Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is There Still A Terrorist Threat?

It is a truly challenging question presented in Foreign Affairs magazine, which I located via The Daily Docket.

"But if it is so easy to pull off an attack and if terrorists are so demonically competent, why have they not done it? Why have they not been sniping at people in shopping centers, collapsing tunnels, poisoning the food supply, cutting electrical lines, derailing trains, blowing up oil pipelines, causing massive traffic jams, or exploiting the countless other vulnerabilities that, according to security experts, could so easily be exploited?

One reasonable explanation is that almost no terrorists exist in the United States and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad. But this explanation is rarely offered."

The entire article is here.

Given that political pundits, such as Newt Gingrich and many others have been clamoring for us to call the War On Terror "World War 3" and some say call it "World War 4", and that herds of terrified bloggers whine endlessly about the evil residents of America (aka a Democrat, or worse, a Liberal) who aren't harboring lusts for the destruction of all non-Americans are secretly planning for the demise of the nation itself, then the question asked in the magazine deserves consideration: Is There Still A Terrorist Threat?

Are these constant fretting folk simply maneuvering for legislative authority and power based on the amount of generalized Fear they can manufacture?

John Mueller's essay is a fascinating essay - and raises critical questions. Sadly, I read blogs and see news reports constantly which seem deeply content to forever live in an American society shaded by color-coded threat alerts and a willingness to view much of the world as the enemy.

In such a world, what will constitute victory?

As for me, I harbor no illusions my thoughts and questions on this topic will elicit much beyond ill will, or perhaps among those who do think and question our national attitude then some agreement may be expressed. The real changes must occur within the minds and hearts of those who create policy and strategy to realistically address the presence, or absence, of terrorist threats.


  1. For some time now I have been more scared of the folks who are trying to protect me than anyone else.

  2. Cinemonkey12:56 AM

    Pardon my naivete, but what about the "gel bomb" plot? Just a little theatre orchestrated by those scampy British?
    I give you that the whole atmosphere of fear thing is being orchestrated to an effect, but can you deny that there are bad people out there that want to do bad things?

  3. carpenterjd8:34 AM

    Yes, there are bad people out there who want harm to come to others. They have been around since the dawn of man and they are the selfish, greedy people that want everything for themselves and to leave nothing for others. Armies, the Spanish Inquisition, the SS/Gestapo, the Bureau of indian Affairs, the KKK, etc. The list of those who wish others harm is too long for anyone to ever put on paper. The point is that good people exist alongside the bad and it is difficult to determine the difference until some horrible act is perpetrated.
    We live in a free society. A free society is not as safe as a dictatorship, theocracy, autocracy, etc. However, I will take the risk to ensure my rights and freedoms to think and live freely. The price of liberty is eternal s & h.

  4. Cinemonkey - the article linked to is specific to claims of terrorist cells in the U.S., of which claimes were made there were "thousands" of bin Laden's followers making plans ...
    and yes, as carpenter jd mentioned above, the bad have always been there - i simply question the wisdom of shredding the Constitution's framework in the name of safety.
    and there were members of our own FBI and CIA which desperately warned Washington on the impending attack in 2001 and they were told to shut up.
    so, again, my question is whether or not a real threat exists, and if it does, then how much do we give in to the fear they want to force upon us?

  5. and another thought - remember back in the 1970s when airplane hijackings took place on a near weekly basis?

    i recall no such fearful, weak-kneed submission to alter the workings of the airlines, even though such hijackings threatened many many lives and much destruction.

    these days, a person on a plane with a panic attack brings out figher jets.

  6. Just b/c it hasn't happened, doesn't mean we are safe or that they aren't going to do anything. That doesn't mean I feed into the hype. It means that no one is doing the right things to protect us, I'm sure, they are most likely, doing all the right things to anger those who want to hurt us and they are getting comfortable enough that nothing is going to happen now and letting the guard down and then we will get hurt b/c we have basically pissed off a lot of people. And I agree that the people who are trying to help us, have no freakin idea how to protect us. did I make any sense at all?

  7. i followed ya, Julie.
    and it is hard to explain but the whole reason the attacks occurred are because of actions taken and policies made years and years and years ago which weren't anything to do with building Democracies.

    and after decades of some of our bad policies and the twisted philosophies via people like bin Laden and others, lots of innocent people are being killed and/or threatened.

    my biggest complaint is as you said - the ones who are supposed to be protecting us aren't and have no idea how to effectively respond to the challenge.