The Global War on Something

Lessons from the failed Times Square bombing

Even as investigators were hunting for the perpetrator of the botched "man-caused disaster" in Times Square, our cool homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, was reassuring a frazzled nation that the failed bombing appeared to be an isolated incident—a "one-off"—and avoided the notion of (much less the word) "terrorism."

Thankfully, law enforcement agencies refrain from leaping to conclusions before they have all the facts. Not Janet. And citizens should not infer anything based on a litany of historical and anecdotal evidence, even after the fact, lest some group feel demonized.

"If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that," explained New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg—who has plenty of quarters to spare—during the investigation's early stages, "homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything."

It could be anything, said the mayor of New York. A mentally deranged person perhaps? Maybe some crazy from the fundamentalist faction of about 56 percent of us who opposed health care reform? After all, in the deep recesses of some imaginations, conservatives are not above murdering hundreds of tourists to make a point about ObamaCare.

Or it could be something totally unanticipated! For example, Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized American citizen from Pakistan who was taken into custody at Kennedy Airport as he attempted to escape to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A senior U.S. official said Shahzad already admitted to interrogators that he had received (not very effective) bomb-making tips during his five-month trip to Pakistan. Reason dictates Shahzad wasn't upset about reconciliation.

It is also clear that Shahzad worked "alone" in the same way that Nidal Hasan or Najibullah Zazi or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab or that bumpkin who threatened the South Park creators or the 9/11 terrorists or Umayyad and his armies worked alone.

If I had to guess 25 cents, I'd bet the administration makes no mention of fundamentalist Islam, even when it reluctantly admits we're dealing with "terror."

Yet such an obvious admission is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of any brand of foreign policy. It is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of the idealistic notion that we can "eradicate terrorism," nor is it the naive idea that a charismatic president can plead for friendship enough times that jihadists worldwide will be lulled into submission and awe.

After all, the administration never has been scared to call out despots and extremists, such as insurance companies, Wall Street executives, tea party activists, and the Israeli government. This is the Department of Homeland Security that issued a report alerting us to potential violence from "right-wing extremists" who are ginned up about "illegal immigration," "federal power," and the Second Amendment. (So at least half of you qualify.)

Why not engage in one of those frank discussions the president always is pretending to have with the American people? How can we deal with a problem if we're not even allowed to talk about it honestly?

Now, if this attempted man-made disaster had been perpetrated by a member of a white power militia, it would have been a "one-off." As it turns out, however, we are dealing with something utterly predictable and increasingly common. I just don't know what to call it or whom to blame.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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  • ||

    why aren't we engaging in one of those frank discussions the president always is pretending to have with the American people?

    Because it's not clear this was done by a filthy teabagger. That's why.

  • President Obama||

    I publicly used the word teabagger while smirking recently.

  • WTF||

    Yes, Barry, we know - because you're an incredibly narcissistic, smug, arrogant PRICK.

  • Rahm Emmanuel||

    Hey, take the tampon out of your mouth and do something about that fucking dog before I shoot it myself.

  • President Obama||

    The time for honest talk has passed.

  • ||

    I'm sure you're clear about that!

  • BeavisAndButthead||

    and I'm sure there are those who would say that we shouldn't make hard choices. But you'll have that debate and make those choices, right?

  • Butthead and Beavis||

    ...you said hard...

    huhhuh...huhhuhhuh...huhhuhhuh...huhhuh....

  • ||

    I'm guessing the administration is about to pivot on this, condemn it as actual terrorism, and then congratulate itself (by congratulating its brave and diligent underlings) on preventing "hundreds of deaths." After all, those fireworks might have killed more Americans than 9/11, but, thanks to Obama, not even a single person died.

  • ||

    thanks to Obama, not even a single person died.

    The death panels will make up for that.

  • VoxPatriota||

    Maybe we will start getting a tally on lives "saved or created".

  • ||

    During our long national nightmare that was the Bush Administration, I longed for the day our government wouldn't react to terrorism exactly the way the terrorists wanted us to.

    I guess you can't scare all the people all of the time.

    I credit violent video games and Hollywood. In a battle with the easily bored and a short attention span? The terrorists never had a chance.

  • ||

    HA! Good one Ken
    {siggy siggy}

  • Zeb||

    "I longed for the day our government wouldn't react to terrorism exactly the way the terrorists wanted us to."

    Isn't that what the Bush administration did? I know if I were a terrorist, I would be pretty damn pleased with the reaction to 911.

  • AA||

    I think thats what he's saying.

  • ||

    +10

  • ¢||

    I blame Folks Who Say.

  • MrGuy||

    Nu-uh!

  • ||

    When will they fess up that the shooter at Fort Hood was Norwegian, a right winger, a lifelong repubican, had campaigned for Barry...Goldwater, had a "morning in American" bumper sticker on his big V-8 with gun rack pick-up (with astroturf) truck, and did it because of deficit spending???
    when on when will we get the truth from the media????????????????

  • Almanian||

    Word, my brother

  • MrGuy||

    Because none of that was true.

  • TXLimey||

    This whole fucking administration is a man-caused disaster.

  • ||

    What do you mean by "this" administration?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I'd say there are plenty of women who have done their share as well, so strictly speaking it's not just a man-caused disaster.

    Indeed people like Anita Dunn (for example) are virtually walking disaster areas all by themselves.

  • The Gobbler||

    This whole fucking administration is a man-child-caused disaster.

  • Ben||

    The Kos Kidz are hilarious to watch about this. The less batshit crazy ones are actually making fun of the more batshit crazy ones for engaging in racist stupidity by blaming a white Tea Partier first.

