-Qaida. Are we being bamboozeled?

At New York’s Kennedy airport today, an individual was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he believes the man to be a public school teacher and a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-gebra is a fearsome cult,” Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like “x” and “y” and refer to themselves as “unknowns,” but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

“As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle,” Ashcroft declared. When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes”.


OK. Remember the “Communist Threat” promoted by Henry Kissinger and Casper Weinberger prior to the downfall of the Soviets. It so happened that the Soviet apparatus fell on its own weight, even though the Republicans took the credit for the downfall of Communism in Soviet Union.

Subject of debate: While we “investigate” the reasons behind 9/11, are we being bamboozled by this administration and its “Homeland Security” with the “Terrorist Threat”, just as we were bamboozled by the previous Republican administrations about the “Soviet Threat”?

Errr, everyone here knows that I’m hardly the leader of the Dubya Fan club, but I find it difficult to believe the assertion that “the terrorist threat” itself is imaginary. After all, strings of terrorist bombings linked to Al Queda have occurred during the last year in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, and I’ve not seen any reason to doubt the official explanation for those attacks.

Now on the question of whether specific incidents such as the cancellation of airplane flights based on what turned out to be bad data is a honest attempt to prevent terrorism or an intentional distraction, I’ll at least accept that there’s room for debate.

Truly a fascinating question! I am gratified to be able to answer without hesitation. I have no friggin’ clue. And it bugs the crap out of me to have to rely for information on people who have already demonstrated either incompetence, mendacity, or a ghastly concoction of both.

Major leaders of Al Queda are getting caught. They are being disrupted, they are on the run, Oceania is in full retreat… I haven’t the slightest resource to ascertain the truth of any of this. They do seem rather lacadaisical for a band of cunning assassins bent on destroying out way of life, but, on the other hand, the Soviets never attacked at all, and we slept with a nuclear pistol under our pillow for forty years.

I honestly don’t see how a reasonable debate can be had here, Wake. Nobody knows anything. We don’t know anything but what we’re told, and we have no alternative sources that we can trust.

I don’t think Al Queda is the new Soviet Union. I think its the new Kayser Sozay. But I just think that, I can’t prove squat.

Amazing how the OP “resmebles” this site.

Truely a coincidence at which to marvel. :frowning:

If you talk to the slightly neurotic IRS guy I talked to tonight (in lieu of Ann Coulter, who obviously skipped our date again), they’re all in it together.


He says that the rules can be broken within virtually any government and within any financial institution. All that is required is complicity among those who have the most money and control the most people.

Since I view our current leadership as patriotic-bordering-on-criminal with a healthy dash of both ignorance and apathy, it sort of makes sense to me. What better way to ensure the safety of the American people than to make an elite circle of Americans capable of controlling the finances of the rest of the world.

Certainly their national allegiance will win out over that of money.

Well Terrorism does exist… does it warrant so many billions and bombs ? Hardly. Al Qaeda didn’t spring to life in 9/11… nor did Saddam. Also when will Al Qaeda be finished ? Never… there will always be “another” cell… another “Bin Laden” just over the horizon.

As for the Al-Gebra “terrorists”… I hated my 7th grade teacher and have never been able to do good math since… if Bush went after these evil teachers I might support him !! :slight_smile: Down with Math ! Long live Calculators !

[Moderator Hat ON]

The joke in the OP appears to be an excerpt of a longer bit seen in various places on the web. Since it’s short and not in full I think I’ll let it go under “fair use”.

[Moderator Hat OFF]

I hate the phrase “links to Al-Qaida”. Every time anything has been blown up in the last two years, they have trotted out the “links to al-qaida” phrase. What a load of crap. How exactly is every terrorist on earth linked to Al-Qaida? Does Al-Qaida do terrorism anymore, or do they just have big social events for terrorists from around the world? I really don’t believe that all terrorists have all the other terrorists phone numbers. I mean do you get…

“Hi, is that Osama. This is XXXX from the XXXX liberation army. We’ve accidentally double booked a suicide bombing on tuesday. Are you busy that day?”
The “links with al-qaida” phrase is just vague enough to mean absolutely nothing, whilst at the same time increasing the amount of menace (and power) that Al-Qaida has. I bet you could describe anyone or anything as having links with al-qaida if you spend all day playing “six degrees of Al-Qaida”.

What do you mean by that? That Al Qaeda doesn’t exist? Do elucidate.

Bamboozled? No, certainly not, the terrorist threat is real. Al-Qaida proved that when they hijacked 2 planes and flew them into the twin towers. In fact, they, and many other terrorist groups, proved the reality of the threat many decades ago, but nothing got quite the same publicity as 9/11.

On the other hand, I believe the threat to be greatly exaggerated, certainly to the west anyway. Even taking atrocities like 9/11 into account, your chances of being killed by a terrorist compared to, say, dieing in a car accident, are very small. We should be extreamely sceptical about wars being justified on the grounds of “fighting terrorism”, especially when they kill far more people than terrorist action. Sceptical, by the way, does not necessarily mean “opposed”.

However, its very difficult to objectively judge the threat that terrorist groups really pose to us. They may actually kill a comparatively small number of people, but they are really effective because of the fear they spread. That’s what the word “terrorist” means. Also, if left unchecked there is a very small but real possibility that they could gain access to nuclear or biological weapons. The chance may be tiny, but it makes assessing the risks impossible.

