Terrorism

Losing the War on Terror

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So why is that despite the fact that there hasn't been a terror attack on U.S. soil in nearly six years, it still feels like we're losing the "war on terror?"

I'd say it's because of crap like this:

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the editorial board of The Chicago Tribune that he had a "gut feeling" about a new period of increased risk.

He based his assessment on earlier patterns of terrorists in Europe and intelligence he would not disclose.

"Summertime seems to be appealing to them," Chertoff said in his discussion with the newspaper about terrorists. "We worry that they are rebuilding their activities."

Other U.S. counterterrorism officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, shared Chertoff's concern and said that al-Qaida and like-minded groups have been able to plot and train more freely in the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border in recent months. Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding in the rugged region.

By definition, the aim of "terrorism" is not to topple the U.S. government, or even to rack up a massive body count (though that seems to be a perk for them). The aim of terrorism is to cause terror. It's to scare us. Frighten us. Alter our way of life, and get our government to change its policies.

In this sense, the very people who are supposed to be protecting us from terrorists are playing right into the terrorists' hands. Despite the absence of any specific information, and despite the fact that his saying as much would do little if anything to actually thwart a pending attack, Chertoff still feels he has to go public with his "gut feeling" that something awful might happen this summer. And so the newspapers and Drudge and the blogs run with it. And now we get to go about our summer business with the foreboding cloud of a possible terror attack looming on the horizon.

This is pretty consistent with how the government has behaved since 9/11: vague warnings, a lack of specific information, and lots of hassle. We now go through an expensive, invasive, tedious, basically useless ritual every time we get on an airplane because the government feels like if we're hassled and frightened, we'll at least feel safer. When Britain broke up a half-assed attempt at an attack using liquid explosives, the government decided to add a complicated sorta'-ban on carrying gels and liquids onto flights, too. Never mind that the broken-up attack wouldn't have worked, or that it would be nearly impossible to bring down a plane with liquid explosives stored in a carry-on bag. And now, Chertoff casts a shadow over the summer based on rumbles in his gut.

Al-Qaeda doesn't actually have to kill people to cause terror, especially if we're doing their PR work for them. They don't need to actually land any body blows if we keep falling to the canvas every time they fake a punch. What if Chertoff's right? Maybe there will be an attack this summer. I hope not. But if there is, what purpose did this vague, scary warning serve, other than to frighten people?

I suppose you could argue that such warnings put all of us on high alert—that they make us more likely to report suspicious activity and such. But I doubt it. September 11 woke us up. I find it implausible, for example, that plane passengers will be more likely now to tackle and incapacitate a threatening passenger than they would have been before Chertoff's warning, or that someone would be more likely now to report a suspicious package in an airport lobby.

Not to mention that these pronouncements are a kind of red flag to those terrorists who may actually be out there. Think about it. If you're part of a sleeper cell, when would you be most likely to carry out your attack: Now, when the government has announced it's on high alert, or perhaps later, when things have returned to normal-ish?

I suppose you could also argue that in that sense, these pronouncements do stave off terror attacks. But if that's the case, they really only postpone them, don't they?

To me, this smells of "doing something" syndrome. That is, Chertoff may or may not have gotten wind of some Al-Qaeda chatter that made him nervous. His comments today, then, are a way to cover his butt should that chatter lead to an actual attack. He can then say, "Hey, we were on it. We may not have prevented it, but at least we warned you." And of course if there's no attack, who's going to complain?

That's a good way of looking like you're fighting terrorism, but it seems to me it isn't actually fighting terrorism. In fact, it's quite literally spreading terror.

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  1. My instantaneous response to Chertoff’s sound bite was an urge to take him out back and give him a seminar on Civil Administration, Chinese-style.

    The Terrorist-in-Chief and his minions have rendered Bin Laden superfluous.

  2. Good post. However, it begs the question, why do our government officials keep playing into the terrorists’ hands?

  3. Yet just like the old Commies under the bed, zillions of our fellow Americans believe there are small armies of brown bombers sneaking across our southern border in the dead of night.

