By my reckoning the Age of Terror has been upon us for the last
10,000 years. It will still be upon us when my body turns to
dust.You say the terrorist goal is to remake the world in their
own image. I don’t disagree. But from where I stand the
West’s goal is precisely the same and will leave nothing
in its wake but Westies as it runs rampant all over the world.
While Iraqi, Afghani, Yugoslavian and East Indian tribes beat
the crap out of each other, as they’ve traditionally done
for millenia, McDonald’s, Exxon and Shell Tribes, Gap,
Levis, Wal-Mart and Altria Tribes all move in. The name of this
movie depends on the country presenting it – Pilgrim’s
Progress, Fighting for Democracy, The War Against Terrorism,
Shock and Awe – but it’s the same movie everywhere
and it’s playing in virtually every theatre on the planet.
This is not the kind of history they teach in schools. But it’s
true. Give me back my Walden Pond. (Walden Pond is now a tourist
attraction in Massachusetts)
nice article insofar as stating the situation goes.
I'm not sure what you propose as a remedy -- just ignoring them?
i think the thought on everybody's mind now is that the 2,000
casualties per year is just the beginning -- how are we going
to react when a suitcase atom bomb is floated into the san francisco
bay and fries half a million people and makes the bay area unlivable
also the mere 2000 deaths is small to a large extent because
of the security measures that we do take. some are stupid to
be sure, but would you like to get on an airplane where the
passengers are routinely not screened at all?
It's a well-written editorial, and rhetorically very persuasive.
And it does, within the limits you've accepted in which to pursue
your argument, make a valid point. But there is a problem--or
several problems--you haven't addressed. In Israel, for example,
which has a worse highway record comparatively speaking than
the U.S., terrorism has pretty well paralyzed an entire country.
In 'proportional terms' with respect to the U.S., 50,000 civilians
have already died and 300,000 have been maimed; if not for the
Shin Bet, the ratio would be much higher. Now in the last year,
only eight people in Sderot have died from Gaza-launched kassams,
but the entire town is under siege and schoolchildren are often
bussed elsewhere for classes--the effect of these kassams and
these eight deaths are far more disruptive than traffic-related
or alcohol-related deaths. You could live in Sderot without
worrying about cars or booze and make it through the day as
we do everywhere else in the West, but in the current state
of affairs you would be constantly looking over your shoulder
for the next incoming rocket or worrying whether your kids are
going to be home for supper--ever again. You see the difference?
And don't think for a moment that "it can't happen here."
Then there is the "nuclear file." I'm not referring
only to Rafsanjani's and Ahmadinejad's threat to wipe out Israel
by "a single storm" or to the fact that the Iranians
are now developing rockets that can reach Paris and Berlin,
but to the real likelihood of their arming their proxies with
thermonuclear weapons. And you know as well as I do that more
than half of the disposed Russian arsenal is unaccounted for--there
is reliable speculation that some of these weapons are in the
hands of terrorist organizations. Even a small dirty bomb set
off in New York or London of wherever will cause thousands of
fatalities, infect many thousands of others with slow radiation
poisoning, strike the next generation in its very genes and
seal off portions of the city for 60 years. The damage that
can be done by one such bomb is frankly incalculable--and we're
not even thinking of the worldwide economic meltdown that would
ensue. And this is definitely going to happen--in six months,
a year, two years, or five years max, unless we act fast and
decisively. If we don't, immensely more harm will be done than
the effect of our eroding liberties. It's not that you'll have
to leave your contact lens fluid at the counter before you board
the plane, but that there will be few planes to board in the
first place. We need to get real here.
In the light of the above, the traffic and alcohol arguments
you make are, to put it candidly, insignificant. We are in the
midst of experiencing a phase change in our political thinking
respecting a geopolitical situation which is unprecedented--unlike
the Cold War when Mutual Deterrence actually worked. But Mutual
Deterrence is now an obsolete paradigm and clearly doesn't work
when you're dealing with religious and ideological shahids
or leaders of regimes who actually believe in the imminent parousia
of the Twelfth Imam.
What we call our "way of life" will collapse far more
rapidly and drastically and 'irreversibly' under these circumstances
than anything that the scene you are painting will even remotely
bring about. You are writing about a world we may have lived
in once, but it's not the world we're living in now.