There's lots of talk now among us of the reality (or lack thereof) of a terrorist threat.
Several interesting posts about this have emerged over the last few days, from John Mueller's question Is there still a terrorist threat? The myth of an omnipresent enemy-
...On the first page of its founding manifesto, the massively funded Department of Homeland Security intones, "Today's terrorists can strike at any place, at any time, and with virtually any weapon."
But if it is so easy to pull off an attack and if terrorists are so demonically competent, why have they not done it? Why have they not been sniping at people in shopping centers, collapsing tunnels, poisoning the food supply, cutting electrical lines, derailing trains, blowing up oil pipelines, causing massive traffic jams, or exploiting the countless other vulnerabilities that, according to security experts, could so easily be exploited?
One reasonable explanation is that almost no terrorists exist in the United States and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad. But this explanation is rarely offered...
A better focussed analysis comes from Juan Cole:
The Bush administration obviously wishes it were waging war on Nazi Germany. Even the old Soviet Union would be fine, these nostalgic Cold Warriors seem to think. Something big and menacing that would scare the blue-haired grannies in Peoria into voting Republican because, everyone knows, in addition to being good for business (except for that Depression unpleasantness), Republicans are mean s.o.b.'s and would as soon shoot a potential menace to the US as glare at him.
The Bush administration has the misfortune to have no powerful enemies it is brave enough actually to take on. China and Russia are not exactly enemies any more, and are the only potential state challengers to United States freedom of action as the sole superpower. And they don't go beyond potential. Too busy making money while Washington bleeds itself dry with military adventures. Waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces.
So what enemies does Bush see that he really will confront?
...a laundry list of places Bush would like to control because they have oil or gas, or are key to its development, or have other strategic benefits for the US and/or its regional allies, especially Israel.
So Bush is basically saying that the US is threatened by a congeries of Middle Eastern movements and governments that have nothing to do with one another, and only one of which has struck directly at the US since Bush came to office. Plus North Korea.
And this is the reason for which he needs to keep 140,000 troops in Iraq, to stop the Muslim fundamentalists from taking it over. But of course, the Da'wa Party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Sadr movement have *already* taken it over.
Nor is it plausible that "al-Qaeda" could take over Iraq! The United States couldn't take over Iraq. The Shiites and Kurds would never put up with it. Bush doesn't need to stay in Iraq to fight al-Qaeda there. If Bush weren't in Iraq, neither would al-Qaeda be. There less than 1,000 such foreign fighters, anyway.
So there are good Muslim fundamentalist movements and bad ones. What seems to distinguish them is whether they are eager to do business with Houston or whether they badmouth Bush.
...If you want to know what is really going on, it is a struggle for control of the Strategic Ellipse, which just happens demographically to be mostly Muslim. Bush has to demonize the Muslim world in order to justify his swooping down on the Strategic Ellipse. If demons occupy it, obviously they have to be cleared out in favor of Christian fundamentalists or at least Texas oilmen. And what is the Strategic Ellipse?
...Bush is undermining our Republic, gutting our rights, spending us into penury, and smearing a great civilization, in order to get his grubby fingers on the Ellipse. You get to pay for it twice, once at the pump and once on your annual tax return.
Finally, the janitor at the Mighty Corrente Building weighs in on Dear Leader's attire. Read Lambert's breakdown of Mueller's post. It's far more succinct and entertaining.
Whether Bu$hCo let 9/11 happen by accident, or on purpose, or made it happen are gradations of complicity.
If you want to argue those, read the evidence I've posted here over the last couple of years.
There are people who hate our freedom and want to end America as a Democracy. Some call themselves Islamic. Some call themselves Christian. Some call themselves Jewish. Some call themselves Hindu, some call themselves athiests, but most of all of these are just plain avaricious criminals.
They're best fought like criminals. Open war is good against open warriors. Terrorists don't fit that description.
There is real danger in the world, and we do need the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, and the Department of Defense. We need them under the rule of Constitutional law. There are real terrorists.
But having Bu$hCo “protect” us from them is like letting the hungriest chickenhawk in the woods guard the henhouse from the other predators.