  • Joe||

    I kind of feel sad for them. They wanted it SO badly for the bomber to be a Tea Partier.

    I think part of it is their worldview can't take the fact that after electing a Obama to the presidency some people still don't like America. The rest of the world is supposed to love us after his election, therefore any act of terrorism in the Age of Obama must be a homegrown extremist opposed to Progressive policies.

  • Mo||

    And conservatives wanted it so badly to be a brown Muslim. What's your point?

  • The Gobbler||

    And they were absolutely right. I believe that's the point, fuckhead.

  • ||

    YEAH! Your team!

    You're part of the problem, fuckhead.

  • The Gobbler||

    No. I am a Libertarian. Ask anyone here.

    But that doesn't have any impact on the INDISPUTABLE FACT that the people who were speculating that this was the work of an Islamic radical were 100% correct.

  • ||

    Of course, it appears that said brown Muslim was radicalized by, among other things, Bush's entirely arbitrary attack on Iraq. Which is a point many "Kos Kidz" were making at the time. So celebrate you prescience, it's awesome to behold.

    And I'm neither happy, satisfied nor sad that it was a Muslim or a tea partier. I'm happy it was a failed attack and they caught the guy.

    Isn't that actually a normal response? What's your excuse?

  • MrGuy||

    The sad thing is that it DIDN'T go off. As bad as it sounds, America needs another successful terrorist attack every so often to keep heads out of asses.

  • Mayo Bloomberg||

    Fuck Off!

  • ||

    The suspect doesn't look too brown to me. Not brown at all actually. Which sucks, because I was really hoping....not really, I wasn't "hoping" for anyone in particular.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yeah! EVERY Muslim is brown!

    Shitheel.

  • ||

    The biggest lie in all of this is the idea that the system somehow worked because the bombs failed to go off. The system completely failed and avoided the consequences of failure because the bombs were poorly made. If they had arrested the guy as he was driving into Manhattan, you could say the system worked. But that is not what happened. He was successful in the sense that he planted the device and detonated it. It just didn't detonate the way he wanted it to. Just like Christmas day, the only thing that saved upwards of a thousand lives was the lack of skill by our enemies, not our system.

  • Mo||

    If the system makes it so that only the idiotic and incompetent are our enemies, than the system works. Fortunately for us, the vast majority of naturalized American citizens with the skills to pull this off are integrated and gainfully employed. When you've got a stake in the country, you don't want to blow it up.

  • ||

    But they eventually will get it right. The Times Square bomb could have easily been a dirty bomb. All he needed was a better built bomb and some stolen cesium. We have been hit twice in four months and saved only by dingbats who couldn't build a bomb right. It is only a matter of time before they get one right.

    And also, this guy was a citizen and reasonably middle class. But it doesn't seem to be very well assimilated.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, it's almost like we're biding our time and waiting for them to successfully pull off a dirty bomb or a biological attack or something.

    I know I will be condemned as a bigot for saying this, but I'm going to just come out and say it anyway.

    Until the day comes when the greater Arab Muslim world somehow learns how to accept and conform to the behavioral norms of advanced 21st century civilization and becomes more tolerant of other religions and cultures, their people should no longer be allowed to come to the United States, much less become American citizens.

    I mean, it's not as though we opened the door and welcomed in Nazis and the Japanese while World War II was going on. I say enough is enough already.

  • Fatwa Issuer||

    accept and conform to the behavioral norms of advanced 21st century civilization and becomes more tolerant of other religions and cultures

    Blasphemy!

  • nch||

    How would that have stopped this guy (if he's guilty) since he isn't an Arab Muslim?

  • ||

    Surely he meant Urdu Muslims.

  • ||

    By "Arab", he meant "brown, with towels on their heads."

  • ||

    Ya mean Sikhs?

  • Mo||

    Now you're just being silly. How can you be Sikh and Muslim at the same time.

  • ||

    Beats the hell out of me. Anything's possible in India!

  • dave b.||

    Let's just ignore the fact that we've been meddling in their affairs and overthrowing their governments for the past 50+ years.

  • kinnath||

    The British are the root source of the problem. Pakistan wouldn't exist if the Brits had managed to hold on to India.

  • Mike M.||

    Cry me a river. We've been dealing with these Muslim dirtbags since they were demanding tribute from us in the early 19th century, and Thomas Jefferson rightly told them that they could go fuck themselves.

  • zoltan||

    Thomas Jefferson rightly told them that they could go fuck themselves, but what did the presidents of the last century do? Oh that's right, MEDDLE IN THEIR FUCKING AFFAIRS. Which Jefferson most certainly did not.

  • ||

    Zoltan! lol -
    My two cents:

    http://www.peacefreedomprosperity.com/?p=2622

  • ||

    Until the day comes when the greater Arab Muslim world somehow learns...

    And then tells the Pakistanis, right?

    I mean, it's not as though we opened the door and welcomed in Nazis...

    No, but we sure let in a lot of Germans, and a lot of helpful ones. Helpful in the sense of "helped America become the world leader in science." And so your analogy equates Muslims and terrorists, and thus, well, read on:

    I know I will be condemned as a bigot for saying this...

    Well, I won't condemn you--not my style--but your statement is basically a perfect example of bigotry.

  • kinnath||

    I'm 53. Assuming I make into my 80's, I expect to see some major metropolitan city go "poof" before I die. It's far from certain that it will be in the U.S., but it might.

    You might be able to reduce the odds by imposing a police state with non-stop electronic monitoring of the population. But, I'm not convinced that will even stop it.

    How do you want to live the rest of your life John?

