If you’ve been bored beyond tears, it’s possible that you followed the comment thread on a recent post about the plot to attack Fort Dix. One of the main criticsims of, well, actually I’m not sure exactly what he was criticising, but one of the criticisms was that the alleged terrorists were apparently such amateurs. Also, their plan seems to have had only a slight chance for succees. Therefore, the criticsim goes, getting worked up over this plot is pointless and it doesn’t prove anything about the Long Global War on Terror (what I call World War 4).
Mark Steyn had this to say in a column in yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times:
Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 gang would have seemed pretty funny if you’d run into them in that lap-dance club they went to before the big day where the girls remembered them only as very small tippers. Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off.
So, when we’re fortunate enough to catch them in advance, it’s worth pausing to consider what they tell us about the broader threat we face. According to genius New York Times headline writers, “Religion Guided Three Held In Fort Dix Plot.” You don’t say. Any religion in particular?
Murdoc’s rather fond of pointing out that if we had arrested the 9/11 hijackers on 9/10, a very large segment of the population would have not believed the charges of plotting to hijack four airliners to kamikaze the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House or Capitol Building sounded reasonable at all and that the hijackers themselves were obviously incompetent boobs.
Also, I have very little doubt that many would be decrying the fact that all the alleged hijackers were Muslim, and why were we singling out Muslims?
I’m reminded of a post I wrote back in August of 2004 about the hue and cry after it turned out that a lot of the information a terror alert was based on was several years old:
My intent with this post was to show what we might have been looking at in September of 2001 had we used the mish-mash of old, suspect, and partial intel that was available at that time to prevent 9/11. We would be looking at jets streaking past the still-standing Twin Towers and listening to cries of fear-mongering from the media and opponents of the administration. And we’d have no appreciation for what had been averted…
But if we HAD stopped 9/11 in it’s tracks, we wouldn’t truly recognize what had been done. Instead of sobbing in relief and thanking God, we would be griping about increased lines at the airport and the racial profiling that led to the arrest of 19 Muslims on 9/10/01. And the media would be all over Bush for it. Never mind trying to strike Afghanistan.
We would never know when the terror alert was real. We would always wonder if it was just ‘The Man’ keeping us in line. How do I know? Because today, AFTER 9/11, we already think that. Fed up the the USA PATRIOT Act? Think how fed up you’d be if it were implemented without there having been a successful 9/11 attack.
I took a quick MSNBC.com screenshot and altered it a bit to show what we might have been looking at on 9/13/01 if we had managed to prevent the attacks.
I’m not sure if I recall hearing about any single anti-terrorism strategy, tactic, or policy enacted since 9/11 that hasn’t been broadly criticized. I keep hearing about how we’re supposed to use law enforcement and intelligence agencies to fight terrorists instead of the military, but no ever seems happy with any of the law enforcement or intelligence agency approaches.