We Are Also a Target
Ever since 9/11 I have been warning friends and colleagues that Canada is not immune from terrorist attacks and that the Islamic fascists loyal to bin Laden will strike at us at some point. Many friends and colleagues now smile thinly and make excuses to leave the room when I get on this band wagon. I can't blame them. I can be a touch monomaniacal on this topic.
But the threat is real. Our Forces were deeply involved in the removal of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and in the hunt for the Weird Beard of Terror near Tora Bora. This has not escaped the attention of Osama. You may recall that he, in his fatigue clad video-rapper mode, named this country as an enemy of his great spiritual cause. I have since had the feeling that very few in Canada understand that he is serious. Bin Laden does not appear to be the sort of religious fanatic to make idle threats and we are a target of the Weird Beard and his ilk.
This ought in no way to cause us to draw back from participation in efforts to eradicate Al Qaeda from the face of the earth. In fact, it ought to spur us on to greater efforts, in concert with our allies. Prime Minister Martin in his speachifying today about the London attacks sounded all the right notes about being strong and steadfast, but remember he was a key participant, as Finance Minister, in slashing defence budgets and gutting the Canadian Forces during the Chretien years. The NDP budget he recently forced though parliament to buy the support of Jack Layton and his socialist hordes puts off significant new defence expenditures until the Prime Minister's grandchildren lose their hair and get wrinkles.
The most recent annual report of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service acknowledges that a number of groups or individuals associated with international terrorist organizations have a presence, or are active, in Canada.
"Most of their Canadian activities support actions elsewhere and are often linked to homeland conflicts," CSIS says.
But Ward Elcock, who recently retired as head of the spy service, warned last year that it was just a matter of time before al-Qaida tried to attack Canadian targets.
An internal RCMP assessment completed in May 2004 concluded al-Qaida poses "a significant threat" to Canada and Canadian interests.
"Canadian involvement in the 'war on terrorism', as well as our status as a secular western country, makes us a target of violent Islamic extremist groups, including those that make up al-Qaida."
Ya talk pretty tough Paul, but you punch like a Cosmo girl.
Al Qaeda has named six nations to be attacked.
The Americans, British, Spanish, Australians, Canadians and Italians. "Every other country [but Canada] on this and the previous list of targets has already been attacked by al-Qaida terrorists," the Mounties noted.Oddly enough Peter Mansbridge, the CBC News anchorman, was speaking in the background on my television as I was typing this last paragraph. The CBC story raised the above Al Qaeda list and Mansbridge wondered why Canadian aren't more concerned. The subsequent story wasn't''t particularly enlightening, (we are like, so liked) although one former senior officer with the Canadian Intelligence and Security Service (CSIS) has a theory that terrorist groups understand that an attack on Canada would limit the terrorists' capacity to infiltrate the USA by causing a greater security clampdown by Uncle Sam at the border.
Oh hell, now I feel better.