  • Mo||

    You might be able to reduce the odds by imposing a police state with non-stop electronic monitoring of the population. But, I'm not convinced that will even stop it.

    I think it will make it more likely. It will make a lot of gruntled people disgruntled and sympathetic. It's not like Sri Lanka was a bastion of freedom that enable the Tamil Tigers to run amok. Seeing as how the electronic monitoring didn't even help after they knew what they were looking for, I doubt it will help them figure out what's going on.

    Freedom makes people happier and richer, richer and happier people are less likely (though not 100%) to commit these sorts of savage acts.

  • ||

    "Freedom makes people happier and richer, richer and happier people are less likely (though not 100%) to commit these sorts of savage acts."

    That kind of thinking leads people to decide that "spreading freedom" is a good use of our resources. How's that workin' out for us?

  • Zeb||

    The problem there is the failure to actually spread freedom and prosperity.

  • The Chad||

    Which is a pretty big oxymoron. Shouldn't they leave people... oh what's the word... oh yeah, FREE to do their own thing? Whether it's charge a VAT on their people, force their women to wear veils, or charge $10 for a beer at a ballgame; sovereignty is pretty straightforward.

  • The Gobbler||

    "If the system makes it so that only the idiotic and incompetent are our enemies, than the system works."

    I never said you were an enemy. Just a fuckhead.

  • ||

    Upwards of a thousand lives? Tell me again about "the big lie".

  • ||

    The Christmas Day bomber would have rained a wide body jet over Detroit. It would have killed however many were on board plus everyone it hit on the ground. It might not have gotten a thousand. But it would have come close. The times square bomb would have killed everyone within fifty feet or so on the street plus all the people in the first few floors of the building. That would have been in the hundreds. Add the two together, and it would have easily killed a thousand people had both bombs gone off.

  • ||

    OHHHHHH
    Worst case
    Both bombs
    Total

    I still say you maybe get "close to" 1K. Not easily over. Oklahoma City only killed 168.

  • ||

    """I still say you maybe get "close to" 1K.""

    I doubt you get half that.

  • The Gobbler||

    So it's all good then.

    Fuckhead trolls.

  • Grim Reaper||

    Are you guys really arguing about the possible death toll? Sounds a little bizarre

  • Mo||

    They were likely in a A330, which seats under 300. And it happened as they approached Detroit, which happens to be over that highly populated region of the country known as Lake Michigan. This could have potentially killed an additional handful of fish. Thanks for your factless vigilance John.

  • ||

    They were on an A330, which had 295 passengers. And they were not over Lake Michigan. They were over Detroit. He waited until they were over the city to detonate. That is why you heard all the bullshit about TSA wanting to prohibit pilots from telling passengers where the plane is and pointing out landmarks (like you can't look out the window and tell for yourself, but hey that is TSA).

  • ||

    My last inbound (only) trip from Dubai was interesting. They stuck the flight-in-progress thingy (a cool feature for international flights) at 0 lat. 0 lon. for the duration of the 16 hour flight.

    It was actually pretty weird, having been used to seeing it.

  • ||

    That is some good security theater there. The people who are appointed to run DHS and TSA its component live in mortal terror of something happening and them being preceived to have not "done something". But they have no idea what to do, since most of what can be done is already being done by other people. So, they spend their time dreaming up useless bullshit that allows them to get on the news. That idea of turning off the in flight progress thingy is straight from the top. Only a cabinet level official could be that stupid.

  • ||

    The security-theater confirmation was that the outbound flight (same US carrier, flight number incremented by 1, possibly even the same jet) had the system full up, even showing where we (as usual) diverted from the great circle route "plan" which took us over Baghdad and instead took a hard right before hitting Syria and instead flew through Saudi airspace.

  • ||

    ""A test explosion on a Boeing 747 has shown that a US Christmas Day flight would have landed safely even if a bomb on board was detonated successfully.""
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8547329.stm

    It probably would not have brought down the plane.

  • ||

    So what? That just means that he was doubly incompetent (managed to make a bomb that didn't work and wasn't large enough had it worded). It doesn't mean that the next guy won't build a bigger and better bomb.

  • Mo||

    Don't you think if it was bigger it would have either a) not fit in his pants or b) been detected prior to boarding. If you're sneaking crap onto a plane in your underwear, there's not a lot of room.

  • BeavisAndButthead||

    Try a beer belly. They've been successfully smuggled in before and hold 32 ounces of liquid. Add on a couple of catheter bags on your legs and you're up to 64 ounces.

  • ||

    So your point is that if the times square or x-mas day bombers had been successful and if they built their bombs correctly and if those bombs were powerful enough to kill around 1000 people then they could have killed around 1000 people?

    And even if not, someone in the future might build a bomb that can kill around 1000 people and therefore someone in the future will have built a bomb that will kill around 1000 people?

    In other words if the world behaved as you imagine it in the past and the way you imagine it in the future then your point will have been correct?

  • ||

    So your point is that if the times square or x-mas day bombers had been successful and if they built their bombs correctly and if those bombs were powerful enough to kill around 1000 people then they could have killed around 1000 people?

    And even if not, someone in the future might build a bomb that can kill around 1000 people and therefore someone in the future will have built a bomb that will kill around 1000 people?

    In other words if the world behaved as you imagine it in the past and the way you imagine it in the future then your point will have been correct?

  • ||

    Lake Erie got renamed?

    Anyway, the approach to DTW, especially from Europe, takes you over MAYBE Lake St. Clair. DTW is far enough inland from either Erie or St. Clair to require a bunch of flight time over suburban Detroit and Windsor. If they came in directly from the East, they spent a lot of time over Canada.

