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Strike at 'den of Western decadence'

Original post made by Sharon, Midtown, on Sep 21, 2008

On the day Pakistan's President condemned terrorism,Islamic militants gave a deadly response.

An explosives-laden truck blew up at the Marriott’s front gate, creating a 20 foot deep crater at the main entrance and sparking a fire that burned through the building for hours.
More than one metric ton (2,200 pounds) of explosives was used in the device.
The detonation was heard 18 miles away in neighboring Rawalpindi. ” That’s what happened.
As to why it happened, we must turn to the Guardian. Web Link

"The target of yesterday’s lethal and devastating attack in the heart of Islamabad should not come as a surprise.
The Marriott hotel has always been in the sights of militants.
For a long time it was the Pakistani’s capital only luxury hotel, and remains the favored haunt of the capital’s Westernized elite.
It stands only a few hundred meters from the National Assembly, opposite a compound of ministers’ residences and next to the new offices for Pakistan state TV.
An attack on the Marriott is an strike to the heart of the Pakistani state and the perceived elite of a nation of 173 million people.

Along with power, the Marriott symbolizes something else for ultra-conservative Islamic lobbies:
Westernization and its concomitant ‘moral decadence’.
The swimming pool where expat women swam in bikinis; the sports bar in the basement where alcohol was served; the lurid stories of debauchery that circulate and even the Internet center all contributed to making the Marriott a target of choice."

The hatred of Western Civilization continues-- but the band plays on--

Comments (19)

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Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2008 at 10:02 am

Maybe the question
“why do they hate us so?”
should be replaced by
“why do they hate themselves so?”

No: that’s too politically incorrect to ask.

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Posted by Ng
a resident of Hoover School
on Sep 21, 2008 at 1:45 pm

The attack could have been much worse, a barrier and bomb detecting dogs stopped the truck before it could break through to the hotel itself. The attack was committed by al-Qa'ida militants.

According to eyewitnesses, the truck, carrying building materials to disguise the bomb, pulled up at the heavy barrier that guarded the main entrance to the Marriott.

When sniffer dogs reacted, there was an altercation and the bomber detonated his deadly load.
A fireball then raced through the hotel's main reception area and brought down the roof in the banquet hall at the back where the iftar dinner was being held.
Within minutes, it had ignited a gas pipeline and much of the six-storey hotel was in flames.

There were scenes not unlike those seen in New York City during 9/11 as desperate guests jumped from windows as flames engulfed their rooms.
At one point there were cries from bystanders who spotted two small children on the roof screaming for help.
Before anyone could reach them, they were incinerated.

Security and intelligence sources said the attack was retaliation for the army offensive launched two months ago against Taliban and al-Qa'ida militants in the Bajaur Tribal Agency, part of the lawless districts on the Afghan border.
It was also a strike at the new Government's perceived determination to do Washington's bidding in the war on terrorism.

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Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2008 at 1:51 pm

The graver question is about the big picture.
What is al Qaeda and their Taliban herds up to, by terrorizing the people and Government of the second largest Muslim country in the world and -more important- the first Islamic nation to possess nuclear weapons?
According to many Pakistani sources commenting to media after the explosion, including Lt General Talaat Massud the Terror attack has a "loud and clear message." He asserted that those behind the operation "wants to tell the Pakistani Government to stop sending the Army into their (Taliban) areas and to oppose any intervention (against al Qaeda) inside Pakistan by the United States." Massud comments, aired on BBC were firm: "This is a mega explosion and it needs mega decisions in the country, more will come."

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Posted by Left of Boom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Left of Boom is a registered user.

The real problem is that the Pakistani government is extremely ineffective in providing for its own people, especially educating its children. This vacuum is being filled by Militant Madrasahs funded by Saudi Oil money. These schools teach Wahhabism and are a breeding ground for radical Islam of all flavors. Until Pakistan has a truly effective, functioning government or the external Saudi money dries up, radical Islam will thrive in Pakistan.

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Posted by hear, hear, Pakistan
a resident of Juana Briones School
on Sep 21, 2008 at 3:07 pm

good try, left..i have nothing but admiration for the Pakistani people who are fighting their OWN extremists. Frankly, they are braver and doing a better job than any other Muslim country in their fight, and they are the most Democratic.

Good job, Pakistan!

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm

This is what we face with al qaeda, and with non-moderate Islam, as if it needs to be repeated.

Cutting and running from Iraq and Afghanistan will NOT bring peace. It will only put more women behind the veil, and more madrassas to brainwash more young Muslim boys. Only an awakening among Muslims, while we support them, will bring an end to this current jihad, which started with Jimmy Carter rolling out the red carpet for the ayatollah, thus demonstrating Western weakness.

This is a time for Western strength, not weakness. GWB has provided this strength. McCain will continue this strength...but what about Obama? Old Europe should be put to the test...they have been extremely irresponsible in the fight...they wouldn't even fight in Yugoslavia.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Well said, tj.
All cultures are NOT alike. Sentient beings MUST make judgments that protect their own existence, and they must make adverse acts unprofitable.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Islamabad rides a terror tiger on two fronts

Pakistan's low-intensity war against India which, while long ongoing, has been effectively broadened since the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan and India's expanding presence there.

