Monday, August 16, 2004

The Unsayable, The Unthinkable

I think it- I'll say it! It's all a bunch of crap, a nasty fairy tale cooked up to frighten children and the childlike, that is to say, the American public. Yeah, that's right. I think it's a bunch of lies.
Of course, I'm talking about the "imminence" of the next terrorist attack.
In a few short weeks it will be three years from the 9-11 attacks. Three years! Thirty-six anxious months. 156 worried weeks. 1095 scary days. 26,280 fear filled hours.1,576,800 terrified minutes. And not a single terrorist act on American soil. Nothing- no more planes crashed into buildings, let alone hijacked. No bombs, dirty or otherwise.(And no dirty jokes, either, if Ashcroft can help it) Not even a stink-bomb or a smoke bomb. And stink-bombs and smoke-bombs have a lot to do with it, in ways I'll explain in a minute or so, depending on whether you finished that Evelyn Wood course you sent away for lo, these many years ago.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if there were at least 1,576,800 news reports, newspaper articles, television and radio news reports, magazine articles (many of which were cover features) and web pages devoted to telling us how inevitable, certain, "imminent", (I jus' loooves dat word, don't you?)how duck tape and plastic sheeting, dark and swarthy, look-up my-butt-but-keep-me-secure, what-are-you-afraid-of-if-you-haven't-done-anything-wrong, how freaking positively absolutely for-sure the next incident, attack, what-have-you was coming. Only it didn't. Man, I thought them Mooslims was on a-one of them Gee-hads or sumpfn ! Some Gee-had !
(For an analysis of the latest round of terror warnings seehttp://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/columns/shoptalk_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000612547 )
Is there some provision of Koranic law which says that after a successful terrorist attack, no subsequent attack is permitted unless it will be bigger and more deadly than the last? I doubt it. On the other hand, imagine how, well how terrorizing any subsequent attacks would have been. Even a stink-bomb or a smoke-bomb would have sent the entire US into a panic! Although the 9-11 multiple-hijackings-cum-suicide crashes took long advance training and teamwork, combined with incredible luck (let's not even get into the negligence and incompetence on our part which was of immeasurable assistance to the hijackers) many's the bombing, shooting, hell, the good old fashioned arson which could be done by a single person, on a moments notice. And I haven't noticed any considerable hardening of targets.
And although the 9-11 attack was probably effective beyond the participants wildest expectations, even an unsuccessful attempt at a bombing or similar would have an effect multiplied many times over by the intense media coverage such an event would generate. But no, the vast network of "Al Qaida cells" or even the greatly increased number of Muslims disgruntled by the treatment of their co-religionists, and Arabs generally, can't even rouse themselves to put dish detergent in the fountain at Rockefeller Center, or leave a burning paper bag full of dog-poop on the front porch of a prominent neo-con or two and ring the doorbell and run away. (I hope the FBI doesn't come after me for mentioning this type of thing on the Web)
And the omnipotent, many-tentacled, cabal (ha! I wonder what they would think if they heard themselves called that?) which threatens our every moment, well, could it be that Juan Cole is somewhat closer to the truth than the amalgam of Mongol hordes and SMERSH presented to us in the media? He usually is, on most things ME. And he says:
"Although it may be true that al-Qaida is as determined to destroy the US as the Axis Powers were in World War II, this observation is a Himalayan exaggeration if it is meant to suggest a parallel. Al-Qaida is a few thousand fanatics mainly distributed in a handful of countries. If Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid are any indication, a lot of them are one step away from from collecting old soda cans on the street in their grocery carts while mumbling about the radios the government implanted in their asses.So while their determination may be impressive (or just creepy), they are not comparable to the might of three industrialized dictatorships with populations in the tens of millions. Some 13 million men served in the German army (Heer) alone between 1935 and 1945. (And WW II killed 55 million persons, not 3 thousand).I repeat, al-Qaida proper only has a few hundred fighters, those who pledged allegiance personally to Bin Laden, and a few thousand if you count other Afghan Arabs and their ideological soul mates. Most of them are not wealthy or trained or competent, and a lot are just crackpots. (Read an account of the misadventures of Richard Reid again). September 11 was possible mainly because Ramzi Bin al-Shibh lucked out and managed to recruit some high-powered engineering Ph.D. students in Hamburg who knew something serious about kinetic energy. The organization does not have a lot of persons of that caliber" (See http://www.juancole.com/2004_07_01_juancole_archive.html for this quote, and much else. About the Iraq war and the ME you're not a mayven if you don't read Prof. Coles blog everyday)
And while I was searching out that quote I came upon another (Prof. Cole was on a role that day, peeved by Cheney's latest blither-blather):
"I think Bin Laden and his lieutenants wanted to provoke wars between the US and Muslim states. I think they knew that the 9/11 attacks would guarantee a US war on Afghanistan, and that they were confident they could draw the US into the country and defeat it, as they had the Soviets."
So from 9-11 Al Qaida got everything they wanted (the war in Afghanistan) plus a huge parting gift, a big draining war by the US on a secular Arab country, Iraq, to boot!
Now, if you think really hard, and turn off the goddamn TV for a minute, you might just be able to figure out why, even assuming Bin Laddan amuses himself during those long lonely hours of dialysis in the cave by running his special computer programs that allow him to virtually blow up a selection of prominent US buildings, why it might even be in Al Qaida's interest to not blow up anything else in the US. Here's a hint: it's got a lot to do with why Bush, Cheney, et al are so interested in convincing us that they are. But feh, you won't get it. You'll be to busy supporting the troops so we won't have to fight Al Qaida in the streets of Peoria IL., "the heartland of America".
Of course, if you think you know, or if you decide to report me to Homerland Security there's always Comments.(I'd like to have a heads-up before they get here) But as for me, I'm done with it. I'm through being afraid of terrorists like I'm afraid of Godzilla or Hannibal Lector or Dracula. On the other hand, those guys in Texas with the cyanide bomb...


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