    If they came in straight in onto 22L or 22R or 21L or 21R (unlikely), they may have killed some Lake Huron or St. Clair fish.

  • Mo||

    Oops, brainfart. Just booked a flight through O'Hare. Even still plane debris wouldn't kill more than tens of people unless it hit a tall building during work hours. Which, it being Christmas, wasn't the case.

  • ||

    No doubt. Even if every piece was aflame and (somehow) traveling supersonic, you wouldn't get 700 dead on the ground. Certainly not in Detroit, which, last I heard, had significant problems with wildlife taking over large multi-block areas of abandoned land.

    On the other hand, Romulus is pretty far from downtown.

  • ||

    There are some who would say that a plane crash in Detroit would be a rather efficient method of urban renewal.

  • Rand McNally||

    Me thinks this might be useful for you: http://store.randmcnally.com/u.....higan.html

    And, DTW is over suburbs and bedroom communities. For people. Not fish.

  • Mo||

    As I said earlier, I had a brainfart, I was thinking of O'Hare, not DTW.

  • ||

    You're only 2 and a half hours late to the party, which is easily seen right above your post.

  • Mo||

    Dude the thing in Times Square was a couple of propane tanks, fireworks and a couple of bags of shit. They'd be lucky if it killed more than a dozen people.

  • ||

    Go to google maps John. Take a good satellite look at Detroit. A plane plummeting to earth in my fair city is more likely to end up in an abandoned factory or a depopulated residential neighborhood, killing pheasants, bunnies norway rats and couple of homeless squatters.

  • ||

    Can't really argue with you. I am guilty of making the erroneous assumption that people still live in Detroit.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    You also have to factor in the mass suicides caused by this crash.

    Why would there be a rash of suicides?

    1) Plane crashes in Detroit (an impoverished city in need of a miracle) on Xmas.
    2) Debris falls out of the sky and lands on the roofs of a bunch of poor folks.
    3) Poor folk think the sound they hear is caused by reindeer hooves.
    4) Poor folk climb onto the roof and only find debris
    5) With dashed hopes of a miracle they decide to end it all.

    Sham-Santa-Suicide-Syndrome (aka 4-S) would easily account for a couple of hundred people.

  • Mo||

    You should know, they dusted off the H-4 Hercules to use for the KLM Amsterdam to Detroit leg.

  • ||

    Maybe the system worked because the military/CIA/our allies killed, captured or scared all the good professors of bombology over at Terror U in Pakistan?

  • ||

    ""Maybe the system worked because the military/CIA/our allies killed, captured or scared all the good professors of bombology over at Terror U in Pakistan?""

    Or maybe it's because the FBI didn't help them with the bomb like they did in the first WTC attack.

  • Jen||

    Do you really expect to be taken seriously here by peddling your "we were in on 9/11" crap?

  • Alice Bowie||

    I agree 100%

  • ||

    ""Just like Christmas day, the only thing that saved upwards of a thousand lives was the lack of skill by our enemies, not our system.""

    Thousand lives? It's really hard to estimate a count. How do you know how much damage two barbecue propane tanks would cause? How are you calculating energy absorption rates of the different materials, the car, number of bodies across the sidewalk, quality and materials of building, ect? You're really just making it up for the most part.

    It's like the government thinking an envelope of Antrax can kill hundreds yet when one was actually delivered to the Captiol building, less than 5 people died.

  • Zeb||

    You are quite right that the system (whatever that means) did nothing to make this attempt less deadly or dangerous. But I am not sure that there is any system we would want to have that would have done anything to stop this. A well planned and executed bombing like this would look no different from a million other cars being parked in Manhattan everyday. What system could we have (which has any respect for rights and privacy) which would have stopped such an attack?

  • ||

    ""What system could we have (which has any respect for rights and privacy) which would have stopped such an attack?""

    You can't. Some people on the board thought I was nuts for defending the NYPDs subway bag search policy.

  • Tony||

    John, just how exactly could this have been prevented without NYC being a completely locked down police state?

    The feds have gotten pretty good at disrupting complex organized terrorist plots. Lone nuts are always going to be able to get through occasionally. But don't let that stop you from blaming Obama.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    The odds of us winding up in Police State Land is roughly 50/50, Tony. And it doesn't matter if Obama, or his eventual successor, is in the White House.

    Not pessimistic, we're just headed that way, and it won't make any difference if it's Team Red or Team Blue in charge.

  • David||

    What's the matter with you guys? Do you think your gov't can keep bombing and occupying and robbing people forever and they won't fight back? A police state won't stop terror. Getting our troops out of other people's countries will.

  • ||

    I think the worst part of the whole story is after the bomb failed. Shazad was able to to pay cash for a one-way ticket to Dubai, check no luggage and get on a plane all after being place on a watch-list. WTF? Why have I been talking my goddamn shoes off at the airport for the last five years and this asshole just strolls onto a plane?

  • ||

    That is because you are on the diabetic anti-American watch list. Everyone knows the insulin deficient are a much greater danger than Arab guys buying one way tickets and leaving behind homemade videotapes of themselves to their families.

  • ||

    Pakistani != Arab

  • Arizona Libertarian||

    packet of taco sauce in the car? BETTER HAVE YOUR PASSPORT AND BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!

  • ||

    Was this really meant as a response to me?

  • ||

    Anti-diabetic bastards!

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Don't get down on them. The same people who think libertarian is some esoteric brand of liberalism and thus not good also think that diabetic is someone devoted to being diabolical. A common mistake.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    also think that diabetic is someone devoted to being diabolical
    You mean they aren't?

