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March 7, 2008

The Recruiting Center Bombing: Who’s Making A Point?


Maybe the blast at the military recruiting center in Times Square was perpetrated by a “foreign terrorist group,” as Senator Clinton’s office suggests.  And maybe the bombing is tied to two other bombings — one from October outside the Mexican consulate, and another dating back three years outside the British Consulate — as reflexively and conspiratorially mentioned in many of the news reports.

On the other hand — although nobody seems to have considered the possibility — maybe someone (maybe even domestic!) got out-of-control over the way America has exercised it’s military might in a massive, thoroughly unilateral and unprovoked way in Iraq, and (just two weeks short of the 5 year anniversary of the invasion) decided to target an armed-forces recruiting center (re-branded a career center, by the way) for the specific reason that it happens to be an armed-forces recruiting center.

In contrast to the photo that accompanied the update at the City Room blog, Patrick Andrade’s shot (above) which ran in Thursday’s NYT “Pictures of the Day” is much more suggestive.

For the election year fear mongers (in both parties), the shattered glass door and the uniform peering suspiciously out from the pitch is just the right taste of Baghdad, an echo of the Rovian “if we don’t fight ‘em there, we’ll be fightin’ ‘em over here.”  And then, of course, we have the “takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ Uncle Sam who, although a little yellowed, and despite the cracks and the broken glass, looks completely ready to (roll back a withdrawal pledge or two, and) kick more ass.

Blast Damages Times Square Recruiting Station (NYT City Room)

Statement of Senator Clinton on Blast at Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Center (

Pictures of the Day, March 6th, 2008 (NYT Multimedia)

(image: Patrick Andrade for the New York Times. March 6, 2008.  linked image: Chip East/Reuters.

  • jtfromBC

    a sleeper cell insomniac, bombs recruiting depot, using army surplus ‘ammunition box’

  • lytom

    Unfortunately, the protests in front of recruiting offices did not become popular.
    Fortunately, this brings recruiting offices to the front pages of the media.
    Unfortunately, this also supports the quick labeling of terrorist action and paranoia against usual suspects.
    Fortunately, the damage was only symbolic.
    Unfortunately, nothing has changed see the uniform in the doorway.
    Fortunately, no one was injured.
    Unfortunately, the poster of uncle Sam ready to do more damage in the name of democracy is ever present.
    What is not noticed is the other man in the camouflaged dress and boots already recruiting on the street…
    Unfortunately, the business was not closed down!

  • garyb50

    Well, I don’t know about all the suppositions but that is one hell of a photo. I’m jealous.

  • black dog barking

    From the photo it looks like the city has absorbed this blow and moved on. Incurious pedestrians have places to go, the two gentlemen in the center look to be discussing personal business (perhaps who to bet on in tonight’s game?), the occupants of the targeted business have some glass to sweep up and a door to replace.
    Any message being sent/received by this incident must allow for the dominant negatives — an explosive device (reported as an IED in some places) is detonated in a famous and famously busy landmark area of New York. Damage, minor. Casualties, none; not so much as a scratch to anyone. (Although, a tourist from North Dakota was roused from her sleep.) Is this incredibly incompetent terrorism or incredibly careful?
    Message? I dunno. Maybe we’ll learn more when we catch up with the perps. ‘Cause there’s one thing for sure — you don’t bomb NYC buildings and get away with it.

  • r@d@r

    how things have changed: ROTC recruitment shed on UCB campus gets burned down ca. 1982-83, and is deemed the work of “protesters”. weak IED inexpertly deployed at military recruitment office in NYC, and is deemed the work of “terrorists”.
    but then, we didn’t have “free speech zones” in the 80’s either…

  • Cactus

    Great photo, with all the casual suspects: Unconcerned New Yorker going about his business in spite of the chaos; curious New Yorker chatting with career counselor about the damage, or perhaps the possibility of a career for his daughter; stand-by career counselor holding up damaged door; and the ever-present 75-year-old Uncle Sam peering out from behind them all.
    What I’m thinking is what is the MSM NOT talking about because of this?

  • Janet

    My first reaction on seeing the photo and not the text was “Did the protesters in Berkeley actually bomb the place?” Forgetting that it was a Marine recruiting center they’ve been picketing. So, yes, since the right-wing spin is “terrorists” then it probably is horribly misguided, trying to be careful domestic anti-war action instead (think Weathermen).

