Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Columbus Dispatch: 'America overestimates terrorist threat'

I was outraged this morning, reading an article in the Op-Ed page of the Columbus Fishwrap, I mean the Dispatch. It's no secret that America's current fourth estate tends to lean toward the dark side by a wide margin (9-1, in a recent poll), but this column was ridiculous!

The basic assertion of this opinion piece is that Americans are pansies because we haven't suffered a 'real' war here, that Europe is tougher because they endured Nazi bombing in WWII and have endured terrorism since the 1940's. There are also assertions in the article 'the invasion of Iraq really had nothing to do with fighting terrorism,' yet another slam on Dubya, and that potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson, among others, is over-estimating the global war on terror. All democratic party, and islamists, talking points.

What this moron doesn't get, is that we are the United States, the most powerful, most properous country in recorded history, for a reason. We're not afraid of terrorists (except for the democrats). We wouldn't just lie down and take it, like the Europeans, if there was bombing going on here. We would find ways to fight back. Unless, of course, we had the current congress.

I suspect we may just be tested by the islamists in this fashion before it's all over. We underestimated the islamist threat before 9-11, and we are still underestimating it. And this idiot believes we are over-estimating it.

Read it. And respond. Let the management and editors at the Dispatch know how upset you are. Send your comments to letters@dispatch.com, and to the author at 76312.1476@compuserve.com.

Gwynne Dyer: America overestimates terrorist threats while Europe deals with them
Tuesday, July 3, 2007 3:22 AM
By Gwynne Dyer

As terrorists go, last week's attacks featured The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. One of the would-be London bombers drove erratically down Haymarket St. -- presumably affected by the fumes from the gas cylinders and gasoline containers that were the heart of his makeshift car-bomb -- before crashing into a garbage bin, getting out and running away. Another parked his explosives-packed car illegally, so it was towed away. The third attack was at Glasgow airport on the following day, but nobody was hurt except one of the attackers, who set himself on fire.

More-competent terrorists might have killed dozens of people, but it's safe to say that this incident will be taken more seriously in the United States than it is in Britain or anywhere else in Europe. An occasional terrorist attack is one of the costs of doing business in the modern world. You just have to bring a sense of proportion to the problem, as people in Europe do in general.

Most major European countries already had been through some sort of terrorist crisis well before the current fashion for "Islamist" terrorism: the IRA in Britain, the OAS in France, ETA in Spain, the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany, the Red Brigades and their neofascist counterparts in Italy. Most European cities also were heavily bombed in a real war within living memory, which definitely puts terrorist attacks into a less-impressive category. So most Europeans do not obsess about terrorist attacks. They know that they are likelier to win the lottery than to be hurt by terrorists.

Russians also are pretty cool about the occasional terrorist attacks linked to the war in Chechnya, and Indians are positively heroic in their refusal (most of the time) to be panicked by terrorist attacks that have taken more lives in India than all the attacks in the West since terrorist techniques first became widespread in the 1960s. In almost all of these countries, despite the efforts of some governments to persuade the population that terrorism is an existential threat of enormous size, the vast majority of the people don't believe it.

Whereas in the United States, most people do believe it. A majority of Americans finally have figured out that the invasion of Iraq really had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, but they certainly have not understood that terrorism itself is only a minor threat. "We have a threat out there like we've never faced before," said actor, former senator and potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson last month. "I don't think the (American people) realize that this has been something that's been going on for a few hundred years, and our enemies have another 100-year plan," Thompson continued. "Whether it's Madrid, whether it's London, whether it's places that most people have never heard of, they're methodically going around trying to undermine our allies and attack people in conventional ways, while they try to develop nonconventional ways, and get their hands on a nuclear capability, and ultimately to see a mushroom cloud over an American city."

There has been only one major terrorist attack in the United States since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and that one, on 9/11, is almost six years in the past. So how have Americans been persuaded that their duty and their destiny in the 21st century is to lead the world in a titanic, globe-spanning "long war" against terrorism?

Inexperience is one reason: American cities never have been bombed in war, so Americans have no standard of comparison that would shrink terrorism to its true importance in the scale of threats that face any modern society. But the other is relentless official propaganda: the Bush administration has built its whole brand around the "war on terror" since 2001, so the threat must continue to be seen as huge and universal.

Ridiculous as it sounds to outsiders, Americans regularly are told that their survival as a free society depends on beating the "terrorists." They should treat those who say such things as fools or deliberate liars, but they don't. So the manipulators of public opinion in the White House and the more-compliant sectors of the U.S. media will give bigger play to the British bombings-that-weren't than Britain's own government and media have, and they will get away with it.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.

I'm not sure what bothers me more: the fact that this defeatist moron is being publishing in the United States at all, or the fact that the Dispatch printed it the day before we celebrate our Independence from tyranny.

Nice work, Dispatch. Is it any wonder the blogosphere and talk radio are prospering, while newspapers and television are faltering?

We don't want to hear this crap any more!

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