  • Jordan Elliot||

    Exactly. When the bullshit laws and regs were needed, they failed. Almost completely.

    We are literally living the prequel to Idiocracy.

  • The Gobbler||

    No. The prequel ended quite some time ago.

  • Janet Napolitano||

    The System worked.

  • Urkobold™||

    DUNNO. MUST BE YOUR BIG TITS.

  • Mo||

    The striking thing about this incident is how real-life reactions have differed from the media/political reaction. If you were to go by what you see on TV and in Washington, you would think this was a Category 5 shitstorm. However, nobody I know has flinched or talked about it more than a simple, "Hey did you hear about the thing in Times Square." Interesting that the people actually living and dealing with it have largely shrugged their shoulders. Heck, I was 10 blocks away when this happened and the only reaction I got from my friends when I got the AP News Alert was figuring how to reroute the cab trip.

    I guess this is like looking at the world from the point of view of the local news versus real life. In the world of the local news you're mere seconds from consuming something that will kill you or your family or some scary person is going to kill/kidnap you or your children (we'll tell you how or who after the break). In real life, it's not at all the case.

  • ||

    But the bomb didn't go off. IF it had, people would have freaked.

  • Mo||

    If the Queen had balls, she'd be the King.

  • Your Favorite Queer||

    Not necessarily.

    Kiss Kiss!
    YFQ

  • ||

    People were panicking before at the threats.

    And, surely, we can't pretend that the guy up top telling us all we weren't scared enough didn't have anything to do with that.

  • ||

    Certainly. It was all the President. It had nothing to do with nine years passing since the last big terrorist attack. The only reason people ignore the warnings now is the incredible calm of Obama, not nine years of false alarms.

    Seriously Ken. You are usually better than that.

  • ||

    Are you saying I'm wrong to point out that once people are off the paranoia drip line, they're not as likely to be so scared?

    It's so obvious, it shouldn't even have to be said, much less argued.

    Fear makes people compliant. Obama does it all the time too--he just does it on other issues, like financial regulation and global warming... There, does that make you feel better?

    The fact is you can have a guy saying "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself", and that has one effect, and then you can have a guy telling the American people, "Okay, now everybody PANIC!", and that has another.

    Not having somebody at the top constantly accentuating the scary has an effect. ...as sure as the sound of a siren. There's just nothing to debate about that.

  • ||

    Constantly accentuating the scary has just the opposite effect Ken. It causes people to tune you out after nothing happens for a while. You have it backwards.

  • ||

    Actually, that's exactly what I was saying up top...

    You can't scare all the people all of the time. In a nutshell, I think that's why Republicans were distancing themselves from the Bush Administration at the end of his last term.

    Somewhere between justifying torture, using the phone companies to do surveillance, the constant droning about WMD, etc., he went one toke over the line. And not having someone like that up there making the case for paranoia makes a difference.

  • ||

    What difference is that? In some ways it is worse. Obama does all of those things but pretends like he is against them. He has made all of those things "bi-partisan". In 2013 when the Republicans come back in, whenever anyone objects to those policies they will be able to say "even Obama did this". And thus they will be able to paint anyone who disagrees with them as out of the mainstream.

    Obama basically has cut the legs out from under all of his supporters who objected to Bush's anti-terrorism policies.

  • ||

    You have little argument from me there.

    Except that the Bush Administration made a virtue of pounding the table in favor of these things.

    Obama has done very little to roll them back. But he isn't using the headlines to argue for surveillance and torture because of ticking time bombs either.

    It's the same thing with TARP too. Obama pushed $350 billion through in the first month of his term, much of that was a benefit of George Bush's fear mongering about economic collapse, etc.

    One of the best parts about not being anywhere on the Republican/Democrat Axis is that I don't have to pretend one is better than the other. I appreciate that Obama was as bad or worse as Bush in a lot of ways--do you appreciate that Bush was as bad or worse than Obama in others?

    One of them was that George Bush was a classic fear monger. You see that, don't you?

  • ||

    No I don't see that he is a "classic fear monger". 2800 people died on his watch. And he spent the rest of his Presidency going to whatever lengths to prevent it from happening again. You may think he overreacted or that he made bad decisions. All reasonable claims. But to claim that he is a "fear monger" means that he really didn't fear terrorism at all. And that he just dreamed the whole thing up for fun and profit. And that is just douchebaggery of the highest order.

  • blueGrass||

    It isn't just that issue in a vacuum a lobe, John. According to Bush and the entire conservative movement, if we didn't take measures, fags and dykes would be copulating wildly in the streets as they turn our children to sin by propagating abortions and smoking crack in the streets if we allowed gay marriage.

    In short, Bush was the classic fear monger or in every sense of the word.

    Coincidentally, Obama is no better. Rather than screaming in fear that the terrorists were out to kill us all, Obama just casually allows his underlings to blame dissenters of his policies.

  • ||

    """Constantly accentuating the scary has just the opposite effect Ken. It causes people to tune you out after nothing happens for a while. You have it backwards.""

    John says what?

    How is claiming a 1000 lives could be lost, not be accentuating the scary?

  • ||

    Yeah, a bomb going off in Times Square and a A330 breaking up and crashing over Detroit would be no big deal. things like that happen every day. What is to worry about? I am surprised we don't blow up planes over cities every month or so just for fun.

  • ||

    Neither one is going to kill 1000+ (at least not the propane-and-fireworks kind of bomb).

  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf||

    Fuck yeah.

  • Rahm E (anon)||

    Never let a good crisis go to waste......