    Boo!

  4. Politicians want you scared so you’ll give them power.

  5. Good piece.

    The aim of terrorism is to cause terror. It’s to scare us. Frighten us. Alter our way of life, and get our government to change its policies.

    And let’s not forget, to goad us into a poorly-thought-out overreaction that will generate hosility towards us while making it easier for the terrorists to do damage to the troops we’ve thus exposed.

  6. Too bad none of you are listening to the guy on c-span right now. He is scaring the shit out of me. He says Putin told Bush no Russian nukes were lost during HIS reign. Ya’lls narrow-minded posts are going to look pretty stupid when the big one hits.

  7. I suppose you could argue that such warnings put all of us on high alert-that they make us more likely to report suspicious activity and such.

    Damn, Balko, did you miss Michelle Malkin’s memo? Actually we’re all too scared to report suspicious activity ’cause then the Radical IslamoNaziDemoGargamelianFacists will sue us and the liberal 9th Circuit courts will make us pay damages for offending their feelings since sharia has already been implemented in America by that global caliphate. That’s why we need inspiring documents like her “John Doe Manifesto”.

  8. If these idiots stay in power, the terrorists win.

  9. I say we behave like the old German Shepard that lets the cats and the children abuse him mercilessly but rips the flesh off of burglars and other real threats. Let’s be confident in our strength.

  10. “to goad us into a poorly-thought-out overreaction that will generate hosility towards us while making it easier for the terrorists to do damage to the troops we’ve thus exposed.”

    Reportedly, the motive of the Bsonian Mulsim recently charged with plotting to attack a US military base in the New Jersey area was that the US did nothing to stop the massacre of Bosnian Muslim in the mid 1990s. We intervene they want to kill us. We don’t intervene they want to kill us.

  11. James Ard:

    I think the point is that I’d rather the government expend resources actually looking for those loose nukes instead scaring the crap out of us on the nightly news and making us jump through hoops at airports.

  12. I heard this on NPR this morning and I thought I was going to puke. A “gut feeling?!” If there’s no evidence, why have other officials only spoke on condition of anonymity… oh right, to make it look like there’s extremely important information that they can’t tell us.

    But wait… wasn’t it just a gut feeling? Or is it the case that Chertoff isn’t as informed as those speaking anonymously?

  13. To me, this smells of “doing something” syndrome. That is, Chertoff may or may not have gotten wind of some Al-Qaeda chatter that made him nervous. His comments today, then, are a way to cover his butt should that chatter lead to an actual attack. He can then say, “Hey, we were on it. We may not have prevented it, but at least we warned you.”

    Ding ding ding!

    Mr Balko, you may take the stuffed animal of your choice. For all the talk of a sinister plot to scare Americans into giving up their freedoms, I’m still inclined to blame good old-fashioned bureaucratic CYA-ing. There are way more ossified bureaucrats in govt than there are sinister types.

    After all, Chertoff doesn’t want to wind up like one of those people who lost their jobs because they didn’t do anything to stop 9/11…oh, wait…

  14. Great work, Radley, as usual! Thank you!

    WKQX in Chicago has been making fun of Chertoff all morning. Including discussing what other denizens find summertime “appealing”.

    Reinmoose – your gut feeling can be cured with a little pepto… and I apologize – I switched the expiration date on the egg salad…

  15. Reinmoose,

    He doesn’t have to find out from so-called “intelligence sources” or listening to the chatter. He just looks to his gut.

    Did you know there are more neurons in the gut than in the brain? Next time, think with your gut.

  16. Fantastic post. It shall be e-mailed and e-mailed a second time…

  17. Remember, 9/11 was technically during the summer. They were probably desperate to get an attack off before the equinox.

  18. Herr Karter. Jaja. si. oui.

    good call. vee have vayz of making zis happen.

    But – if the constant fear mongering gets you down, just listen to “Danger Zone” and get on yer flyboy suits!

