Has Faisal Shahzad Started a War?

The Obama administration is determined to link the Times Square Fizzler, Faisal Shahzad, to the Pakistani Taliban, and isn’t about to let logic, reality, or anything remotely related to the facts get in its way. With the complicity of the Obama-stricken media, they just might get away with it, opening the way for expanded military operations in Pakistan, in “retaliation” for an attack that never even happened.

Attorney General Holder did the talking heads circuit this Sunday, no doubt for the explicit purpose of launching this trial balloon, and he had plenty of help from – for example – Jake Tapper, formerly of Salon, the pro-Obama liberal news site, and currently George Stephanopoulos’ replacement on “This Week.” Asked by Tapper what’s new with the Shahzad investigation, Holder replied:

“Well, we’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack. We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it and that he was working at their direction.”

Pretty incendiary stuff, if true: but where’s the proof? What’s the evidence? One would think the normally inquisitive Tapper would at least make a perfunctory effort to get the facts, but no, he just goes with the flow:

“Is there any evidence that there’s a cell that Shahzad was working with in the United States? Or was it just him operating from directions from Pakistan?”

Holder’s assumption — that it was all a plot hatched in Pakistan – is accepted at face value, without question, and it’s on to the implications.

This is what “liberals” like Tapper and the Salon crowd have learned, after eight years of the Bush administration’s lies, and the entire Iraq fiasco – nothing. They think because their guys are in power that it’s okay, that we can give them a blank check and they won’t walk away with the family jewels. This isn’t mere naivete. It’s collaboration.

Tapper might have asked about the statement of Gen. David Petraeus – who surely has some good connections to US intelligence – to the effect that Shahzad acted as a “lone wolf.” He might have asked about the possibility that the Fizzler acted out of anger at his apparently desperate financial situation, or some problem in his personal life – but no. Instead, Tapper cut to video of Hillary Clinton threatening Pakistan:

“We want more. We expect more. We’ve made it very clear that if, heaven forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences.”

Remember how Bush administration officials used to go on the talk shows and rant about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” – effectively using the “mainstream” media as a sounding board for their lies masquerading as “intelligence”? Well, as Yogi Berra would say, “It’s déjà vu all over again!”

I’m saying it’s a lie because Holder offered no actual evidence, and because everything we now know points away from the administration’s conspiracy theory, namely:

  • The ineptness of the “bomb,” which was just a collection of propane tanks, the wrong kind of fertilizer, cheap alarm clocks, and firecrackers. The Pakistani Taliban sure knows how to make a bomb: if they “trained” and “directed” Shahzad, one would think he might have made a better job of it.
  • The failure of the Taliban to take “credit” for the attack. One could argue they were so embarrassed by the Fizzler’s ineptitude that they didn’t want to be associated with it, or him. However, one has to assume our declared enemies – if they managed to get as close to us as Times Square – would be boasting about it, rather than saying, as the Pakistani Taliban did, that while they admired what Shahzad did, or tried to do, they had no hand in training or directing him.
  • Signs that Shahzad experienced severe financial and personal problems in the period leading up the Times Square incident. His house had been foreclosed, his bank was suing him, and he was reportedly having problems with his wife – who went abroad before the incident, taking their two children with her. All of this underscores the high probability that he simply went ballistic, as I argued here.
  • Shahzad insists he acted alone. If he is, in fact, a dedicated Taliban operative, acting at the behest and under the control of the leadership, then surely he wouldn’t hesitate to say so. He’s a fanatical anti-American terrorist, right – so why wouldn’t he use his new-found notoriety to broadcast the Taliban’s message and advertise its reach?

The alleged Taliban connection just doesn’t comport with the known facts. Via “leaks” coming out of the administration, we hear Shahzad claims to have met top Taliban leaders, but as Robin Wright, of the US Institute of Peace (a government agency) said on Tapper’s show: “Well, apparently, he’s singing like a bird, I was told last night. But there are also a lot of tall tales that he’s telling, and they have to keep going back to him over and over and over because a lot of it’s not making sense.”

Of course it’s not making sense: crazy people are funny like that.

Here’s what I think: a deranged individual, who couldn’t put together a car-bomb if his life depended on it, sought to make his increasingly meaningless and unpleasant existence count for something – and he wound up being the equivalent of the Maine. Remember the Maine? It was a US ship parked in Havana harbor that suddenly blew up – and the incident was blown up into a convenient casus belli by a US government (and media establishment) eager for war with Spain.

Years from now, if we go into Pakistan with “boots on the ground,” as some are suggesting, in “retaliation” for this “attack” by the Taliban, Shahzad will go down in history as the nutjob who started a major war. How fitting for a nation that has itself gone crazy – a nation whose elites are now considering abolishing the last of our civil liberties on account of this failed act of mental aberration and alienation. Imagine if Richard Nixon or anyone in his administration had suggested abolishing or even “modifying” Miranda rights when that Weatherman bomb-making factory exploded by accident all those years ago in Manhattan. The ensuing uproar would have deafened the gods on Olympus. Yet Holder suggested the administration is taking this very course – and nary a peep of protest, or even surprise, out of Jake “the Stenographer” Tapper.

Go back to Salon, you hack!


Today is the first day of our spring fundraising drive, and I just want to point out that we are practically the only major media outlet questioning the Taliban-did-it narrative being put out by the Obama administration. It’s incredible to me that we may actually make a major move into Pakistan based on such a flimsy and utterly unconvincing pretext.

Even more incredible is the fact that the American media seems to be going along with it – exactly as they did when George W. Bush told us about those nasty “weapons of mass destruction” just waiting to be launched by Iraq. The only difference being that the Bushies were much better liars – this crowd doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of the “evidence” they present.

Indeed, as seen above, they don’t even bother with evidence – nor are they asked for any, either by the Jake Tappers of this world or by anyone in Congress (Ron Paul, of course, is the exception). And of course the “opposition” party is even more eager than the Obamaites to go barreling into Pakistan, and we can safely predict they’ll never question the rationale for “Shahzad’s war” in the slightest, except to criticize the President for not having launched it sooner.

That’s why you need to make your donation – today, right now: because we’re the only ones standing up to challenge these transparent lies. Are we really going to invade Pakistan – a nuclear-armed nation teeming with rising hatred of the US government – on the basis of a madman’s tall tales? It can’t happen; it must not happen. They can’t get away with it – not this time.

You can help make sure they don’t get away with it by contributing to Antiwar.com. Help us get past the “mainstream” pro-war pro-administration media, and get out the truth. And the best way you can do that right now is to make a donation – it’s 100% tax-deductible, and it’s much-needed. We depend on you, our readers and supporters, to keep us going. We aren’t asking for much: there’s no executive-type salaries, and certainly no perks, around Antiwar.com’s virtual “office.” It’s bare bones and nose-to-the-grindstone. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to get back to my grindstone, but before I go, let me say in parting: give as much as you can as soon as you can. Contribute today.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].