  • ||

    I've got to say that I don't feel any better about the likelihood of a terrorist attack now than I did during the Bush administration. One ding on the current bunch is that they don't scare the potential terrorists. I think the we'd-love-to-invade-you mentality of Bush might've bought us some quiet time. Not that I agreed with most of what that administration did--I didn't.

  • Paul||

    History should teach us one thing: Talking nice to the crazies doesn't make them like you.

    What the Big Answer is, I don't know.

  • ||

    I know. Nuke the Moon!

  • ||

    I have long known that Urkobold, PBUH, has some sort of base orbiting planet Earth. ...whether it was more like the international space station or a lunar base, that's always been the question.

    And just so you know? I consider the suggestion that we nuke the moon a simple diversionary tactic--for all I know, that's exactly where his base is.

    ...but not necessarily. It could be anywhere.

    Anywhere.

    You're not fooling anyone.

  • ||

    I happen to know that it is, in fact, a lunar base.

  • DrC||

    What we are seeing now is terrorists that are "home grown." I still am amazed at how these Dbags continue to get through the security set up for them. It seems to me that underwear dude, Fort Hood Allah guy and now Times Square Bomber all should have been detected by the security already in place. Now that the terrorists know this, the will be coming en mass. This isn't fear mongering; this is the truth. Be ready for it.

  • ||

    Be ready for it = Live in fear

    In the land of the free and home of the brave? two words - HELL NO

    Though I submit that we are hardly the land of the free blah blah (as we lost our sacks and minds after the revolution and in the 1780's), I think its a good place to get back to.

    If you think more protection will fix anything - then you have never worked security - the golden rule is that is someone really wants in to do something - they will find a way - so fuck off.

  • ||

    Mo,
    That's because people that live in cities are zombies that sleepwalk through life and have no capacity to fear what they can't see.

  • ||

    Way to be a condescending prick. I happen to live in NYC, and am not a "zombie" who "sleepwalk[s] through life," nor am I a "liberal elitist" nor any other mindless cliche about big cities you can drudge up. It was, in fact, one of those big city zombies that actually brought the situation to the attention of the police.

    What is your point any? That people in big cities just aren't scared easily enough? That they lack the imagination to fear that the bogeyman is in they're closet?

  • ||

    Don't worry, Warren, I lived in NYC for 10 years and I didn't lose my sense of humor.

  • Mo||

    Did one of those big city zombies steal your sarcasm detector.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Don't forget to point out that you also aren't a stereotypical NYC blowhard who annoys the shit out of other people with their airs of superiority...

  • ||

    Yeah, stereotypes are so refreshing. I guess I'm supposed to call you a "troll" now.

  • ||

    After all that, you're STILL earnestly offended?

    Good God.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Wow, someone's tired of being told he's not a Real American.

  • Contessa Brewer||

    "I mean the thing is that--and I get frustrated and there was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country because there are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry. And so there was part of me was really hoping this would not be the case that here would be somebody who is not the defined...We’ll find out more. Were there failed family ties? Did he have a strong community network here in the United States? Did he feel isolated?"
    -Stephanie Miller radio show, 5-4

  • ||

    "Did he feel isolated?"
    -Stephanie Miller radio show, 5-4

    Maybe if his wife lived with him, he wouldn't be so isolated?

  • ||

    Shorter Contessa Brewer

    All of me was really hoping this could be blamed on Obama's political enemies and used to smear anyone who disagrees with the current government. Tear.

  • ||

    There is nothing worse than outdated bigotry. The fresh new bigotry is so much better!

  • The Gobbler||

    I get mine straight out of the bigot herd I keep out back. It's like mozzarella; it's got to be hand-made and super fresh.

  • ||

    This guy must be a closet neo-con, who gets his talking points from Repub central:

    "If I had to guess 25 cents, I'd bet the administration makes no mention of fundamentalist Islam, even when it reluctantly admits we're dealing with 'terror.'"

    Yes, make sure you lambast the administration for not using the word "terror" loosely and freely, before all the facts are in, even as you lambast them for jumping to conclusions before the facts are in.

    My conclusion: The author of this article belongs on Fox News not Reason Magazine.

  • ||

    Drink!

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Hey, David, Michael Young is writing articles and signing your name to them.

    Seriously, this guy goes to bomb school in Pakistan and attaches firecrackers to a load of non-explosive fertilizer and we're supposed to repeal the Constitution?

    Dozens of miners died last month, but no one says we need to give up coal. Eleven oil rig workers were killed last week, but no one says we're giving up oil. Why are we trying to turn terrorist "attacks" of a few half-assed misfits into the start of World War III?

  • Paul||

    Which article did you read now?

  • The Gobbler||

    Don't you have a Dicken's novel to write or something?

  • Enyap||

    "Eleven oil rig workers were killed last week, but no one says we're giving up oil."

    Haven't read any left wing blogs lately?

  • ||

    Who let the Kos Kid in?

  • ||

    Not Alan...maybe.

  • ||

    They're testing us to find out our weak spots.

    I mean the administration, not the terrorists.

  • Paul||

    I think it's pretty clear that our system can't catch the most incompetent of terrorists... what's going to happen when we face a truly competent one?

  • ||

    Hey, don't ask me.

  • ||

    People are going to die. Lots of them. Life will go on.

    I'm not goimg to soil my drawers over this shit. Feel free to drop a load in yours.

  • ||

    Good for you. But if it ever does happen, you better be saying exactly that before the bodies are cold. Have fun when you do do that.

  • Paul||

    Gee, and I thought it was a nice segway to talk about why canceling the constitution may not be as effective as once thought.

