In early May my mom called from five states away and asked, “Are the fires getting close to you?” I told her they weren’t, but that night I did see flames in the mountains. And by the time May was over, fires were burning in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Minnesota, Florida, and beyond.
Like most people, the thought that the fires might be terrorist attacks never entered my mother’s mind. However, it’s at least ironic that just before these various fires began, Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine called for operatives to set forest fires in the United States. The 9th issue of the magazine “contains information about how to construct remote-controlled explosives [and to] set off an ember bomb in a U.S. forest.” It also tells would-be attackers about “the correct wind patterns to set a forest fire in [and] the right season, the right time of year, the correct temperature…to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.”
While this does not prove the flames in California, Arizona, New Mexico, or elsewhere were set by Al Qaeda operatives, it does warrant our attention–doesn’t it?
Because there is at least a chance that one of these fires is part of a larger attack on the U.S. And attacks don’t have to be nuclear, biological, or suicidal to be terrorism.