The Sky Is Falling

At a conference of army leaders from 38 European nations organized by the chief of U.S. Army Europe in Heidelberg, Germany yesterday, United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates decried the commitment of European nations to winning the War on Terror.

Referring specifically to the mission in Afghanistan, Mr. Gates said the outcome there — as well as the future credibility of the 60 year-old trans-Atlantic “security project” known as NATO — is “at real risk” due to the failure of some European nations to meet U.S. expectations of arms and personnel.

Mr. Gates’ comments should be understood on a par with the ravings of the apocryphal bearded-man, the one with a sandwich-board draped across threadbare shoulders, reading “THE END IS NEAR.”

In a related development, The U.S. Government Accountability Office announced there are now more than three quarters of a million names on the Terrorist Screening Center’s list of known or suspected terrorists. A GAO spokesperson said the list, which included fewer than 20 entries prior to September 11, 2001, tracks known pseudonyms of suspected terrorists and actually represents about 300,000 people.

Just think about that for a moment.

Setting aside the Bush administration’s notorious propensity for defining terms such as “terrorist,” “threat,” and “torture” in the broadest, most vague language possible, how reasonable is it to believe there are more than 300,000 people in this world who represent any kind of a real threat to Americans or American interests?

In a land where — to be generous — a bomb-wielding terrorist still has better than even odds of making it past Homeland Security at some of the country’s busiest airports, and has for years under the government’s corrupt and wasteful security contracting procedures, does it not stand to reason that one out of a possible 300,000 might have done so in the past six years?

With such a large number of potential threats to our way of life out there underpinning trillions of dollars in defense spending, is it not likely that one of those bloodthirsty terrorists would have surfaced at one of the many thousands of places where Americans gather in large numbers every single day with virtually no security whatsoever standing in the way of a suicide bombing?

Not one professional sporting event, not one commuter train, not one port or chemical factory or power plant or shopping mall in the entire country — in over six years?

One is tempted to say, “heckuva job, Brownie.”

But the evidence points to the far greater likelihood that the Bush administration is wildly overestimating the terrorist threat, and is not, in fact, doing a heckuva job protecting us from it.

I have linked above to articles detailing the government’s failure to effectively secure the nation’s airports with the gargantuan federal bureaucracy known as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). In fact, recent data from a survey of airport security readiness shows the one major airport still using private security personnel — the way things were done before 9/11 — turned in the best performance when tasked with detecting bomb threats.

In addition, there is ample evidence of the Bush administration’s inability to keep track of both the money it spends abroad in the war on terror, and the massive caches of weaponry it has placed into circulation among the population that includes those 300,000 supposed madmen jonesing for the chance to kill a Yank and get to Heaven.

Can anyone detect a pattern here?

At this point it’s probably best to recommend a new book by Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine, in which she spells out in clear, compelling, well-researched and documented language what is going on: our Leaders have chosen guns over butter.

And they want the rest of the world to do the same.

So Robert Gates goes to Germany to harangue our nominal allies for a greater commitment to militarism and war and fear and death. And the Leaders keep adding names to the list of people who represent a threat to their way of life.

One can only hope the list continues to grow.


  1. jeannie b. bright - October 27, 2007 @ 6:36 am

    As a retired international fllight attendant, I can add this personal edition to our airport security. After they took our scissors away, I regularly carried a silver dollar sized retractable blade with me. It wasn’t for security, but to open up miles of saran wrap and tape. Not once was it detected. We all have our war stories, and to tell them would not help with additional information floating about to be used by angry terrorists, as well as contributing to the unease that already exists. Make peace with your maker brother, and while you’re at it, make peace WITH your brothers, even those you don’t want to claim as family.

  2. Paul Burke - November 5, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

    One is tempted to say, “heckuva job, Brownie.” – Awesome

    Love the new layout

    Fear has always been the number one tool of any salesman.
    It makes me sad but there is a lot to be thankful for and a ton of good and great people out there!

    Author – Journey Home

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