Pakistani covert operations alone would never have posed a threat to Indian security and stability,
but rising anti-Hindu sentiments among India's 150-million-strong Muslim community have complemented Pakistani operations and enhanced the threat posed to India's communal harmony and economy,

a result that likewise increases the chances of an unintended India-Pakistan war.

al-Qaeda, after its formation in 1988, took a strong interest in the fortunes of Kashmiri Islamists and sought to assist them after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Pakistan's economic undermining of India's economy is through counterfeit Indian currency, what New Delhi calls Fake Indian Currency Notes or FICN.
The FICN are printed on high-quality security paper similar to that used by New Delhi; is all but indistinguishable from genuine Indian currency.
Some current estimates show that up to a quarter of the Indian currency in circulation could be FICN,
and Indian officials worry that this fact may account for part of the country's high inflation rate and may lead to decreased confidence in New Delhi's ability to protect the credibility of its currency.

Indian officials also believe that the profits derived from the sale of FICN are being used to fund other Islamist activities.

Like this comment
Posted by Left of Boom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Left of Boom is a registered user.

If you make no effort to understand your enemy, you will never defeat him. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11/2001 were Saudi. There would have been a 16th but Mohammed al-Kahtani was prevented from entering the country. Most of the rest were Sudanese. All of them were trained and financed with Saudi money. Even though Saudi Arabian is nominally our alley, the Saudi's have provided the financing for most of the training of Al Qaeda terrorists. And the radical Islamic Madrasahs have bred more terrorists so that there ls now a steady stream of jihadists. The House of Saud has been very good to the Bush family and to the Bush Administration. But the country of Saudi Arabia has supported Al Qaeda and radical Islam in the worst way. Until you suppress the supply of jihadists, you are just playing "pop-a-mole."

Web Link

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Posted by sad
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 21, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Pakistan is generally a democracy, but there are factions in the military and their ISS that support our enemies.

My concern is Obamas time in Pakistan, his relationship with the convicted terrorist Ayers and the mobsters in Chicago, this is not trivial.
The remnants of the black panthers, to which Obama is connected for 20 years with his pastor Wright, have strong connections with radical Islamic Madrasahs, which " Left of Boom" has linked to the house of Saudi.
These groups are very active in our prisons.

Who is Obama and who owns him? a Chicago mobster gave him a house--- what else can we learn about this hollow man?

Like this comment
Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 22, 2008 at 7:42 am

The physical weapons of al-Qaeda are objectively puny.
It is the sheer monstrosity of their malice that raises them above the ordinary; a malice so concentrated and intense that it constitutes the litmus test of character of this age.
From time to time evil sets up a shrine and tests humanity by commanding it to bow down before it.
In the day of William Tell, it was the Landburger Gessler’s hat upon a pole; sixty years ago it was European civilization’s turn to be tempted by the smoking altars of the Nazi concentration camps.
Today both the Left and the Right are asked to choose where they stand in relation to the ideology of al-Qaeda; whose part they will take in the act of the murder.
A disappointingly large number of Western intellectuals have chosen to keep silent before this crime; or worse, to excuse it.

It’s their choice; and a shameful one.

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Posted by Peace through Victory
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 22, 2008 at 10:49 am

The truck bombing at the Islamabad Marriot which has killed at least 60 people, and is said to have been targeted against senior CIA officials visiting the Pakistani capital, has been universally attributed to Al Qaeda.
That is entirely possible, and even likely. But this is a good time to maintain skepticism.
We — the U.S. — are neck deep in a conflict with a significant, powerful rogue element of the Pakistani state: their military intelligence unit — ISI (InterServices Intelligence).
ISI has spent much of the past seven years playing the U.S. off against the Taliban/Al Qaeda factions in Afghanistan, with which it has an incestuous relationship.
The Qaeda/Taliban forces in the tribal areas and over the border in Afghanistan would not be supplied without the co-operation of ISI — which maintains the loyalty of many religiously radical Pakistanis.

If, indeed, Osama bin Laden in hiding in Waziristan or Baluchistan, it is a sure bet that he does so with co-operation, by commission or omission, of ISI. This has all come to the surface recently. And we are assured that David Petraeus is on it.
Perhaps he will be as effective here, in this tangled, writhing viper pit, as he was in the far more innocent (!) straightforward, insurgency in Iraq.

We can only hope.

It is a sure bet that the new Prime Minister, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, will have as much control over ISI as his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, did in her years as P.M.
That is to say, whatever good intentions he has for democracy, and for co-operation with the U.S. and Afghanistan, he governs at their pleasure.
Real civilian rule will require radical, almost impossible changes in Pakistan's internal politics.
Indeed, this blast might just as well have been ISI's welcome to Mr. Zardari. In any case, no matter who drove the truck, it is hard to imagine that the rag-tag forces of Al Qaeda could have gotten that far without help from some arm of ISI.
The U.S. is increasingly in an impossible position, since it can hardly attack an ally.
But that ally is simultaneously the enemy. Good luck General Petraeus.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

"This is what we face with al qaeda"

Right. Seven years after all the empty "dead or alive" bluster, bin Laden remains at large, with fangs intact.