    (John Cocktosen can hook you up through his contact Underhill)

  19. We now go through an expensive, invasive, tedious, basically useless ritual every time we get on an airplane because the government feels like if we’re hassled and frightened, we’ll at least feel safer.

    But let’s be fair – one inherent problem with preventative measures is that if they work, it eventually starts to appear they were not really needed.

  20. All terror will disappear when Islam is banned worldwide and all it’s followers are killed.

  21. Good post. However, it begs the question, why do our government officials keep playing into the terrorists’ hands?

    Because the citizenry en mass? has yet to become sufficiently disgusted with fear-mongering from idiots like “Gut Feeling” Chertoff to prohibit him and people like him from ever holding office.

    Radley has a good point here: the public at large may feel safer if it is perceived that Somebody In Charge is Doing Something, even if that something amounts to nothing more than vague predictions of disaster and hassling American citizens at airport security.

  22. I have a gut feeling election time is coming.

  23. But let’s be fair – one inherent problem with preventative measures is that if they work, it eventually starts to appear they were not really needed.

    How long does it take you to think of the stupidest possible thing you can say before you say it?

    I suppose the thought of WWII vets, old ladies, and pregnant women being thoroughly groped by TSA goons make you feel safer, huh?

  24. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    ~H. L. Mencken

  25. I suppose the thought of WWII vets, old ladies, and pregnant women being thoroughly groped by TSA goons make you feel safer, huh?

    Well, I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I fly on a fairly regular basis and while the security checkpoints certainly can be annoying, I’ve never seen any examples of the horror stories that supposedly are taking place.

    I do think, however, that if you’re going to do a security screening on a certain percentage of passengers, it has to at least appear to be done on a “random” basis.

    Anyway, the point is that the security checkpoints have accomplished their objective of preventing another 9/11 style attack, but it’s always true that if the measures work it will appear that they weren’t needed in the first place.

  26. VM,

    I may have related this here before, but during my senior year in college, my roommates and I briefly acquired a mannequin from a friend of ours. Having nothing better to do, we dressed it up in my gorilla suit and sat it in a chair next to our beer pyramid. Its name? John Cocktosen.

    Run DMC-It’s Tricky,

    You’re Mencken sense to me.

  27. I have a gut feeling that Michael Chertoff is full of shit.

    This is based on earlier patterns of politicians that I can’t tell you about, but trust me, I know.

  28. However, it begs the question, why do our government officials keep playing into the terrorists’ hands?

    And that begs the question, do you know what begging the question is?

  29. Anyway, the point is that the security checkpoints have accomplished their objective of preventing another 9/11 style attack, but it’s always true that if the measures work it will appear that they weren’t needed in the first place.

    No, we haven’t had another 9/11 attack because I’ve been saying the rosary every day since then. There’s about as much evidence for both of our theories, and mine also results in shorter airport waits.

  30. The problem facing the people who are actually responsible for things is that there are in a no win situation publicly. If they succeed in their jobs and prevent terror attacks jackasses like Balko will be on here telling us how there never was a terrorist threat and the whole thing is overblown to justify people’s jobs. If they fail and there really is a terrorist attack, said jackasses are then reasy to step up and play Monday morning quarterback and with the amazing power of 20/20 hindsight there to say how all the evidence of an impending attack were there if only they had connected the dots, never of course noticing that connecting the dots is a hell of a lot easier after you know how things turn out.

    I am not sure what Chertoff saying that he thinks we might get a terror attack this summer really accomplishes. But then again, if he hadn’t said anything and there is in fact an attack this summer, how many people will be screaming, “why didn’t you say something if you suspected an attack was imminent?”

  31. “No, we haven’t had another 9/11 attack because I’ve been saying the rosary every day since then. There’s about as much evidence for both of our theories, and mine also results in shorter airport waits.”

    How do you know? Are you privy to the classified briefings of what the threat actually is? I am not, so I am not willing to say that. Just because something confirms your hopes, doesn’t mean its true.

