Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Shoe Bomber Speaks

Richard Reid, the British national who attempted to detonate a bomb in his shoe on a transatlantic flight in December 2001, is currently serving a life sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado. Peter Herbert, a British barrister who spoke to him in prison in February 2002, offers some insight into Reid's background and motives in an account of that conversation published in the Guardian today.

According to Herbert, Reid's motivation for trying to blow up the airliner "was the foreign policy of the US government, which, he said, had resulted in the murder of thousands of Muslims and oppressed people around the world from Vietnam to southern Africa to Afghanistan and Palestine." Reid stated, "I am not crazy as they suggest, but I knew exactly what I was doing. Of course I would have been sad to have those people die, but I knew that my cause was just and righteous. It was the will of Allah that I did not succeed."

Reid acknowledged to Herbert that he was being treated well in prison, but he contrasted his own treatment with what he had heard about the treatment of detainees in Cuba. "Guantánamo Bay will provide us with thousands of recruits the longer it is maintained," he said.

There are still some in the United States who seem to regard as subversive the obvious question of why acts of terrorism against Americans occur. Fortunately, more people are willing to ask it today than at any point since 9/11. For those who are willing to ask why, the "Shoe Bomber" provides a few clues via his British barrister's article here.

[Via FP Passport.]