I’ve been resting much more peacefully since George Bush pontificated at the National Guard Memorial Building a few days ago and revealed that our terrorist enemies are too stupid to breathe. That means, of course, that they’re also too stupid to bomb the daylights out of us. Hence, my sounder sleep.
George listed ten terrorist plots The Bush League has thwarted. This nice, round number first surfaced last October to baffle a great many bureaucrats. As the Washington Post then reported, “Intelligence officials…said the White House overstated the gravity of the plots by saying that they had been foiled, when most were far from ready to be executed.” George also “made it ‘sound like well-hatched plans,’ said a former CIA official involved in counterterrorism during that period. ‘I don’t think they fall into that category.’” Curiously, “the nation’s color-coded threat index was not raised from yellow, or ‘elevated’ risk of attack, to orange, or ‘high’ risk, for most of the time covered by the incidents on the list.”
Another “counterterrorism official, who spoke anonymously for fear of angering the White House” also condemned George’s list: “‘It’s safe to say that most of the [intelligence] community doesn’t think it’s worth very much.’”
These quibbles didn’t faze George. He trotted out his Ten Grave But Foiled Plots again this Thursday and proved we’ve been running scared from straw men all these months.
Amazingly, though, George doesn’t get it. He seems to believe his list “shows we face a relentless and determined enemy that requires unprecedented cooperation from other nations.” Whoa! He’s confused guys so strapped for weapons they have to use our planes against us with World War II’s Axis Powers. “By working together, we stopped a catastrophic attack.” Psst, George, get it straight: you stopped ten catastrophic attacks.
You see my point. George still considers these desert jockeys a credible threat. And so I, a mere serf, will dare to explain why they aren’t. I realize I thereby condemn the Department of Homeland Security, the War in Iraq, and the multi-hued Terror Alerts to even greater absurdity than they suffered before, but cie la vie.
Topping George’s list was something CNN dubbed the “West Coast airliner plot.” This scheme would have attacked “the tallest building in Los Angeles” in a reprise of New York’s World Trade Center. George ponied up all sorts of particulars on this, coincidentally proving that his administration is opaque and impenetrable. Absolutely no shred of information escapes its black hole, as Los Angeles’ mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lamented to AP: “I’m amazed that the president would make this [statement about a plot against the city's tallest skyscraper] on national TV and not inform us of these details through the appropriate channels.” Sounding like a jilted lover, he whined piteously, “I don’t expect a call from the president — but somebody.”
Poor Tony. He’s not used to being treated like us serfs. Sooner or later, he’ll probably start wondering why, if the story’s true, he didn’t hear about it previously and in detail. To which there’s only one answer: the more people who understand what’s really going on, the more it undermines national security.
George alleges the “West Coast airliner plot” would have repeated the tactics of September 11, 2001 — in 2002. Al Qaeda clearly knows nothing about military strategy, especially the advantage of surprise. You can only pull a stunt like 9/11 once; thereafter, everyone’s laying for you. By 2002, airline passengers were jumpy as Mexican beans. They’d have killed anyone aboard who so much as hiccoughed, let alone four men leaping from their seats to hijack a plane. So exactly how far would this attempt have gotten? Duh, Osama.
But it’s no wonder Al Qaeda flounders in a sea of ignorance. They’re so desperate for teachers they took lessons on shoe-bombing from Richard Reid. Remember him? The poor sap tried to ignite his feet six times on American Airlines Flight 63 before other passengers subdued him. Dick has apparently never mastered the complicated art of striking a match. That didn’t daunt Al Qaeda. Frances Townsend, George’s Homeland Security Advisor, told reporters, “You’ll all recall that there was the arrest of the shoe bomber Richard Reid in December of 2001, and he was instructing the cell leader on the use of the same technique.”
Yo, Fran, if I might be so bold, let me suggest Dick be freed from prison so he can resume his career as tutor to terrorists. You may even want to check with the CIA: perhaps Dick’s working for us.
In short, based on the evidence in George’s list, I’d say we can quit worrying that a bunch of fiendishly clever terrorists will somehow outwit the Department of Homeland Security and blow us all sky-high. So let’s relax and enjoy ourselves! Sounds as if Al Qaeda’s about as intellectually stunted as any American politician.
On second thought, keep worrying.
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.