  • Gasho

    The War On Terror is not straightforward business, and the potential misdirections and false flag scenarios make it impossible for us to know the truth.
    If the Office of Special Plans decided that a little injection of Terror in the Homeland was needed at this time (to keep the GOP war machine in power, for instance), they could easily shove a small device outside their own door, then scoop up anybody and accuse them of being a terrorist. The trial would most certainly never be public, so we’d never know if the accused had any connection or not. And without judicial transparency, we have no system to “discover” false flag scare operations, so any terrorism has to be suspect.
    Think about it – from the public’s perspective, any of these scenarios would look the same: jihadist terrorist, protest terrorism, false flag political terrorism, or a PTSD veteran terrorizing the system that screwed him.

  • legalpad

    false flag all the way, made obvious by the style and language of the reporting, to say nothing of the impossible physical evidence. why is the metal door bowed out from the inside? what kind of sidewalk IED does that? and why is the larger plate glass window intact from the “blast” when it’s adjacent to the smashed door?
    aim at your own installation (a la the pentagon on 9/11) and no one will ever suspect who’s behind it. have the media immediately point the other way and accuse “a terrorist on a bicycle” and off runs the public in full chase. works every time.

  • cenoxo

    …the impossible physical evidence.
    Well, not so impossible. Look again: the entire door is not bowed out, just its lower left-hand corner was blown inwards past the jamb. A small bomb placed at this corner of the door — note how the door’s glass cracks and scorch marks radiate outwards from it — could easily cause this type of damage. No remotely-controlled Boeing 757, Global Hawk, or guided missile required.
    The pile of broken glass on the sidewalk under Uncle Sam (and the broken edges of the same glass still embedded in the window frame around him) indicates that a front layer of the glass window was completely shattered. It absorbed most of the force, but the second layer of glass closest to U.S. was still badly cracked.
    If the American Imperialist Cabal really wanted to raise a false flag above NYC, you’d think they could muster enough expertise to do an even more lethal job of it than a few Anarchists.

  • NateTG

    It’s pretty clear that whomever did this was looking for maximum political impact with minimal casualties. Consider that the location is carefully chosen for huge profile (Times Square is a huge tourist destination, New York has the whole terrorism thing going on after 9/11), but the bomb manages to go off, shattered glass and all, apparently without causing injuries, in one of the busiest places in the world.
    (Regarding the physical evidence: If the door was blasted in at the lower left corner, and then opened with some sort of pry bar, I would expect it to look the way it does.)
    There’s lots of interesting stuff going on. None of the New Yorkers seem to be particularly interested in the blast. The eye-less soldier standing in the doorway of the recruiting center. With the pedestrians obscuring the last word, “I want You” is transformed into “I want”, which could be interpreted as an editorial on the current state of affairs.
    Much more interesting is that the eye-lines seem to go every which way but to the damage. Pedestrians looking down and away, Uncle Sam and the recruiters looking out at the camera, and the two tourists in front, apparently consulting a map or guidebook – group denial as a coping strategy.

  • KansasKowboy

    The very first time I heard about the bombing of the Recruit Center in New York, I knew it was just some person who is simply protesting the U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. That’s all this is. Just an individual or maybe two or three individuals who are protesting the Iraq war. This was very common practice during the Viet Nam War. I don’t condone the practice but this is one way people protest. When the Viet Nam war protest era was going strong “they” burned down the ROTC building at on of our State Colleges and tried to burn down one in another school.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    ref : “that is one hell of a photo. I’m jealous.
    Mr. Andrade’s works really are quite worthy of further look-see, folks; he is one heluva fine photographer.
    That being said, it is interesting to note that in the other photo that BAGman cites, there is that other “Yellow Ribbon” apparent ~ with its message implicit, if not explicit :

    . . .which, (imho) would have been all the more elegant, and relevant statement of protest.

  • garyb50

    Thanks for the tip, MGonzo. You’re right; one hell of a fine photographer.

  • floopmeister

    ‘Cause there’s one thing for sure — you don’t bomb NYC buildings and get away with it.
    Unless it’s the World Trade Centre, of course.

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