Pakistan is like India's evil twin. While much of India seems to regard us with an almost stereotypical jolly high-minded tolerance, Pakistanis typically are more indifferent and dismissive to our culture. They're also envious of India's more open public image.
They are located in a part of the world that holds integral ties with terrorism, and also harbor a dangerous social clime of superior-mindedness and anti-Americanism that often gives us the right impression of them--that they couldn't care less about us, and would enjoy tuning into our demise on a whim.
Once again, Jon Stewart's show did the best job of showcasing their lurking intent, by pulling together multiple counts of Pakistani leaders denying knowing of Bin Laden's presence again and again--one, even as a guest on his show. Just watch this video clip of ex-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf openly and shamelessly lying to Stewart on Stewart's own show in Sept. '06. Pretty poor from a man who devoted his 9-year, multi-term Presidency to successfully lowering Pakistan from the 11th most corrupt nation in the world, to the 41st.
Or pretty cowardly--is that how he gets back in, by leaving the back door open?
Now that I've identified the 'target area' of my concerns in the Osama post-op, I want to shift topic to the more pertinent subjects at hand--immediate follow-up in the area of the event, and what I believe we need to be concerned with, and doing collectively for our country during this time.
First, we need to retrieve the helicopter wreckage ASAP. Within 24 hours of the successful operation, the media began relaying information that one of the helicopters used in it had crashed, and had to be left behind.
The good news is that our troops are okay, and had managed to successfully complete the operation with no domestic casualties. They were, in fact, already home.
The bad news? The helicopter left behind was a highly-modified BlackHawk H-60 that had been engineered to be so radar-resistant as to qualify as a genuine Stealth unit. Although some of it had been intentionally destroyed by our troops to avoid recovery by any enemies, Pakistanis had recovered the tail-section along with some other parts which they will certainly share with their friends, the Chinese.
Until recently, neither of these nations have had access or successfully deployed air weapons with stealth technology. But this January, China not only 'unveiled' their own Stealth Jet--calling it the 'J-20'--but thumbed their collective noses at anyone who compared it to our 20-year-old, highly-successful B-117 Stealth bomber program.
But wait--why would anyone even think to hastily compare these two totally different-class jets?
|Chinese J-20 'Stealth Fighter'|
('Much better and unique than inferior American Stealth Plane')
Of course we should relax--just one breath...for now.
In shifts, even, if necessary--because we deserve it.
We've been living in terror for 10 years, and even the most sensibly staunch defender of the American way of life as a world standard would admit that recent incidents with Transportation Security Administration pat-downs indicate that the terrorist agenda has been gnawing away at our liberties and rights enough to make it plausible to say, we've lowered ourselves some because of them...you could even say that terrorism's affect on us has been some unprecedented infighting, and a major disruption to our various modes of travel.
They entered the public eye by bombing the Towers, and, for the past decade, have been a genuinely progressive, hard-to-stop, malignant cancer to us all here in the States.
They brought extremist Islamic fundamentalism to the forefront into the most shameful and contemptible focus possible, and cast a great shadow of suspicion and negativity on many Islamic American citizens who have lived here for generations (many of whom because their families fled such extremism in the first place).
We need to share the sigh of relief and celebrate beside these people, with a watchful eye collectively on 'the element' within our borders in order to retain our nation's status as being in remission from the cancer just excised successfully in the raid on Bin Laden's compound.
We need to promote good will among each other, and turn some attention toward remedying our national problems with foreign energy and other issues. But we also need to remember--as always--no matter the timing or burden, the famous words of Thomas Jefferson--"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance".
The burden now falls to our diverse and sometimes fractured nation to remind each other of this, and practice it diligently and daily, or we'll fail to see the random, insipid types of personal crimes against humanity for which terrorists are now so infamous--from the USS Cole bombing, to the Towers, to the 'Underwear Bomber', to the thankfully-failed attempt in Times Square.
Who will step up? Who do we need to watch out for next?
I believe our next-greatest threat is American-born extremist terrorist-teacher Anwar al-Awlaki.
Born in New Mexico in 1971, al-Awlaki has been directly connected to terrorism since he began taking his doctrinally-flawed, erroneous, schismatic, and shaky version of Islam to anyone and everyone who would listen to him (even prostitutes, supposing that's what he was doing when arrested in San Diego in 2000, while rabble-rousing radical inductees as an imam at a Sunni Mosque there.
Awlaki exhibits signs of being next-in-line after Bin Laden--he's slippery, well-educated (graduating from Colorado State after lying to obtain a foreign scholarship to go to school there).
Worse, he obtained a degree in Civil Engineering there, and so, could have even advised Bin Laden on the tactics he used to surprise-bomb the Towers. He has been proven to have ties to many of the terrorists who flew the jets during that attack, and has long funneled money to terrorists through a fake charity he called the 'Charitable Society for Social Welfare'.
He slipped through the hands of U.S. agents in 2002 when our own judicial system caused technical delays and breakdowns to allowed the 10-year statute of limitations to expire on his crime of lying on his social security application (in order to acquire his education).
And his inflammatory commentaries are well-known to have inspired the actions of Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people and wounded 29 in November 2009.
His rhetoric is actually more inflammatory by nature of the fact that it has been deemed lunacy by his peers:
Muslim scholars say that they don't understand why Awlaki is so popular. Aside from the fact that he speaks English and can reach an audience that doesn't speak Arabic, he has no formal Islamic training or study. But he has thousands of followers on Facebook and his sermons are popular on the Internet.
"They will routinely describe Awlaki as a vital and highly respected scholar, who is actually an al-Qaida-affiliate nut case," says Douglas Murray, executive director of The Center for Social Cohesion, a think tank that studies radicalization in Britain.--'Going Radical: An NPR News Investigation'I'm not ashamed to refer to a June 2010 FoxNews report made by Bill Hemmer, either, as a very good resource for identifying and addressing Awlaki's threat to America. It chronicles Awlaki's self-made rise-to-prominence in the radical Islamic community, his ties to major terrorists, and major milestones in his personal life that shaped his eventual flight to Yemen.
Even recently, only Yemen has considered his words dangerous enough to give him any place on their 'Most Wanted' list. He's 2nd, by the way.
An irony in Bin Laden's death was the fact that it came less than three weeks after the scheduled end of the Color-coded threat system that has been used since shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
Intelligence gathered from materials recovered during the raid may prove to be valuable enough for us to use to decipher the location and methods of Al-qaeda to prevent future attacks, and actually capture more radicals before they practice more acts of terrorism.
Hopefully it will greatly outweigh the potential risks that the Chinese will garnish any design features from the downed chopper I mentioned above.
The data gathered from Bin Laden's computers--if properly protected and utilized--could easily be an effective measure to dissuade many inroads, plots, and plans held private by al-qaeda for a decade, at least. More, if we use it progressively enough, along with political and private tactics.
We need to end terrorism. It won one September day in 2001, and has begged to be stamped out forever.