The Pakistan-born US citizen now in custody for the attempted bombing of Times Square has reportedly admitted to the crime. The U.S. government says it is "very likely" that the Pakistani Taliban had at least some role in the plot, but the media is still working overtime, trying to discern why Faisal Shahzad — a well-educated man with a career and a young family — would apparently choose to throw away everything he had on an "incompetent" scheme to attack his adopted homeland. Was it revenge for the Afghanistan war — or anger over the foreclosure of his house? (Watch a CNN report about Faisal Shahzad's background.) Here, five theories that have been floated in the press:
1. Revenge for drone attacks
Shahzad's suspected plot was revenge for the deaths of several Pakistan Taliban leaders from unmanned drone attacks, speculates the New York Post. "Sources said he was an eyewitness to the onslaught throughout the eight months he spent in Pakistan beginning last summer."
2. Anger at the loss of his home
Shahzad's default on a $200,000 mortgage in Connecticut could have had something to do with it, says Ezra Klein in the Washington Post. Foreclosures "generate an enormous amount of misery and anxiety and depression that can tip people into all sorts of dangerous behaviors."
3. Rage against George W. Bush
A real estate broker who sold Shahzad his house in 2004 said the bombing suspect was outspoken in his dislike of President Bush and the war in Iraq. Allahpundit at Hot Air is skeptical. "The Bush/Iraq scapegoat is old and busted," he says.
4. His jihadist beliefs
The authorities have been very careful to avoid the words "Islam" and "Muslim" in their press statements, notes Leon de Winter at Pajamas Media. But we can't just ignore this man's religion when considering his motive. "People like Shahzad fight to restore [the Islamic] caliphate — which is only possible after Israel and America have been destroyed."
5. Anger at the creators of "South Park"
An episode of "South Park," produced by Viacom's Comedy Central network, was heavily censored after threats from Islamic groups last week, and Shahzad's Nissan Pathfinder was discovered "in the vicinity of the midtown offices of Viacom," reports Andrew C. McCarthy at NPR. "This raises at least the possibility of the sort of diffuse Islamic mayhem prompted a few years back by the Dutch cartoons."
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