So much for all the prattle about Bush having defeated al Qaida in Iraq. Apparently bin Laden's prople used Iraq as a recruiting tool and a live fire training zone for as long as they needed it, and then went out to apply their newly tested skills.

It's time for regime change at home.

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Posted by ng
a resident of Hoover School
on Sep 22, 2008 at 1:25 pm


The only thing that is stopping this sort of murder happening here is the Patriot Act and our troops fighting and killing fanatical terrorists overseas.

Palo Alto and Stanford will be prime targets for these thugs if we surrender to them.

When the mass murders take place here we will have Martial Law and internment--
Is that what you want?

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 1:37 pm

"Right. Seven years after all the empty "dead or alive" bluster, bin Laden remains at large, with fangs intact."

No, Paul, GWB has made a major effort against al qaeda. He has ground them up in Iraq. Jihads last for several decades, so it will go on for a couple of generations, at least. GWB has lead the way...let us all hope that the next president continues in his path.

The only way to stop a jihad is to kill the jihadists...the jihaist recruitment wains, as the prospects don't look so good....

BTW, the refrain from your side used to be, "Where is Saddam, where is Osama?". Now, it is only, "Where is Osama". As I recall, Saddam was hanged. Be patient, Osama will get his.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

"BTW, the refrain from your side used to be, "Where is Saddam, where is Osama?". Now, it is only, "Where is Osama"."

Sorry pal. I only cared about Osama. Saddam was no threat. And I'm not patient like you and Bush about bin Laden or any other of his family friends. First your mantra is we are in grave danger every second bin Laden is in action. Then you flipflop and urge "patience." Patience in the pursuit of an enemy is not a virtue. You're serious about getting them or you're not.

It took FDR less than 4 years to get Hitler, who was protected by the best army the world had seen. In seven years your hero GWB just can't seem to lay his hands on somebody defended by a far smaller, much less capable force. Reasonable people will draw their own conclusions. You can believe what you want.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm


You gotta be kidding!

Every lefty, in every coffee shop in this town, was crowing about Bush not being able to get Saddam or Osama. Well, they got real quiet, after he got Saddam. Saddam had, and used WMD, was a real threat to hand them off to al qaeda types, shot at American planes, violated numerous internaational sanctions, slaughtered his own people...he needed to die. He did, thanks to GWB. A represntative state in Iraq is a stake through the heart of al qaeda...thank you, GWB! GWB will be seen as the liberator of Iraq, IF the next president stays the course.

Osama has been dimished by GWB...he is somewhere, in some cave. He needs to die, too, like Saddam, but it will take time. This jihad will take dacades, not years, Paul. Have you no grip on reality?

FDR and Chruchill and Stalin knew where Hitler was (either in his bunker or in his aerie). As bloody as it was, they knew where to attack. The same is not true for Osama. If you think otherwise, just tell us all where he is, precisely. You could become $25M (or is it $50M?) richer, pal.

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Posted by tj
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 22, 2008 at 4:28 pm

North Africa is another front in the war.
Justifying their coup against an elected president last month, Mauritania's top generals underscored not only what they claimed was creeping corruption and blatant incompetence but a soft approach to the al Qaeda franchise in North Africa, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [west].
One hundred percent Muslim, Mauritania is, more so than the other North African countries where AQIM's presence and terrorist activities have been on the rise, an example of why bin-Ladenism and its offshoots represent a threat to Muslim countries as much as to the West, if not more so.
After all, Algeria and Morocco, for example, are Mediterranean nations whose economies are intertwined with Europe's (and ours).
By contrast Mauritania is still comparatively isolated.

At best, the jihadists can justify war against Mauritania because it has diplomatic relations with Israel and receives U.S. help as part of the Trans-Sahara Counter-terrorism program.
The simpler explanation is that the terrorists are seeking to destabilize regimes throughout the region and they think ambushing platoons of young recruits and leaving them on desert roads with their throats slit, as they are reported to have done on two occasions in the past fortnight, will advance this goal.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm

"Every lefty, in every coffee shop in this town, was crowing about Bush not being able to get Saddam or Osama."

You listened to every "lefty" in every coffee shop in this town? My. I have better ways to spend my time. That could explain a lot. At least, do the decaf.

BTW, did you mean lefty as in southpaw, of leftie as in pushing socialism? There's a lot of the latter hanging around the Bush White House. Try there.

"Osama has been dimished by GWB"

Tell them that in Islamabad, if you can pull yourself from your lefty coffeeshops. All that shocking awesome technology and they can't seem to figure out where bin Laden is. Uh-huh. I think it's because we had superb leadership in WWII and we got the direct opposite now.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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