Most Poles feel that they have been dragged into someone else’s ‘war on terror’.
A Muslim asylum seeker in Warsaw was in an internet café browsing sites in Arabic. The manager of the café decided that this was suspicious behavior and called the cops. Minutes later anti-terrorist units dashed into the café and arrested the asylum seeker, who was innocently checking out a few web sites.
Four years ago two Pakistanis were arrested in Warsaw central station after police decided that the men were ‘acting suspiciously’. When police raided the flat the men were staying at they found a map of Warsaw with various government buildings with rings drawn in pencil around them. The police decided that the Pakistanis were obviously planning a terrorist attack.
It turned out that men were asylum seekers who had ringed the government addresses they had to visit as part of their applications for refugee status.
Such has been the irrational behavior of some Poles in the wake of September 11.
When the planes went into those buildings five years ago in what was really just a mindless display of barbaric nihilism, Poles were as shocked and awed as everyone else. The general feeling of horror was compounded by the fact that several Poles died in the attacks on the Twin Towers along with Americans, British...
But Poles also felt that this was essentially an attack on America, not Poland.
Since the Bush administration launched its ‘war on terror’, however, successive Polish governments have responded to calls for help and have sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bush has admitted in a speech today that there were indeed secret CIA prisons where terrorist suspects have been detained and been subjected to an "alternative set of procedures" to get information out of them. Last year the Washington Post alleged that one of these prisons where these ‘alternative sets of procedures’ (torture?) had been carried out was in Poland.
"In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency," said Bush. (see full transcript of the Bush speech here).
As this blog has often pointed out, the evidence for one of these prisons being in Poland is weak, but the accusations have helped cement in peoples’ minds that Poland is up to its neck in America’s ‘war on terror’.
Warsaw has also been talking with Washington about anti-missile systems being placed in Poland to shoot down rockets fired by ‘rogue states’ such as Iran.
Polish governments eagerness to get involved in Bush’s war on abstract nouns has made Poles feel vulnerable, and caused internet café managers and Warsaw police officers to act in the irrational way that they have.
Successive opinion polls have shown that a majority here do not want their armed forces involved in the carnage of post-Saddam Iraq. They do not feel it is their war. They feel that their government’s involvement in the war on terror has made them a possible target for the jihadists.
What was five years ago a deep sympathy for the people of America has turned into a low level unease that Polish foreign policy has dragged Poles into a war that is not theirs to fight in the first place.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Posted by beatroot at 9/07/2006