Living At Ground Zero – Part 2
In Part 1 I closed out after showing you the reliance upon the Redundancy Argument that supporters have for a government owned/taxpayer funded bridge across the Detroit River. Now I will demonstrate why that argument is less than authentic.
In 2007 the Canadian Government issued a report that placed Windsor on a list of potential terrorist targets. I think it had to do with setting up their Redundancy Argument for a DRIC bridge. Local MP Joe Comartin shed some crocodile tears saying that the government was reminding terrorists that Windsor existed. Terrorists are not stupid. Fanatical, homicidal, psychopathic, and unpredictable, yes; but not stupid.
He [Comartin] also said the analysis indicates that the Ambassador Bridge should not be twinned, since bridges should be far enough away that if one went down, the other would remain standing. (C Pearson, Windsor Star, 3 July 2007)
Not surprisingly the Windsor Star sees fit to continue the misleading Redundancy Argument. That’s par for the course for the Star.
And the argument isn’t letting up. In a recent Detroit Free Press editorial the fight continued when Stephen Henderson wrote about Lance Dixon’s “worst nightmare”.
But he [Dixon] opposes Moroun’s proposal to twin the Ambassador bridge.
“That’s not really redundancy,” [Lance Dixon] said. “If something hits one, it’d take both out. It’s just too close.”
Dixon also said he is not in favor of anything that might jeopardize the viability of Moroun’s bridge. Werner needs more crossings at Detroit, and that is the whole idea behind a new bridge. (Detroit Free Press, 29 May 2011)
All these people who perpetuate this seriously flawed argument are misleading (even unintentionally) the common resident and news watcher. Those who simply accept what they’re told and don’t bother to question, or even think about, it any further are doomed to repeat the myth of redundancy.
Here’s why the Redundancy Argument is totally inappropriate as a reason supporting a DRIC crossing.
First off is the fact that most special interest groups and individual persons making the argument do not have a knowledgeable background or expertise in terrorist activities and counter-terrorism science. Some are speaking from the position of simply repeating what they have heard others say. Others are taking a thread of truth in the argument and expanding it to unsupportable positions. And still others are putting the argument forward knowing full well that it is flawed but are just casting it out to see who bites.
Terrorist attacks are not a new invention. There is one list that includes KKK attacks in the southern United States in the 1870’s as terrorism. But in modern times there have been many attacks that are immediately recognizable:
- 26 February 1993 – Conspirators later connected to Al Qaeda drove a rented truck into a parking garage at the World Trade Centre in New York and detonated a very sophisticated, 606kg urea nitrate, hydrogen enhanced bomb, killing 7 and injuring over 1000. Much larger than the “editor’s” grosse bombe”.
- 19 April 1995 – Timothy McVeigh detonates a bomb at a government building in Oklahoma City killing 168;
- 25 July 1995 – The Islamic Group of Algeria takes credit for the fire-bombing of a subway station in Paris killing 8.
- 24 February 1997 – 1 Tourist is killed when Ali Abu Kamal opens fire within the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building. He then turned the gun upon himself.
- 19 March 1999 – A crowded market in Vladikavkaz, Russia, was targeted for bombing as 62 people were killed.
- 12 October 2000 – 17 US Navy sailors were killed when an explosive laden boat detonated while alongside the USS Cole in Aden Harbour.
- 13 November 2000 – Palestinian gunmen near Ofra, Israel, opened fire at a car and bus and killed three.
This was certainly not an exhaustive listing. The targets of terrorists can be from the very small (such as a single person) to very large. It is in the larger targets where we can easily see the myth of the Redundancy Argument.
In the summer of 1982, the Irish Republican Army detonated two bombs in London, one at Hyde Park and one at Regent’s Park, two hours apart. They killed 7 musicians playing at a concert and four soldiers taking part in the Changing of the Guard parade, as well as injuring many tourists watching the ceremonies. This coordinated effort was said to include placing one of the bombs weeks in advance and set to go off by timer. The other bomb was remotely detonated.
During the Christmas holiday in 1985, the continent of Europe was targeted for attack by Palestinian terrorists. On 27 December at 8:15am, almost simultaneously in Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria, gunmen opened fire with assault rifles and threw grenades into crowds of travelers. Eighteen people were killed and 138 wounded during the coordinated acts of violence perpetrated 474 miles apart (as the crow flies).
Once again during the high holidays, this time on Christmas Eve 2000 in Indonesia, Al Qaeda operatives conducted synchronized attacks against Protestant and Catholic churches located in nine cities. Eighteen people died as well as many injured when bombs were detonated almost simultaneously in the nine cities spread out over at least four different islands. A heinous crime, Al Qaeda demonstrated exacting skills in the planning and execution of the strikes against Christianity and western culture over a wide-spread area.
A demonstration of the versatility and inventiveness of terrorists would not be complete without including the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York City in 2001. Most people are familiarly aware of the events of the day when two airliners were commandeered and flown into the twin towers of the Trade Centre precipitating their collapse and the loss of nearly 3000 victims that day.
What is sometimes forgotten is that two other planes were also hijacked that day, one flown into the Pentagon in Washington, and the other brought down by some passengers, in a field in western Pennsylvania. The target for the latter aircraft is believed to have been either the White House or the Capitol building.
Between 8:46am and 10:03am on 11 September, four aircraft were hijacked after they took off from airports in Boston, Newark, and Washington, DC, and flown into targets in two cities approximately 230 miles apart.
The United Kingdom’s domestic security organization, Military Intelligence 5 (MI5), provides some insight into the methodology of terrorists.
Terrorists can murder and maim using many different methods of attack. As well as using tried and tested methods, Al Qaida and associated networks are able to innovate, as was demonstrated on 11 September 2001.
[Explosive devices] can be delivered to their targets in vehicles, by post or by a person. Currently an explosive device within a vehicle is the most prevalent means of attack. Unlike the Provisional IRA, who also used this method, Al Qaida networks often seek to ensure that their target is hit by employing a suicide operative within the vehicle to detonate the device at the required moment. (MI5 website)
The former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former head of the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, warns of the unpredictable nature of terrorists when trying to determine the threat they pose.
“The last attack, the Christmas attack, came out of al-Qaeda in Yemen. It was an individual recently brought into al-Qaeda with fairly limited training, using a weapon that did not have a high probability of success. Now compare that to what happened on 9/11: 19 guys, four airplanes, massive loss, long preparation and so on… (USA Today, 25 January 2010)
It is not beyond the expertise of terrorists to plan, organize, and execute simultaneous attacks against multiple targets spread over great distances. And that is where the Redundancy Argument falls apart and is proven to be nothing more than a desperate excuse used to oppose the replacement of the Ambassador Bridge by Manuel Moroun.
Without going into specific details of the potential for attack on the busiest border crossing in North America, it is not inconceivable for simultaneous strikes against each bridge, ferry service, and tunnel between Windsor and Sarnia. What better way is there to disrupt the trade and commerce between Canada, the US, and Mexico?
This was Part 2 of the second in a series of articles deconstructing the arguments for a publicly owned, down-river bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
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