  32. ProGLib:

    awesome. We need to stick up for the Scotch-Romanian constituency.

    however, these lines, Having nothing better to do, we dressed it up in my gorilla suit and sat it in a chair next to our beer pyramid trigger the H&R rule XK-Red-27:

    Which clearly states

    Les d?cisions prises influent sur la disponibilit? des marchandises et du mat?riel utilis?s pour la recherche et les travaux de laboratoire.

    Responsable de la conduite en toute s?curit? de gerbeuses et de tout autre mat?riel de manutention des marchandises de fa?on ? s’assurer de la protection des autres personnes, en particulier lors du d?placement de produits chimiques et de gaz.

  33. My gut rumblings tell me that Michael Chertoff wants a successful Al Queda terrorist attack to happen because it means more money and power for him and his friends if it happens.

  34. “No, we haven’t had another 9/11 attack because I’ve been saying the rosary every day since then. There’s about as much evidence for both of our theories, and mine also results in shorter airport waits.”

    crimethink for tsa chief.

    also i’m really glad chertoff consults a fucking mood ring before making public announcements.

  35. “””Anyway, the point is that the security checkpoints have accomplished their objective of preventing another 9/11 style attack, but it’s always true that if the measures work it will appear that they weren’t needed in the first place.””””

    There is no real evidence that it has actually worked. It’s tough to prove, but the fact that it hasn’t happened is not proof at all. The odd are more likely that it hasn’t happened because they know the passengers will kick the crap out of them this time.

    Some of the items forbidden to bring through security can be bought in a shop on the other side. I think I saw letter openers at one airport gift store. I did see fingernail files, clippers and all sorts of things that could be used as a weapon.

  36. I look for sniffy linings but you’re rotten to the core.
    I’ve had just about all I can take,
    you know I can’t take it no more.
    Got a gut feeling…

  37. All terror will disappear when RELIGION is banned worldwide and all it’s followers are killed.

    There you go Jim, fixed that for you.

  38. “There is no real evidence that it has actually worked. It’s tough to prove, but the fact that it hasn’t happened is not proof at all. The odd are more likely that it hasn’t happened because they know the passengers will kick the crap out of them this time.”

    True enough. 9-11 was a Wiley Coyote trick that will never work again. The question is what is the next Wiley Coyote trick? It may take them a while, but they have all the time in the world and will eventually get lucky and figure out another one.

  39. The question is what is the next Wiley Coyote trick?

    Probably freeway snipers. Sort of like what the DC Snipers planned on doing when they got the manpower.

  40. “All terror will disappear when PEOPLE are killed.”

    super-fixed.

  41. “””But then again, if he hadn’t said anything and there is in fact an attack this summer, how many people will be screaming, “why didn’t you say something if you suspected an attack was imminent?””””

    But Chertoff said nothing of content or help.

    They same people will be screaming “if you knew about it why didn’t you stop it?”

    By your arguement John, If the feds said they may be a terrorist attack this year, on January 1. They are covered.

    Good point Dave. If AQ attacked two entities will benefit, AQ and DHS.

  42. No, we haven’t had another 9/11 attack because I’ve been saying the rosary every day since then. There’s about as much evidence for both of our theories, and mine also results in shorter airport waits.

    But what preventative measure could this lgoic not apply to? We can’t prove that polio vaccinations have prevented people from contracting polio because maybe they wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. Hell, we can’t prove that any action accomplishes any result because we can’t know for sure what would have happened had we not performed that action.

  43. I do think, however, that if you’re going to do a security screening on a certain percentage of passengers, it has to at least appear to be done on a “random” basis.

    I was in a business meeting with several pilots from FedX. One of them recounted a meeting he had with El Al. The Israeli said “You Americans are stupid. You waste all this time looking for weapons. We look for terrorists.”

    The TSA is worse that useless. They burn through vast amounts of money to achieve nothing other than harassing legitimate passengers.

