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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Terrorists

Muslim militants are at it again. Shocker.

101 people dead and counting. Here we go again. And in America, the conspicuous disappearance of any public discussion about terrorism for some time now. As if, it's a Bush topic. Somehow, some way, in our domestic self-absorption, I think we've managed to connect the unpopular President Bush with the idea of terrorism, as if, ridding ourselves of the one, the other will somehow go away, or just be a non-factor. But of course it won't go away, as we've seen tonight.

I confess to shedding Oprah Tears (or, I mean, getting stricken with Obamamania). But now the hard realities. Politic campaigns, Democrats back in power, none of this represents a solution; we haven't solved anything yet. Obama hasn't solved anything yet. He doesn't even have the job yet (yet somehow the world has seemed a safer, better place, hasn't it?). And what a job he will have. The militants in Mumbai, apparently, checked passports to round up the Americans and Brits. Nice to confirm that we're still the evil ones. And I'm sure we'll retain the title for some time, whether our new President has a Southern drawl or not. They don't care. President Elect can sound like Albert Einstein (actually, that might be a tad too tutonic, but you get the picture). He's still representing the Evil Nation, as far as extremists are concerned.

So now the blood on the streets, and the fires, and the frantic shouts are with us once again. And we hear once again that they were targeting the U.S. and Great Britain. It's I think safe to reject the notion that the Mumbai attackers didn't tune in to CNN recently enough to know that Barack Obama is our President Elect. They don't care.

Poor Rachel Maddow. She's been yuck yucking it up lately, feeling the Obamamania oh-so-much. And now to see her somber face, talking off of the teleprompter about terrorists targeting Americans, doing her level best to keep up the light-spirited Bush-is-a-dummy banter in the rest of her show. Damned breaking news. Yes, damned indeed. I do hope that I'm wrong. But those dark days of September 11 never left us. We just wished them away.


mijopo said...

I didn't think we'd ever forgotten about the war of terror. Personally, I think about it whenever I despair about the severe financial constraints we face in addressing the financial meltdown, whenever I contemplate crossing the border, whenever Verizon calls my house to ask me to switch to their service, when I go to the airport, when I read about Gitmo or torture and even when I go to the library. I'll think about it all the time if/when the U.S. loses its AAA credit rating. I hope it was all worth it. Oddly, I don't feel much safer, just poorer and a lot less free.

Erik said...

I think Franklin said it best, with his now bumper stickerish but perpetually relevant:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I don't have any specific answers to the terrorist threat. And I'm far to libertarian to feel even remotely comfortable with Big Brother government; on the other had, I'm not keen on IEDs filled with nails detonating when I take my kids to the mall. I'm not keen on the destabilization of Russia, including the possible availability of its cold war products such as backpack nukes (yes, they're real). 1 kt portable nukes, enough to incinerate most of a city block, killing thousands. And then there's the fall out after the explosion.

No one really like to talk about these threats to our well-being, as if it's fear mongering, or just somehow impolite (like passing gas during tea). But they're real threats. We can't have a strong financial system if we don't have a strong intelligence community and an ability to respond by force.

I think of security as infrastructure; it is vital to the well-being of a modern nation like transportation, power, and the like. We'll need to continue to invest in security just as we'll need new investment in alternative sources of energy. We can't afford not to.