Saturday, August 12, 2006

your terrorization antidote

Amidst all the triumphalist claims that we should be very, very afraid and 'see, it's about time you give up those silly civil liberties' from the Right following the London liquid bomb plot, it is important to keep a sense of proportion and above all, show some fucking spine. They may be terrorists, but only you can choose to feel terrorized.

Considering how inept this crew of jihadist wannabes was, al-Qaeda will never be as strong as it once was, nor will it ever be the truly existential threat that Communism was. Nevertheless, the apocolyptic precepts of radical Islam, things like the thought that its ok to kill Muslim victims because they'll go to Heaven anyway or that the Hidden Imam will return to defeat the infidels, give the policy of containment a much lower chance of success this time around.

Iran's president has been making ominous proclaimations about August 22, when it plans to give its final answer on the issue of its nuclear weapons program. A uncontainable Iran, its back up against the wall, is the true existential threat, certainly for Israel. The apotheosis of the martyr within radical Islamist thought means that even the lives of Palestinians caught in the crossfire are forfeit, as they will soon be enjoying their 72 virgins anyway. Even the projected Israeli nuclear counterstrike (yes, they have the bomb...oh, you didn't know?) fails to deter those under the heavy cloak of religious fanaticism.

But al-Qaeda has received its entire shopping list as a result of ineptitude of the Administration: bogged down in Iraq; pushed away from our allies; giving up our very soul for the illusion of security. But they are not hte Nazis or the Soviets, massive industrial societies with armies like our own. The Republicans have been politicizing this even before anyone else in the country knew about it, gloating about how it just might save their asses in November. Members of the Democratic Party can no longer just whine about this odious opportunism, they need desperately to pull some rhetorical ju-jitsu as to how waterboarding and illegal wiretaps did not foil this plot and are not needed for effective counterterrorism. British investigators, in all known cases, have obtained and complied with court-issued warrants for all surveillance done.

There will be more plots, probably at least one per year for the rest of our lives. There will come a time when tactics and techonology have advanced so that we will wish it was something like explosive Lucozade. We should take more comfort from history, as John Rogers points out:
Maybe it's just, I cast my eyes back on the last century ...

FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike ... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

... and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.
Laughter is not only powerful medicine, it is the antidote to fear. If your dosage level is not up to prescription strength, check out this cartoon (excerpted below):

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