  44. VM,

    If you’re suggesting that I should make my gorilla suit available for general use and “testing”, it’s too late. The last time I wore it was in law school, over a decade ago. Since that time, the mask has melted. I gave the suit to my step-son, who has delusions of grandeur. As well he should. You’d be amazed at the way that people reacted to a gorilla running around Gainesville for no apparent reason. Heck, I had hardcore politicos pushing me to run for student body president as Jungle Pro Libertate. No way I could’ve lost.

  45. Wiley Coyote

    I let it slide the first time you posted it…but now it’s getting on my nerves.

    It’s Wile E. Coyote.

    beep beep!

  46. will be more likely now to tackle and incapacitate a threatening passenger than they would have been before Chertoff’s warning

    The cockpit doors should have been locked long before 9/11.

    Passengers, schmassengers.

    Flt 93 was shot down.

  47. How do you know? Are you privy to the classified briefings of what the threat actually is?

    Are you privy to God’s response to my prayers?

    It seems to me that you’re offering as evidence the fact that there is no evidence. If that’s the standard, there’s a shitload of evidence for my Rosary theory.

  48. Our domestic policy response to terrorism amounts to Chertoff jumping out from behind a dresser and yelling “BOO!”

    We are the Scooby Doo kids when we need them? I guarantee you when they rip off Chertoff’s mask it will just be old man Weatherby, who runs the haunted amusement park.

  49. goddammit, Sugar, you scared the crap out of me.

    why didn’t “john” do anything about it?

    *SOBS

  50. Dan T.

    You’re the one who originally made a claim that something had prevented us from having another 9/11, when there’s clearly no evidence to back it up.

    I was pointing out that if the lack of evidence is itself considered evidence, any claim could be justified.

  51. The question is what is the next Wiley Coyote trick? It may take them a while, but they have all the time in the world and will eventually get lucky and figure out another one.

    Shouldn’t the question really be – why are we altering our policies based on the last Wile E Coyote trick that won’t succeed ever again ?

  52. SugarFree,

    “…and I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling libertarians!”

  53. “If they fail and there really is a terrorist attack, said jackasses are then reasy to step up and play Monday morning quarterback and with the amazing power of 20/20 hindsight there to say how all the evidence of an impending attack were there if only they had connected the dots, never of course noticing that connecting the dots is a hell of a lot easier after you know how things turn out.”

    Not me, Jack. I didn’t even want there to be a 9/11 Commission because I knew it would be a joke.

    You guys are missing the point about preventative measures, and why they don’t work. The reason they don’t work is because the United States is a nation of 300 million that is a continent long, and if 20 men who don’t care if they die or not want to kill 1000+ people in that target environment, they can do it. Grabbing the bottles of toddlers at airports isn’t going to make any difference.

    That’s the really striking thing to me about the recent Glasgow incident, that pretty much proves to me that these guys were clowns and not real terrorists. Why bother trying to drive your car over a concrete barrier, when you can just drive it into a kindergarten playground with no barrier in front of it instead? If genuine Al Qaeda members are in the US, they aren’t going to attack an airport or a government building again. They’re going to hit a school or a highway megachurch or some other soft target. And no matter what security regime you put in place, you will never, ever, ever cover all the soft targets, and if you even get close you’ll make the country absolutely intolerable to live in.

  54. That’s the really striking thing to me about the recent Glasgow incident, that pretty much proves to me that these guys were clowns and not real terrorists.

    This is an example of why Monday morning quarterbacking is important after all.

    It is pretty clear that police had pix of these suspects, from the London bombing, and well before the Glasgow attack.

    They did not release the pictures to the public.

    We can argue about whether that was out of police incompetence or whether it was because the police wanted the second attack to happen, but no matter what the UK police ought to be real ashamed for letting Glasgow happen without trying to stop it. If the next target had been a daycare, then more people would probably understand what I am driving at here.

  55. “Truth comes from the gut, not books”

  56. Dan T.

    You’re the one who originally made a claim that something had prevented us from having another 9/11, when there’s clearly no evidence to back it up.

    I was pointing out that if the lack of evidence is itself considered evidence, any claim could be justified.

