Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Terror Threat in Full Effect

"It's serious business," Bush said. "I mean, we wouldn't be, you know, contacting authorities at the local level unless something was real."

Yesterday, the Feds called for condition orange in New York City and Washington.

Turn to day two, and the above quote from George Bush, explaining why we raised the alert. Turns out that most of the threat information was years old. As in pre-9-11 old. Sure, the more cautious warn us, Al-Qaeda will sometimes case a jointy for years before blowing it up.

But, as a typically unnamed law enforcement type told the Washington Post today: "There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? . . . I still don't know that."

Because it seems to me that if this is how we're going to handle security we might as well just claim condition red at every building or attraction you've ever heard of. As our folks go through captured Al-Qaeda files and interrogate prisoners (who might be lying just to tell their captors what they want to hear) we're going to find out what we've known all along which is that Al-Qaeda probably has a wish list of that includes every famous building, national monument, theme park and major shopping mall in the U.S.

So the real question is, what are their capabilities? Everything I've read says that without a supportive government in Afghanistan, with a lot of senior members dead or incapacitated and with communication between the surviving (and hiding) higher ups and their drones in the field disrupted, that 2004 has brought us a very different Al-Qaeda than we knew 3 years ago. It's now made up of more independent, smaller groups who, though still able to cause harm, do not have the resrouces or abilities that the more organized, pre 9-11 group did. Al-Qaeda today is like the Mafia after the Feds clamped down in the 60s and 70s. Still dangerous, still out there, but not at all as influential as what it was.

Will there ever be another terrorist attack on US soil? Sure. Always are. This time around, I'd say we're back to a place where it's as likely that the terrorist is a whacked out American as they are a wily foreigner. If you want to keep me safe, fix the domestic economy because another Tim McVeigh is probably a bigger threat than an Islamofascist at the moment.

But let's please stop with all the propaganda tricks learned in the Cold War. Our current President says he's a War time President. In order to do that, he needs to convince the nation that it's at war -- not overseas, but right here. Scrambling soldiers and people's minds is his technique. He wants to stoke a mostly irrational fear of nebulous forces arrayed against us and then give us the impression that he's doing something. Geez, you almost expect Bush to put up a big sign outside the White House reading: 2 Years and 335 Days since our last Terrorist Attack!


At 9:54 AM , Blogger adriana said...

i am so fucking pissed about this, i can't even tell you. it's impossible to trust anything that they say...ANYTHING! besides using this tactic to create fear and confusion, i think they're also trying to cover their asses, post-9/11 commission, so that in case anything happens they can say that they did everything they could. i mean, aren't actual streets closed off in manhattan? it must be insane there! *fuming*


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