  • ||

    LOL, this dude was about as much of a terrorist as John McCain being black! DUde was total amateur hour, just another tea party wacko that was pushed over the edge.

    Lou
    www.being-anonymous.at.tc

  • Jen||

    Thanks for that. I was just wondering when someone would be stupid enough to somehow blame this on the tea partiers.

  • ||

    From the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

    HOWARD (V.O.) Treachery, ma'am. All Catholics are traitors! Their loyalty is to the Pope of Rome.
    ELIZABETH (V.O.) How many Catholics are there in England, sir?
    HOWARD (V.O.) Immense numbers, majesty!
    HATTON (V.O.) We believe half the nation clings to the old superstitions.
    ELIZABETH What would you have me do? `Cut out' half the people of England?
    HOWARD We must act, majesty. Our inaction is taken to be weakness.
    ELIZABETH If any of my people break the law, they will be punished. Until that day, I wish them to be let them alone.
    HATTON Until the day they rise in rebellion! Majesty, we have proven reason to fear every Catholic in the land -
    ELIZABETH Fear creates fear, sir. I will not punish my people for their beliefs. Only for their deeds. am assured that the people of England love their Queen. My constant endeavour is to earn that love.

  • Democrats||

    ELIZABETH If any of my people break the law, they will be punished. Until that day, I wish them to be let them alone.

    Stop right there...

  • The Gobbler||

    Oh how England has changed.

  • ||

    I know if I were a terrorist, I would be pretty damn pleased with the reaction to 911.

    Really? Tens of thousands of recruits killed, two state sponsors of terrorism out of commission, numerous subsequent attacks failed or foiled, Al Quaeda mortally wounded in the caves of Pakistan? You think that's the outcome bin Laden was hoping for on 9/11?

    The WOT has been, well, not pretty, from our point of view. From bin Laden's, its been a freaking disaster on almost every front.

  • Zeb||

    You don't think that Bin Laden expected exactly the reaction he got?

  • ||

    He was shocked. That whole "we did exactly what Bin Ladin wanted us to" line of bullshit needs to be retired.

    http://www.wtop.com/?nid=778&sid=1943289

    WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.

    "I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.

    "What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger."

    Sitting on the floor at bin Laden's compound in Kandahar, Afghanistan during a meeting the summer before the attacks, Benotman shocked bin Laden and more than 200 other international jihadist leaders by telling the al-Qaida leader his jihadi strategy was "a total failure."

    Benotman, a highly regarded associate of bin Laden's at the time, says he surprised him again by rebuffing a plea for help.

    "He asked for my help. Bin Laden asked me personally, you know. I responded immediately on the spot ...'No. I'm not going to help you.'"

    Bin Laden was stunned.

    "Because he used to like to sit next to me, you know. My right hand side," Benotman says.

    Benotman's assessment is backed up by a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, who was active in the fight against al-Qaida.

    The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says "several captured terrorists have said publicly that al-Qaida never expected the towers to fall. Their goal was to frighten people and impact the U.S. economy, so they really didn't plan for the massive response the U.S. launched."

    Bin Laden got more than one warning, says Benotman.

    "I told him several times before the Sept. 11th attacks that if you do this, the U.S. is going to retaliate in a very harsh way. At least twice I reminded him about the serious orders he was given by Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban to stop fighting the U.S., and he disobeyed the order."

    Now living in London and openly campaigning against organizations like al-Qaida, Benotman - according to some - is simply trying to avoid going to jail in his native Libya.

    "I would like to believe that bin Laden was shocked and dismayed by what we did after 9/11, but I come hard up against an awful lot of evidence that that's exactly what he wanted," says Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit.

    Scheuer questions whether Benotman is speaking out freely.

    "Clearly, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is holding a hammer over his head," Scheuer says, noting some of Benotman's ex-LIFG colleagues are in prison and Benotman still has relatives in Libya.

    Benotman, who still believes in the commitment Jihad requires, laughs at the notion he's afraid of being arrested.

    "I'm not afraid of the Americans or any other country. My speaking out is a conscious decision and it's based on my entire experience and understanding of jihadism."

    Not only does Benotman reject al-Qaida's ideology, but he says "killing civilians is a crime. I don't care if it's Jews, Christians, Muslims or anyone. It's a crime and we shouldn't help them (al Qaida)."

  • Zeb||

    I am not sure why I should believe Benotman over Scheuer. I could be wrong. I (just like you) only know the things other people tell me. But I don't think that this question is settled. Certainly not by the passage you quote above.

  • ||

    It is not just Benotman, although he does seem to know what he is talking about.

    "Benotman's assessment is backed up by a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, who was active in the fight against al-Qaida.

    The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says "several captured terrorists have said publicly that al-Qaida never expected the towers to fall. Their goal was to frighten people and impact the U.S. economy, so they really didn't plan for the massive response the U.S. launched."

    They were shocked at our response. And that makes sense. Bin Ladin had been claiming that our leaving Somalia was proof we would run whenever we suffered casualties.

  • Zeb||

    And maybe Al Qaeda are just that stupid, but who would think that the US is a paper tiger not prepared to bomb the shit out of some crappy countries? The entire history of the US is filled with foreign military interventions.

  • ||

    Stupid is always a good bet.

  • Zeb||

    Fair enough. Never underestimate the power of stupid, I suppose. And I accept that I may be completely wrong. The standard view of things just doesn't add up for me. Never underestimate the power of stupid, I suppose.

  • Zeb||

    And maybe Al Qaeda are just that stupid, but who would think that the US is a paper tiger not prepared to bomb the shit out of some crappy countries? The entire history of the US is filled with foreign military interventions.

