It looks like Mehsud may not be bluffing: that the Taliban could attack Washington. Successfully. (FOXNews) Of course, that's from an article in FOXNews.
If you're in the circle that assumes that FOXNews is part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, and that people who watch or read FOXNews are extreme right-wing, zenophobic, gun-toting, domestic terrorists - potential or actual: Pay no attention.
For the rest of us, who recognize that the poster's caption is distinctly post-WWII,1 this could be serious. The White House is one of the specific targets that Baitullah Mehsud mentioned.
Someone from the Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, James Phillips, said: " 'It's not too much of a stretch to think he might be involved in an attack on the U.S. if he's able to get his followers inside the United States. He's a militant extremist whose threats cannot be ignored.' " (FOXNews)
There's another reason for ignoring this whole "threat" thing. Phillips is with the Heritage Foundation. They even admit that they're conservative: so, in some circles, anything and everything that comes out of there is gravely suspect.
Again, for the rest of us, a threatened attack on Washington, by a leader in a group that controlled an entire country not too many years back, is a serious matter.
Personally, I'd Like to Feel Phillips is WrongIn a way, I would like to feel, deep in my heart, that Phillips is wrong: That the Taliban are made up of nice-but-misunderstood people, that they couldn't possibly attack Washington even if they wanted to, and that everything will be fine: as long as America doesn't keep on causing all the trouble in the world.
But, I live in the real world. And that's not the way it is.
Baitullah Mehsud and Benzair BhuttoIf you've been paying attention to Pakistan and the 'Stans in general, Baitullah Mehsud should sound familiar. He's the fellow who said that he'd meet Benzair Bhutto with suicide bombers. Then, when she died in an attack that involved a suicide bomber, he said he didn't do it. And, as of today, it looks like he's sticking with that story.
- "No More "War on Terror" - Officially?"
(March 30, 2009)
- "Pakistan; Nawaz Sharif; Multiculturalism; and a Skewed World View"
(March 15, 2009)
- "Obama Reaches Out to Taliban: This Might Actually Work"
(March 8, 2009)
- Not one of my better posts: I didn't make it clear that the president was reaching out to Taliban supporters.
- "Change in Homeland Security: Don't Worry, Be Happy"
(February 24, 2009)
- "Taliban chief plans US attack"
The Press Association (March 31, 2009)
- "Taliban Leader Vows To Attack D.C. 'Soon' "
CBS News (March 31, 2009)
- "Taliban Leader's Washington Threat Is Credible, Analysts Say"
FOXNews (March 31, 2009)
- "Taliban claims deadly police academy attack"
CBCnews.ca (March 31, 2009)
- "Are the Pakistan Taliban charting an independent course?"
Pakistan: Now or Never? Perspectives on Pakistan, Reuters (March 31, 2009)
1 The poster is from "Vintage War Propaganda Posters," a page on Magazine 13. The post appeared on March 23, 2009: and starts with these words: "Sometimes memorabilia can transport you to the times even though you have not lived through them and that was the feeling I had when I was researching these posters. I can now appreciate why certain people like to collect the posters...."
The image in question is gone, with a no-link warning in its place. I have no idea whether or not the "HELP ME FIND AND KILL TERRORIST AGITATORS" poster is the author's notion of a joke: or whether that person really didn't know that FOX News did not exist in the 1940s - or any period when that style of poster was used.
The ersatz poster does, I think, serve - either way - as an example of how beliefs may be maintained by stoutly refusing to see or hear anything that deviates from the party line.