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May 11, 2011

Time to Come Home

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – First he was a politician. He wanted to create an empire that began with Pakistan and Afghanistan, and then spread worldwide. He tried in Saudi Arabia and Sudan but was asked to leave both of those countries. His own family, the bin Ladens, disowned him. Maybe.


To take over the world, he needed help. He established groups, called cells by The West, with the deranged and those on the fringes of the mental instability as leaders. They, in turn, found those who were more deranged and unstable, foolish enough to blow themselves to bits. But not unstable enough. Four learned to fly jets.


They needed a victory, a symbol that it could be done. And beyond their wildest dreams, through the greatest security system ever devised, the Twin Towers. Then, fueled by the foolish failed invasion of Iraq, all things were possible. They had a cause.


They pounded the keys of their computers, trying to recruit others. Stories spread of valor and heroism of the fighters for a new world order. Thousands joined their cause, providing money, housing or fake documents. But only those who could use the Internet were sucked in and they spread the glories of the cause.


But technology advanced. Internet cafes began being built in areas where signing on cost but a few cents per hour. I was surprised to find one in the clearing of the Sumatran jungle. Bitter, rank coffee is served in a café in central Indonesian Borneo, next to tapping keyboards.


Other tales began to be posted. The death stories of family members of “martyrs,” who said their son was recruited because he was a loner. Interviews with mothers and fathers, in a language with innuendos and hidden meanings about strong extended family ties, long swept away in the western world.


People, villages and populations shifted away. The mad got desperate. They turned on their own. Mosques bombed, atrocities against women, random acts of violence. All broadcast over the Internet into the hinterlands.


But, where did Islam fit into the equation? It didn’t. Never did. It was a handle the western countries grasped to try to explain the behavior of these radicals. But the followers of Islam knew what it was – a political act.


Then the news about the death of Osama bin Laden. A ho-hum event here in Malaysian Borneo. It was and has been long over. Only the Americans didn’t know it. Still don’t. They are too busy chasing ghosts through the Afghan and Pakistani wilderness, paying small fortunes to “spies,” who led them down valleys and over hilltops in a foolish quest, seeking – and rarely finding – anyone associated with the then real, but now mythical, al Qaida.


There will be a few, still hoping, still dreaming of a worldwide empire governed under laws of their own making, claimed to be from the Qu’ran and receiving material riches. They will continue their insanity, and because of them, we all must remain vigilant.


The death of bin Laden now gives us an easy, face-saving way out of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Though “face saving” is a poor excuse of what should have happened long ago. The leader is dead; what’s left of the international cells will collapse. In reality most already have. It’s way past time to come home.


For more articles from Tom see his blog at He is also on Facebook at Borneo Tom.


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