  • ||

    wow...all of this was backed up by an anonymous CIA guy? that makes this so legit.

  • ||

    Dude,
    Fighting the war on 'terror bankrupting out nation : check

    Getting the people to actually feel safer and more secure by a government that does whatever the fuck it wants: check

    Garnigshing support from sypathizers worldwide in response to a problem that dates back almost 100 years: check

    Reaping higher recruiting rate and having the best technology thrown at you early on and thus make it easier to defeat later: check

    Spreading the worldview that the US foreign policy has caused more harm then good in every countries it goes to in the name of freedom and democracy: check+

    Causing a further division in a country that it can neither afford or mend: check

    Finally, causing more and more idiot Americans to not only listen to a known enemy over their own freedoms and common sense: check +10

    get a freakin clue

  • jacob||

    check +10

  • DrC||

    He would have gotten a few more Tomahawks from Gore, and AQ would be bigger today. Instead, he got a M16 shoved up his ass.

  • Zeb||

    There is no way to have a system which will stop all bombing attempts. If it were possible, I am sure such a system would be unacceptable to anyone who values freedom at all. A well executed plan to car bomb Manhattan would not be noticed by the most competent and together system until it happened. Even with the best system we could hope for, only losers like this guy will get caught and stopped. The fact that there have not been hundreds of successful car bombings in US cities really makes me doubt that there is in fact a large, well organized group of terrorists set on attacking the US.

  • Alice Bowie||

    BINGO!

  • ||

    +10

  • ||

    right on

  • ||

    The perp is lucky he didn't load up the truck with transfats and barrels of salt - Mayor Bloomies would have had him shot already.

  • &||

    It could have been worse, but it was certainly no Arizona, where people are being loaded into cattle cars for the extermination camps.

  • Is Eric Holder a Liar?||

    Everywhere I read that this bomber guy was in the plane as it taxied to the runway and yet last night, I saw Eric Holder say with his very own mouth that the gouy was never on the plane and that the reason the plane was called back was due to a need to interview other passengers.

    Who is telling the truth?

  • ||

    are you a truther...trying to get the truth? shut up...and believe your government!

  • ||

    Whoa wait a sec - as many times as Eric Holder has changed his story, and you still listen to him at all? wow

  • Henry||

    WORST COMMENTS EVER ON THIS SITE!!!

  • Number 2||

    "Man-caused disaster"?

    In every other context, government officials at all levels use the politically-correct term "person" or "human" instead of man, along with the every-popular "his/her" and the typographic monstrosity, "s/he." So why is it that when it comes to Events Formerly Known as Terrorism (EFKT's), the government uses the term, "man?" Sexists!

  • ||

    For bold freedom-lovers, a lot of you sound like a bunch of police-state worshippers who want daddy to protect and tell you exactly how afraid you should be.

    Why no one outside of your cloistered community of shut-ins and angry people takes you seriously is beyond my ken to understand.

    Or tell me again why so many libertarians evidently think civil liberties are for suckers.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Who fucking asked you, Jay?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    "Or tell me again why so many libertarians evidently think civil liberties are for suckers."

    I guess I am not one of those "many" Libertarians. As for everyone else, let me answer that with another question. Tell me why so many Democrats/Republicans have no problem using violence to enforce their so-called just and humane laws? If you have to shove it down people's throats at the end of a gun (or a prison rapist's dick), how just and humane can it really be.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Good thing all those Ron Paul voters are on the no-fly list!

  • GILMORE||

    In sort-of-related news, the NYT publishes a hysterical-scare-story about how this terrorist immigrant was in possession of a HIGHLY DANGEROUS FIREARM THAT IS SCARY AND LETHAL AND DID WE MENTION SCARY?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/nyregion/06gun.html?hp

    ... it being a plastic 9mm Kel-Tec. BUT ITS STILL EVIL AND DEADLY!
    Read the not-so-subtle subtext:


    ""Mr. Shahzad had also been equipped with a less eccentric — and yet, more dependably lethal — weapon. And he owned it legally....
    It is fearsome looking, a carbine hybrid of pistol and long gun with a mouthful of a name: the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000.""

    ""Because it is classified as a rifle, it required no permit, as pistols do in Connecticut. But with its folding stock, hand grip, and appetite for pistol ammunition and not rifle ammunition, the Kelt-Tech was about as close as one could get to a pistol that is not technically one.

    ""...But all along he was in possession of a weapon that could have easily done extreme damage, one rapidly fired round at a time

    ...The gun was designed by George Kellgren, perhaps best known for having designed early versions of the Tec-9 handgun that became a favorite of street criminals and was later banned

    ...It fires its rounds as quickly as one can pull the trigger; it is not a machine gun, but fast enough...

    ...It is, in effect, a low-powered rifle. ""

    The fact that they even did a whole separate article about the fact that the guy *had a gun* speaks to their point... BAN GUNS! GUNS BAD! WHY NO LICENCE?WHY NO REGULATION? FUNKY STOCK! DEADLY WEAPON!!

    Honestly, i think the stuff is too biased to qualify as news.

  • ||

    your just now figuring this out?

  • blueGrass||

    Well..

    They couldn't blame it on a Right Wing Extremest™ and they couldn't say how great the system under Obama works (because the only thing between what did happen and a horrible terrorist attack is that the bomb didn't explode), so they had to find some other bogeyman way of blaming something on the right wing.

    Standard operating procedure. If we can directly blame tea baggers, find a way to blame the things that tea baggers stand for. It all works out the same in the end.

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