The best evaluation of the mental quagmire that the U.S. "War on Terrorism" has gotten itself into is the WSJ article I respond to below, on the real effects to our society of terror suspects like the "Christmas Day bomber." Please take the time to read it at
The author outlines how they are gaming us--any small incursion provokes our outlandish over-reactions costing us so much more than any possible direct damage done. From the article:
"These rules help explain the otherwise inexplicable wave of hysteria that has swept over our government in the wake of the failed attempt by a rather pathetic aspiring terrorist to blow up a plane on Christmas Day. For two weeks now, this mildly troubling but essentially minor incident has dominated headlines and airwaves, and sent politicians from the president on down scurrying to outdo each other with statements that such incidents are "unacceptable," and that all sorts of new and better procedures will be implemented to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Meanwhile, millions of travelers are being subjected to increasingly pointless and invasive searches and the resultant delays,..."
His recommendation to the government for a better plan starts with, "...Stop treating Americans like idiots and cowards." At present our nation's political authority is making travel imposingly difficult, moving towards confining us to our barracks behind the blind walls of Homeland Security. This affects us here in Port Huron as well, where the Blue Water Bridge Plaza project will destroy a recently built customs plaza, hobble international trade & local business for 5 to 10 years, for a smattering of local jobs, and all in the name of an unobtainable national security.
And as regards airline security, in the history of aviation I can think of only two successful in-flight terrorist bombings: over Lockerbie, Scotland in the mid-80's by Lybians, and an airliner bound for Venezuela in the mid-70's by homegrown Cuban-American terrorists. The general security provisions put in place by the 90's have been effective prevention. Securing the pilots' cabin since 911, has stopped the use of the plane itself as a bomb.
Lets be reasonable. The risk is so small compared to what we lose in our hyper-preparedness. Wise as serpents, gentle as doves. Follow the Gospel mandate--Be not afraid.
P.S. From WSJ 12-28-09 article on the explosive PETN: "'...the Nigerian...was looking for a chemical reaction that would be hot enough to initiate' the PETN and cause it to explode. 'It's not impossible, but its's not easy either and it obviously didn't work for him,' Prof. Oxley said."
Dear Editors of the Wall Street Journal,
Bravo, Paul Campos! His article, “Undressing the Terror Threat” 1-9-10, is an excellent review of our status of forces in the Homeland Security battle.
At last, a sensible analysis of the black hole the U.S. rushes into in its “War on Terrorism.” I would add a flashback to an al Qaeda video released in Nov. 2004 as reported by CNN 11-1-04.
"… Bin Laden cited a British estimate that it cost al Qaeda about $500,000 to carry out the attacks of September 11, 2001, an amount that he said paled in comparison with the costs incurred by the United States.
"Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs," he said. "As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.”
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen [or neophyte airplane bombers] to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations," bin Laden said.
"We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy…”
Things have not gotten better for our economy since 2004. Osama Bin Laden is not the mastermind of our demise, but we must not allow anyone to bank on our self-imposing a national fear factor—an impossible, contrived, outlandishly expensive homeland security brainwashing.
Martin Luther King called on us to reject the fear and hate-filled response. “Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.” We need to stop fighting the fire of terror with fire, and renew our commitment to creative life-respecting engagement with the rest of the world. Thank you again, Paul Campos.