    No, my original point was similar to what John said – the government is in a no-win situation because like with any preventative measure it’s impossible to really tell what would have happened in the alternative universe where that measure was not taken.

    I guess what it comes down to is that the government has expanded airport security in order to prevent another 9/11 style attack. In that sense, the security program has accomplished its objective. It’s impossible for any of us to “prove” whether the lack of another attack was 100% due to airport security, 0% due to airport security, or somewhere in between. So we all have to kind of go with what’s most likely, which is subjective I admit.

  57. “”””They’re going to hit a school or a highway megachurch or some other soft target. And no matter what security regime you put in place, you will never, ever, ever cover all the soft targets, and if you even get close you’ll make the country absolutely intolerable to live in.”””

    If you give up your liberty for security, you end up with neither.

    I don’t think our government really wants us to give up our liberty, they just want to change the definition. Liberty = obedience. To obey authority is participation in liberty.

  58. I’ve never seen any examples of the horror stories that supposedly are taking place

    So if Dan T. hasn’t seen it, it hasn’t happened? Dan T., have you witnessed a murder? A rape? An earthquake?…

    No? *whew* It’s all been a nightmare. Somebody pinch me, please.

    Buck sez, “We intervene they want to kill us. We don’t intervene they want to kill us.”

    Yep. I lived in KSA (lovingly dubbed The Magic Kingdom) from 1982-1996. During Gulf War 1.0 we had a little joke about the Saudis… Defend us, but don’t offend us!

    It’s not very funny because it’s true.

  59. “””So we all have to kind of go with what’s most likely, which is subjective I admit.”””

    It’s too subjective to be called the reason it’s not happening.

  60. Fluffy,

    Correct.
    But does it follow that you don’t harden some targets? Lack of the possibility of perfect success is a part of any human activity. Doesn’t make them all useless.

  61. Dan T. and John,

    I have this Tiger-Repellent Rock, would you care to purchase it?

  62. Dan T,

    I guess my problem is, you’re trying to justify the airport security silliness by saying it prevents terrorist attacks, when there’s no evidence that it does so. Then you try to cover for the fact that there is no evidence by saying that there would be no evidence, even if it worked; but I’m saying that isn’t convincing at all, because that justification could be applied to anything that supposedly prevents terror attacks.

    Also, there is the small inconvenient matter of all the weapons and other forbidden items that auditors have managed to sneak past the security lines, which contradicts your assertion that the policy is doing its job.

  63. But does it follow that you don’t harden some targets?

    Sure. But I’ve yet to read a convincing argument that Airliners are worthy of being classified as a target worth hardening to the extent we do.

  64. “That’s the really striking thing to me about the recent Glasgow incident, that pretty much proves to me that these guys were clowns and not real terrorists. Why bother trying to drive your car over a concrete barrier, when you can just drive it into a kindergarten playground with no barrier in front of it instead? If genuine Al Qaeda members are in the US, they aren’t going to attack an airport or a government building again. They’re going to hit a school or a highway megachurch or some other soft target. And no matter what security regime you put in place, you will never, ever, ever cover all the soft targets, and if you even get close you’ll make the country absolutely intolerable to live in.”

    You are right. The sollution is you have to identify who these people are and kill them before they can act. The fact is that it is harder to be a terrorist than people think. Yeah, any clown can run a car into an airport, but doing real damage takes patience training and money. That is why the whole “we just create more terrorists by killing them” is crap. At worst we create wannabes like the clowns in Glasgow. One Atta or KSM is worth a 100 wannabes. If anything has prevented another 9-11 it has been the capture and killing of most of Al Quada’s A-team terrorists. It seems that all they have now, are amateurs and perhaps a few pros who seem to be otherwise employed in Iraq right now.

  65. I guess my problem is, you’re trying to justify the airport security silliness by saying it prevents terrorist attacks, when there’s no evidence that it does so.

    What I’m asking you is to describe any preventative measure that can be proven to have worked.

