smoke, mirrors, nonsense

LI doesn’t think that, at this point, reason will prevail about the so called war on terrorism. Still, it is a good idea to repeat: the U.S. is spending about 400 million dollars per terrorist head. Mostly, the terrorists are illiterate, unemployed guys like the ones profiled in the NYT Magazine article by Jonathan Mahler. Mostly the money is dispersed to National Security industry types who spend it hosting conferences in chic hotels about distributing largesse in Wyoming and such. We know exactly where most of the terrorists are – we don’t even need to tap phones for that. They are practically listed in the phone book. We’ve known where they are for the last five years. We have no intention of actually spending any money or real effort to get rid of them. We prefer them to be on tap. Nothing is better for a large security industry than a couple of attacks per decade. Not of course that the Bush administration’s incredible inability to do almost anything real about terrorism since 2002 is simply dishonest. I’d credit them with massive stupidity, too. Never let it be said that LI is unfair.

And, due to unemployed taxi drivers in Yemen, it appears we have to crush the Bill of Rights like a dirty Dixie Cup and trust Dick Cheney.

LI doesn’t think you can fool all the people all of the time. To do that, you need objective journalism. But even with all the Washington Post’s editorial writers and all the King’s men, eventually Americans might wonder why we are fighting people, on the one hand, and preserving a terrorist organization, on the other hand. It might begin to make no sense.

Not, of course, that nonsense has ever been a bar to policy.


Patrick J. Mullins said…

I don't know if you read this. I don't know if the Bush Admin. can be all things to most terrorists, but it's shapeless enough to make people think anything, and so they do. I probably oughtn't to be happy about most of the new risk-oriented anti-terrorist stuff, but I am anyway. Definitely peculiar to exclude Vegas and include Indianapolis--but Indianapolis is full of fundies, maybe they thought it was big enough and Colorado Springs not, even with megachurch. Vegas is boom-town, though, they'll probably have to fix that one. Thanks for NYT article, I hadn't looked at mag. today. Maybe everything has become shaped like spirals and anything of the old direct sort is considered mundane, and that all these developments are attempts to form new entertainments. Humaneness definitely seems to have become unfashionable, and in 2004 and 2005 it began to look like a reflex. Interesting how it speeds up with each new reversal, so that, for example, Delay steps down, and new scramblings get loud, the NSA stuff and the anti-patriotic talk accusations get more frenzied. I'm not quite sure why I got used to it, but it happened only recently.
Vermin Direct, LLC said…
Just how serious a threat do you think terrorism can be? Going by the most sober accountings, an attack such as the one on 9/11 takes years of preparation, a great deal of luck and some unusually dedicated incompetence by the "good guys". The way the Bushists are handling it, the threat would actually be reduced by nothing at all. The Democrats promise a more active and effective policy, which would almost certainly make things worse. Any competence from them would cement the idea that there really is a war.

There are a few dozen criminals who need to be arrested, some state actors who need to be threatened and some relatively modest policy changes that need to be enacted. The culture of self-important hysteria is the most serious threat.