Middle East

Soft on Terrorism? No Way!

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reason contributor John Mueller, the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies and professor of political science at Ohio State University, writes in The National Interest:

Terrorism and the attendant "war" thereon have become fully embedded in the public consciousness, with the effect that politicians and bureaucrats have become as wary of appearing soft on terrorism as they are about appearing soft on drugs, or as they once were about appearing soft on Communism.

Key to this dynamic is that the public apparently continues to remain unimpressed by several inconvenient facts. One such fact is that there have been no al-Qaeda attacks whatsoever in the United States since 2001. A second is that no true al-Qaeda cell (or scarcely anybody who might even be deemed to have a "connection" to the diabolical group) has been unearthed in this country. A third is that the homegrown "plotters" who have been apprehended, while perhaps potentially somewhat dangerous at least in a few cases, have mostly been either flaky or almost absurdly incompetent.

Read the whole article here.

Hat tips: Alan Vanneman, Arts & Letters Daily.

Updates: Here's Jacob Sullum on "The Forever War," from the October 2002 issue. And me on "The New Cold War," from the December 2001 issue.