    Also, there is the small inconvenient matter of all the weapons and other forbidden items that auditors have managed to sneak past the security lines, which contradicts your assertion that the policy is doing its job.

    It’s probably tough to find any program that results in 100% success. We could stop every single weapon, but the costs would be too high.

  66. It is obvious. Our government is the terrorist.

  67. What I’m asking you is to describe any preventative measure that can be proven to have worked.

    The whole of the health industry is based upon statistical analysis of preventative measures and their impact on incidence of disease in populations.

    That wasn’t even hard.

    As for the TSA, there have been many public studies that show it doesn’t work, that it is wasteful, and — most importantly — that it diverts resources from safety measures that actually are effective.

  68. It’s all a big pump fake. Look over here, not over there where the real problems are.

  69. Part of it is a desire to CYA, another part is to keep us alarmed and looking to El Presidente Bush to keep us safe by fighting dem Terrorists in Iraq.

    And then, the more cynical part of me believes that these jerk-offs would really get off if OBL and his ilk stage another attack and kill a few thousand more of us. Then they can strut in front of Fox News and CNN cameras and tell us how they told us so and oh, how wrong we were for not believing the holy Bush and how archaic and foolish our desire was to have a government that actually followed the constitution.

  70. The fact is that it is harder to be a terrorist than people think. Yeah, any clown can run a car into an airport, but doing real damage takes patience training and money.

    Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols didn’t really have those things, did they?

    The ELF doesn’t really have those things, do they?

    Even that nutty Korean at Virginia tech scored a pretty good bodycount. He had no patience, no training and no money.

    The Glasgow attack could have been a whole lot worse, without too much more money or patience or training.

  71. The whole of the health industry is based upon statistical analysis of preventative measures and their impact on incidence of disease in populations.

    But you can’t truly measure the impact of a preventative action, because you don’t know what the result of not taking that action would have been. Like I wrote earlier, did my polio vaccination prevent me from getting polio?

  72. But you can’t truly measure the impact of a preventative action, because you don’t know what the result of not taking that action would have been. Like I wrote earlier, did my polio vaccination prevent me from getting polio?

    So you must be totally ignorant of the scientific method and the processes for setting up verifiable experiments.

    Your polio vaccination reduced your probability of getting polio from some non-trivial, non-zero percentage to effectively zero. You should thank modern medicine every day you take a breath.

  73. Isn’t John’s A-team argument similar to Dan-T’s. Just because they haven’t used the A-team lately doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    I’m not sure if failure means they were not part of the A-team. Was the millennium bomber caught at the border A-team? It seems A-team could be a term that separates success from failure. I would think, that if an A-team existed it would be their most trained, most rehearsed people. If the Doctors would have been successful in London, it would have looked like the A-team.

    We sent our A-team to rescue the Iranian hostages back in the day. They failed, that didn’t make them any less of our A-team.

    “””Like I wrote earlier, did my polio vaccination prevent me from getting polio?”””

    Dan, have you ever been exposed to polio? If you haven’t it didn’t.

  74. good piece radley

    i am beginning to think Dan T serves some kind of biological function. Like, homeopathically. We gradually become more immune to stupidity with every post.

  75. I can’t believe you didn’t mention the obvious reason for these “rumblings” on the part of cherhoff. HIS FUNDING. As long as we’re scared, he’s paid, and the corporations that will no doubt hire him at a huge premium upon his retirement are paid too. Its a symbiotic money game between a few terrorist nutcases and a massive industry.

  76. But you can’t truly measure the impact of a preventative action, because you don’t know what the result of not taking that action would have been. Like I wrote earlier, did my polio vaccination prevent me from getting polio?

    Huh? Dude, are you huffing paint thinner?

  77. THE URKOBOLD BELIEVES THAT EACH AMERICAN SHOULD HARDEN HIMSELF TO FEND OFF TERRORIST ATTACKS.

  78. But Chertoff needs our protection money, Urkobold???! Gut feelings and stuff!

  79. *bate bate bate

    I’M WORKIN’ ON IT, OH MIGHTY URKOBOLD

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