Monday, September 11, 2006

conspiracy theory

For what may be the first time, Indian police are investigating Hindu extremists as well as Muslim groups in their search for the perpetrators of a terrorist attack outside a mosque in the Maharashtra town of Malegaon. But it looks like certain "security experts" are keen to push the blame onto Muslim radicals, once again suggesting that Muslim terrorists have deviously attacked their own community to try to spark communal riots. The so-called smoking gun, once again, is the discovery that the bombs in question contained RDX.

Is it just me, or does this line of reasoning sound a bit suspect absent any other evidence?

First, consider the risk/reward equation of attacking your own "constituents" in the hope that they'll believe their enemies did it. The potential reward is a communal riot, in which the Muslims generally take the heaviest losses, which in turn *might* encourage more Indian Muslims to join the radical fringe and would allow Pakistan (of course we see the foreign hand everywhere) to crow about how bad things are for Muslims in India. On the risk side, though, exposure as ruthless killers that target the very people you are supposed to be fighting for would do ten times the damage. Unfortunately, the same analysts/writers who see this logic as impeccable when applied to conspiracy theories that it was "the Jews" or "the CIA" that executed the attack on the World Trade Center don't seem to see how it applies here in India.

Second, consider the use of RDX as "evidence." Isn't this rather like saying that those seeking to blow something up used explosives to accomplish the job? And, if RDX is such damning evidence, why not say that it must be Sikh terrorists, as the police used to do in the old days? This hardly qualifies as an M.O.

Allow me to predict the solution to this engaging mystery. A few days or weeks from now, the police will announce that they found the culprits, a couple Muslim guys, but unfortunately they gunned them down in a heroic firefight. After the fact, of course, they found various Pakistani documents on the corpses. The witnesses or snitches that led them to these guys will never be produced, and the investigation will go no further, as it would of course be a waste of resources to try to establish whether the dead men were guilty or innocent.

I know. I sound like one of those conspiracy theory guys. The next thing you know, I'll be writing columns filled with ad hominem attacks on myself to cleverly drum up sympathy.

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