Oh, I get it! Its a play on words, based on my username. Very droll.

I don’t know how much clearer I can make it, Kid. But since you would appear to be Steely Dan aficianado, I’ll go the extra mile. You can’t be all bad, if you appreciate complex melody and mordant wit.

I don’t know. I said that. At least twice. Further, the only information I have is from sources I’ve grown to mistrust (to say the least). I think that Certain Persons are inclined to leverage whatever threat Al Queda poses to thier own political advantage. Hence their demonstrated inclination to lump whatever military adventure they like as part and parcel of the “War on Terror”.

In that regard, Al Queda are like the famous character from “Usual Suspects”: a kind of evil superman, part boogyman, part real, all bad. (Is this the part that is unclear to you?) Of course, as I said, this is pure opinion, “I don’t know squat”. (Did you miss that part?)

Let me know if I can further assist in clarification.

By ** Wake Up Call**: “OK. Remember the “Communist Threat” promoted by Henry Kissinger and Casper Weinberger prior to the downfall of the Soviets. It so happened that the Soviet apparatus fell on its own weight, even though the Republicans took the credit for the downfall of Communism in Soviet Union.”

Do you suggest that just because Kruschev, didn’t push the red button that there was no threat?

Do you think that if every U.S. President from Kennedy through Reagan hadn’t maintained a policy of strategic parity/superiority vs. the Soviet Union that they wouldn’t have made expansionist moves?

Do you think that they would have fallen under their own weight without the tremendous financial drain the arms race placed on their economy?

Do you believe the Soviet Union under communisim was a teddy bear?

Just curious.

What exactly are we being bamboozled about? You don’t bother to explain. As I recall, you’re already on record as saying you think the government did it (and I guess there are no terrorists), so I’d have to say no, we’re not being bamboozled about that. I do think we’ve been lied to about any number of other things.

Well, Marley23 , I see they’ve gotten to another one. Everyone knows the government did it. As a pretext to war with Iraq so we could get more oil, millions of French can’t be wrong. Duh. Oh wait, no,… I mean the Israelis did it, in order to get more US support, it’s all in the Protocols. Al Kada is just some guy from Branson, Missouri who has been photoshopping moon landing photos since the 60’s.

Kruschev and his red buttons belonged to the 1950s and early 60s. It was in mid 80s that Ronald Reagan and Casper Weinberger bamboozled the American public by instilling fear of the “Soviet Threat” to justify the need for higher military budgets. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union collapsed mainly due to its own internal problems. We later found that there was really no threat to the US in the 80s.

I don’t know about pre 80s, but during the Reagan administration, the Soviet Union was so caught up in the Afghan Quagmire that I doubt if they could expand anywhere before their downfall.

Yes., because of this and this and this reason.

I don’t know. Didn’t we go to Vietnam to find the answer? But in any case, do you believe Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida are the bogeymen that are raping our treasury, leaving us without a decent health care or a livable pension systems?

I raised the question because of the similarities with how we were bamboozled back in the 1980s, as described in my reply above to John Carter of Mars.

Somewhat of a tangent…

IMHO - Many on the more conservative side of the spectrum exhibit a need to identify a distinct enemy, seems to be in their nature. To them, the world must be seen as “us” vs “them”. (These would have been the same folks in highschool who were maniacally loyal to the local sports team and always getting into fights with folks from the rival school down the road.)

For decades the “them” was the menace of communism in general and the Soviet Union in particular. (Please do not read this as saying their sentiments were altogether misplaced.) We had the “red scare” in the 1920’s, blacklisting in the 1950’s, the HUAC, you know the rest. Many were “looking for communists under every bed.”

Well…fast forward to today…for people who need to, hunger for, must see the world as “us” against “them”, Al-Qaida is a dream come true. They truly are our enemy, they really do want to destroy us, our way of life, everything we hold dear! To me, the problem is one of dimension and scale.

As has been noted by many in the last few years, we live in a culture of fear where we perceive threat out of proportion to the actual threat. In such a culture, it is quite easy for our leaders to direct our perception of threat. Can you say WMD and Saddam? I thought you could.

In order for me, personally, to consider our current administration credible in their reports of the threat of Al-Qaida and their actions in response, I need to feel like I’m not being taken advantage of to further their unrelated goals.

From your own link, paragraph 2 or 3:

If by “internal” you mean we did not plant the American flag in Moscow, correct. Read your own sources, cuz I will.

No threat to the US in the 1980s? Ever heard of Satan?

Yes, “conservatives need an enemy” as much as liberals must play amateur psychologist to avoid logic and argumentation. They feel wrong!

As if on cue…and of course the fall-back enemy is always the nearest “liberal”.

I always wonder if people who make statements like this are TRYING to undermind their own cases. Conspiracy theories are neither liberal nor conservative. :wally

wake up call, what I asked was what we’re being bamboozled about. That is, Al Qaeda is supposed to distract our attention from what? Are you saying that terrorism is an excuse to increase the military budget? Because Bush said he was going to do that as a Presidential candidate, and Gore called for increased military spending as well.