How can you not love the title of this:
What’s next? Perhaps fire-hardened sticks and flint knapped rocks?
How the mighty have fallen. The same people who brought you the coordinated attack that hijacked four aircraft and then flew the planes into three separate targets are now reduced to ruining Smokey the Bear‘s day by starting forest fires because ‘of thier low cost and limited techinical expertise required’.
After 9/11, al-Qaida was a pretty exclusive club. They didn’t hand out franchises to just anyone. Then, fast forward to Iraq where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi started his own terrorist/insurgency and al-Qaida figured they better in on that action since there wasn’t much going on in the Af-Pak region. It kind of went all downhill from there. By 2008/2009 al-Qaida was encouraging any old person to take up the banner and launch attacks in the name of the group. Then, after some pretty pathetic attempts by people who thought Allah would mystically impart tactical (and technical) know-how into their adled brains magically (thereby making the need to plan or practice irrelevant), al-Qaida began recommending everyone abandon the explosives route to paradise and go with firearms. After all, this is the U.S. of muthafukin’ A. where, if you aren’t born with a gun in your hand, your mamma is probably a communist.
That didn’t really pan out either so now they’re down to recommending playing with matches.
I really don’t have time for this sort of analysis. As I wrote yesterday, this is yet another perversion of the capabilities/intent equation to determine threat. Sure, anyone can start a fire and I’m sure some dude wrote about it in chatroom. But forest fires don’t have a lot of terror potential even if they have destructive potential. The places most likely to suffer from them are kind of used to dealing with them. We have enough accidents, firebugs and careless campers that it doesn’t really matter if the guy with the match says ‘Inshallah’ or ‘Hey, do we have any more of those Miller Lites in the cooler?’
But…if you’re looking to appear relavent in the terrorism biz, there’s no reason why we can’t just make crap up. Despite this tactic being discussed for ‘at least a decade’, there isn’t one identified use of using fire as a weapon by Jihadists. Certainly arson has been used by the Earth Liberation Front before and somehow we’ve managed to survive. I’m guessing that the fact that most Americans aren’t even aware of what the Earth Liberation Front is probably a pretty good indicator of how effective fire is as a terror weapon.
I, for one, eagerly await the follow on piece to this: Terrorist Interest in Using Foul Language and Rude Behavior as a Weapon.