The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, October 14, 2002
KILLERS: Some people have asked if I'm afraid of being killed by the Tarot Sniper. No, I tell them, I'm not. I live in Baltimore, which produces murders the way Seattle produces coffee. Even if I do get shot before the gunman gets caught, chances are overwhelming that it'll be someone else who pulls the trigger.

Meanwhile: Is it just me, or is the sniper getting more coverage than the bombing in Bali? I could be wrong about this: Here in the eye of the serial-killer storm, the local press may be giving more weight to the shootings than their colleagues in the rest of America. But Bali is obviously a much bigger story, with a significance that extends far beyond those poor people who were murdered in the nightclub blast. Terrorism in the archipelagos off Southeast Asia is a mysterious beast, obscured still further by our natural tendency thus far to pay more attention to Afghanistan and points further west. We'd be well-advised to look more closely at East Asian terror -- and at the relative
failure of American efforts to contain it.

One place to start: Reyko Huang of the Center for Defense Information has written an informative paper on Jemaah Islamiah, the Bin Ladenite group that's been widely blamed for the Bali bombing. "Here one finds scattered but substantial pieces of evidence," he writes, "that several radical Islamic groups, overcoming national and geographical barriers, have maintained deep and long-running ties with one another toward a shared fundamentalist goal. Their clandestine, elusive 'cells' are dispersed throughout everyday-life places, functions, and businesses, rendering Afghanistan-style military campaigns impractical. Furthermore, many of these organizations forged partnerships with al Qaeda long before authorities began unearthing the scale of their transnational reach."

I know: It's not exactly pleasant reading. Maybe I'll stay focused on the sniper after all.


posted by Jesse 4:08 PM
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