No longer content to stuff bombs in its agents’ underwear and socks, al-Qaeda is now hoping to actually surgically implant explosives inside what would have to be some seriously horrified would-be martyrs.
Last year, a suicide bomber attempted to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, allegedly with a tiny bomb that was inserted into his rectum. See, the man was searched by guards, passed through security screening, and nothing was found. But when he was finally brought to the prince, he literally exploded. Though it was a grotesque misfire—it reportedly left only a single leg of the ass-bomber’s body standing, and the prince suffered just minor injuries—its ramifications have scared the hell out of everyone.
That’s not just because tiny rectum bombs are scary (which they are) but because they hint at what might be around the bend. And because it’s such a ridiculous premise, body bombs have been tearing up the news: Newsweek ran a report, ABC News got into the game, and, most recently, the BBC dug in.
The crux, according to the BBC:
One step beyond inserting a bomb in a body cavity is to undergo a medical procedure and open someone up, place the bomb inside their body and sew them up again. This has been attempted with animals. In 2010, al-Qaeda in Iraq reportedly surgically implanted bombs into dogs in order to send the canines on planes to the US on which they would explode. In this case, the animals died before the plan could be carried out.
Surgically inserting a bomb requires considerably medical skill, and al-Qaeda bomb-maker al-Asiri has reportedly been working with doctors to see if it can be done.
Clearly, a world in which terrorists wield the power to successfully implant bombs into people and detonate them on cue is a world in which we will be told that all hell is breaking loose.
Casual racial stereotyping would no longer be limited “dude, I wonder if that guy has a bomb,” but would lurch into the realm of the severely post-modern “dude, I wonder if that guy is a bomb?”
And Newsweek remarks that such bombs would soon be “conjuring fears, not least, that someone who looks great with child could in fact be heavy with explosives.”
TSA lines, hellish and ineffective now, would become exponentially more hellish and ineffective still.
But, but, but, but. These things are clearly miles away from proper functionality. al-Asiri may never get them to work; the procedures are risky and expensive. Also, let’s keep this in context. The media runs wild with stories like the underwear bomber and this one—crappy bombs put together using crappy technology by one or two dudes in a bunker with scant resources.
But we hear far less about the carnage caused by super-advanced drones put together using super-advanced technology by the world’s military-industrial juggernaut. We don’t hear much about the civilians they kill en masse—woops, says the US military—or the vast reservoir fear they’ve no doubt instilled across Asia and the Middle East. It’s important to make that link—the media’s breathless treatment of mad underwear bombers, rectum bombers, and someday, breast implant bombers is what helps keep us scared. It cultivates the mood that justifies our super-advanced brutality. It keeps those drones circling the sky.