From How -- To Why?, by Mumia Abu-Jamal
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From How -- To Why?
[col. writ. 12/31/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

For many, especially in the West, questions abound over the aborted airplane catastrophe of Christmas Day, 2009.

A young jihadi comes within precious minutes of delivering a devastatingly deadly Christmas package to the United States and hundreds of its citizens aboard North West flight # 253.

The apparent ease with which he was able to smuggle a powerful explosive onto the aircraft, and the manner of igniting the chemical, has forced questions about how this could've happened.

But for some, the question isn't how -- but why?

Why would 23 year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the son of a wealthy and prestigious Nigerian family, sign up for such a mission?

When politicians and media ask how, they are addressing methodology; when others wonder why, they are examining motivation.

When a young man of means adopts such a path, it speaks to the emptiness and alienation of material life.

His web posts (if accurate), reflect a mind numbing milieu of loneliness and isolation. And if the son of one of Nigeria's wealthiest families can be lured to the way of destruction, this does not bode well for those bent on waging what they have called the 'War on Terror'. For there are tens of millions of youth living in direst poverty, in powerlessness, under U.S. supported feudal, corrupt and violent governments, all over the world, who have far more acute reasons to view their present lives as an intolerable hell.

To strike out against those they perceive as the chief sponsor of their miseries, even at the cost of their lives, especially once given religious sanction, would seem a cheap price to pay.

Yet, there is another factor at play that most major media have chosen to ignore in connection with these recent events.

In March of 2009, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) went online to file a proposal for an agency that would update their training manual for their staff.

This 93 page document, available online for months, gave sensitive details not only on search procedures, but revealed that only 20% of bags were hand searched, showed sample I. D. cards for elected officials and cops, and identified the kinds of wires that wouldn't set off alarms by airport screening machines.

For any group which wanted to penetrate U.S. security to do harm, this was a virtual electronic treasure trove, a blinking welcome mat.

As long as the U.S. looks at hows, and not whys, there will ever be surprises, and 'gifts' from those who do not mean them well.

(c) '09 maj