Tuesday, December 02, 2008

India's 9/11, indeed

Condi Rice, during her truncated shopping trip to Brussels --

QUESTION: ... did the United States provide a warning to India in the month before the Mumbai bombings that you believe that they were – they would soon succumb to – have an attack?

SECRETARY RICE: ... As to the reports that I have seen, as you have, I don’t really know the source of them, and I’m always reluctant to speak to unnamed sources who are speaking on background, because one never knows what they’re talking about. That’s one of the problems with the unnamed source issue. But we obviously – we try to pass information to countries all around the world if we pick up information. But I’ll tell you, having been on the receiving end of information sometimes which one could constitute as, quote-un-quote, “warnings,” they are often difficult to act on, sometimes not very concrete. And I would just note that the problem with terrorism is that information is useful, but it isn’t always something that can prevent.

So the real problem we have with terrorism is that terrorists can be right once and we have to be right 100 percent of the time. And in that regard, I have some not just sympathy, but empathy for what the Indian Government has gone through.

The context of course being the lazy hazy summer of 2001, when warnings about a major al Qaeda attack on the USA were being ignored. Note also the return of the old IRA taunt which unintentionally found its way into the Bush litany of excuses.

The photo above is a screenshot from 1996's Executive Decision, in which Arab hijackers, one trained as a pilot, take over a US-bound passenger jet, and pack it with WMD, with the intention of crashing it into Washington. Despite the title, the US president doesn't do much in the film.

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