Sunday, September 24, 2006

Has the overall terrorism threat grown since 9/11?

Obviously a lot of Americans are concerned with assuring that we don't have any more 9/11-class terrorist attacks here in the U.S. What I strongly disagree with is the illogic that morphed the definition of the 9/11 problem from terrorists attacking us here in the U.S. into all forms of "terrorism" that exist anywhere in the world. Blowing up a car or bus is not in the same category with flying a hijacked plane into a crowded building.

There is an article in the NY Times by Mark Mazzetti entitled "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat" which helps to promote the claim that "the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."

I read through the article carefully and there is nothing in it that suggests that we are at a greater risk of 9/11-class terrorist attacks here in the U.S. since the "liberation" of Iraq or even since 9/11 itself.

What I do think is true is that media coverage is far greater, politicians are exploiting 9/11 anxiety, and that maybe a number of disenfranchised groups are noticing those two factors and exploiting them for their own benefit.

I also think that the Neoconservative approach of radical democratization and preemptive war and their "go it alone" approach (so-called "coalition of the willing") and their single-minded focus on religion rather than social issues as a "cause" of terrorism are certainly contributing factors. Every single time a politician puts "Islamic" in their labeling of any aspect of terrorism, the problem only gets worse. Despite statements by the President, there are a lot of people who have been misled to believe that Islam-the-religion is the root cause of terrorism. That said, we had a lot of terrorism before the Neoconservatives took power, so clearly booting them out won't magically "solve" the problem.

The real problem is that politicians in the U.S. are still unable to grasp the concept that the U.S. has a special obligation to provide moral leadership to the rest of the world, but instead we usually end up exporting moral decay or evangelizing pseudo-moral positions based more on religion than thoughtful reflection and reality. And it is not merely about money and "Big Oil" and the political process. Rather, it is simply a lack of commitment and motivation on the part of politicians, and frankly, a lack of interest on the part of many of their constituents.

Yes, there is a huge amount of anti-U.S. sentiment out there in the world (and even here in the U.S.), but labeling it "terrorism" serves no useful purpose other than the enable the agenda of the Neoconservatives and the Pro-Israel Lobby with their misguided so-called "war on terror" which has virtually nothing to do with 9/11 and 9/11-class attacks.

If you are like most Americans and concerned primarily with what happens in our cities and neighborhoods here in the U.S., this report offers no evidence that we are less safe or that the terrorist threat against us here in the U.S. is "worse."

Yes, if you are committed to making the whole world a safe and more pleasant place, you should be concerned, but that is a separate issue from terrorism here in the U.S. Blending the two issues together into one bigger and less well-defined issue of "global terrorism" does nothing to begin addressing any of the underlying issues. If you really want to do something about this, start demanding that your elected leaders cease and desist from supporting the radical democratization agenda of the Neoconservatives and the rest of the Pro-Israel Lobby. And don't for even one moment think that simply bringing the Democrats back to power is going to solve the problems. After all, the problems only got worse when Clinton was President. Yes, he did a lot to try to address them, but even his effort were too little to turn the tide. He abandoned efforts to secure a peace between Israel and Palestine. And he misguidedly pursued the useless policy of "containment" against Iraq instead of again securing peace. Howard Dean and Ned Lamont don't have a clue either. Simply walking away from Iraq won't magically comfort the Islamic world.

We need to start peeling the "terrorism" onion and start getting more deeply into our underlying problems which are inciting such anti-U.S. sentiment.

-- Jack Krupansky


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