Kidding Ourselves

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Ronald
Reagan National Airport was finally re-opened, after remaining
closed for 3 weeks following the September 11 attacks. Airports
around the country reopened within a few days with the beefed
up harassment measures instituted by the incompetent FAA
Abolish It!
). Do you suppose that the politicians, policy
wonks, and assorted spooks in Washington D.C. knew what most Americans
suspect but aren't saying: that the new FAA “security measures”
are just a faade. If not, why the additional delay in opening
Reagan National.

The
FAA has yet to institute the security measures that would really
protect against hijacked planes being commandeered. Either arming
pilots
or allowing concealed carry permit holders aboard would
provide better security than stopping curbside bag check and restricting
nail clippers. Armed air marshals may provide a deterrent against
a complete copycat box-cutter attack, but a terrorist cell with
a cleaning crew mole will be armed with several guns the next
time around. It's doubtful that a single air marshal could stop
them all. The enormity of the task required to check every single
high turnover security agent, airplane caterer, cleaning person,
baggage tosser, and ramp worker precludes this as a cost-effective
means of preventative security.

So
why hasn't the FAA taken the cheapest, most effective, measure
to stop and deter terrorism (allow guns aboard)? The answer is
obvious. To allow pilots to carry guns would be an admission that
the FAA has failed, and that it really can't protect us. Why else
would they put a weapon in the hands of a shiny new FAA air marshal,
but moan about the possibility of an armed pilot hitting a fuel
line? Note to FAA: The pilot knows how the airplane is built;
the air marshal does not. If we think the FAA can prevent determined
terrorists by adding one more stupid question to the litany of
"Did you pack your bag?", we're kidding ourselves. If
we think the "increased security presence" of cops directing
traffic outside our airports is going to stop an inside job, we're
kidding ourselves.

The
bombs rain down on Afghanistan, but they stop
on Friday out of respect for Islam.
We keep trying to convince
Islamic countries that this is a war against terror, but some
don't seem
to believe
it. If the government policy wonks think they can expand the war
on terrorism to include Syria, Iraq, or Libya without creating
a jihad, they're kidding themselves. It looks like the Taliban
thinks that
300 civilian casualties
matter. Sorry, fellas, you've got
5,700 to go before anyone in America starts counting.

Starving
Afghans don't count in that toll, since the U.S. military is dropping
food to avert criticism of causing a humanitarian disaster. As
noble as this sounds, it's
too little at best, and a cynical public relations ploy at worst.

Either way, we're kidding ourselves if we think a few thousand
food packages dropped from airplanes is going to make a difference
to the millions facing starvation on the ground.

As
Joe Sobran points out, it
appears the script is playing out exactly like bin Laden wanted
.
He and his cronies (still assuming it's bin Laden, and not some
other US-hating terrorist organization), having anticipated our
bombing response have started phase two of their terror campaign:
Anthrax by mail. Why did they wait so long after 9-11? The message
seems straightforward. If you escalate, we will escalate.

Now
comes the news that terrorists may
have a “dirty” nuclear bomb.
This is really nuclear waste
wrapped around a bunch of C-4, or some other conventional explosive.
The effect of this weapon is not a massive mushroom cloud, but
a silent rain of radioactive particles over a city, making it
unsafe to live in, and expensive if not impossible to clean up.
Did I mention the mass hysteria, rioting, and looting such a weapon
would create. Will we escalate again? What happens if we do kill
bin Laden? What happens if we capture him? Will we see New York
or Los Angeles turned into an uninhabitable “hot” zone?

None
of this will affect Dick Cheney, hunkered down in a (real) nuke
proof bunker, or George W. Bush, with his Flying
Fortress of Solitude.
It will affect normal Americans. I hate
to think that another massive, successful terrorist attack is
about to happen, but recent events show that terrorists are here,
and have planned well ahead for a military response. If it comes,
I wonder if Americans, with thousands more dead and martial law
imposed, will be ready to get our 6,000 troops out of Saudi Arabia
and stop bombing Iraq.

It's
time to stop kidding ourselves. Our overseas adventures have come
back in the form of dead Americans, and waging another war overseas
is more of the same. The government in the form of the FAA, the
FBI, the CIA, and the Armed Forces failed to protect us against
terrorists in our midst, first from airplanes turned to missiles,
and now from Anthrax. What they are doing is bombing an Islamic
country instead
of securing the arrest of terrorists
, and giving credibility
to the statements of radicals that we are more interested in killing
Muslims than serving justice. Thanks to the press corps bombardiers,
negotiating with the Taliban for bin Laden's release would be
seen as “surrender”, and is therefore politically inconvenient.
How many more Americans will be sacrificed on the Altar of Politics
to the False god of Soundbite Security before we realize we were
kidding ourselves.

Stop
bombing Afghanistan. Take the Taliban up on their offer to extradite
bin Laden (certainly to Pakistan). Stop bombing Iraq. Remove our
troops from Saudi Arabia. Restore our limited government, with
a militia army stationed here at home, rather than abroad. Stop
denying Americans their natural right to defend themselves, and
stop bombing abroad in the name of security at home. Friendship
with all and entangling alliances with none is the formula for
peace. If we think America can simultaneously have an overseas
empire, while remaining safe and free at home, we're kidding ourselves.

October
16, 2001

John Keller
[send
him mail]
owns a Technology
Consulting
and a Real
Estate
business in Atlanta, GA.

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