I've been sitting here listening to the news reports about terrorists around every corner. Every single media outlet team is busily working on new logo's, historical perspectives, interviews with every obscure "expert" they can round-up, preparations for 911 retrospectives and for fat wallets built on panicy American viewers tuning in.
The details are still to be determined as we've seen the news ratcheted up like this before, particularly when the Republicans are in trouble (isn't it interesting that all this takes place the day after Lamont beats Lieberman despite the fact that the investigation has been going on for some time .....? The terraists certainly don't want leadership in this country that might actually outsmart them ..... but I digress).
Obviously any real threats need to be addressed and law enforcement needs to do it's job. I don't dispute this, only the hysterical reaction of our established institutions to absolutely anything that even looks like a terrorist act.
But let's look at it a little differently. As was the case prior to 911, most of the rest of the world lives with these threats every single day, and has done so for quite some time. Americans see themselves as so uniquely blessed and insulated that when such a threat occurs, you'd think the world was going to end. And this is of no small consequence as these overreactions have ripped the fabric of the body politic and furthered the goals of those who wish us ill.
Given the U.S.'s muscular and idiotic foreign policy, I have no doubt that there are any number of pissed off people in the world who are ready to take a shot at U.S. But imagine being a resident of Baghdad, where literally hundreds of people are being killed daily? How about the Congo, Israel or Lebannon for that matter? Or perhaps try living in Afghanistan or Pakistan where these alleged terrorist originate? When was the last panicy news report and outrage over a bunch of dead children in Iraq, killed by an American bombing attack?
My point is a simple one. Americans are simply ridiculously spoiled to think that we can live in a world that contains violent extremism and not have it wash over on us. And I include the Bush administration in those who are violently extreme. The entire issue of assymetrical warfare can only occur in the context where someone is quite sure they cannot get their needs met without the warfare part. The assymmetry is merely a tool that works against a vastly superior military power. In the middle east, you cannot have authoritarian, hypocritical dictatorships like Saudia Arabia, or Egypt, or Jordan, or failed economies like Pakistan and Afghanistan and not expect them to be a breeding ground for revolution. Until these underlying issues are addressed in a meaningful way, the average "guy on the street" in the Arab world will continue to support, often in quite tangible ways, extremism against what they see as the tarnishing and immoral effect of westernism.
And of course, there's that little matter of Israel vs. the Palestinians.
We can thwart terrorists, kill "bad guys" by the score and act as muscular as Ahhhnold in his heyday. All it's going to get us is less freedom and better trained, better coordinated, and better financed attacks from those who have nothing to lose.
I've said it before and I'll write it again. Osama bin Laden has to be smiling at the efficacy of the 911 attacks to work so beautifully to completely undermine the west, and to completely legitimate a ragtag group of wacko's advocating a return to the 15th century. George Bush was a blessing from Allah for bin Laden .... the gift that continues to give until the United States get's it's collective head out of it's behind.
BTW. Anyone notice that the little war cost ticker on the side of the page crossed $300 billion? Of course this is a very rough under-estimate. But it is a measure of our stupidity.