Ten years have passed and we still clutch pearls at the notion of a terrorist attack……not because of any increased capability by an extreme minority of Islamic radicals, but because it’s been creatively and intrinsically tied to our sense of nationalism.
Case in point – the boorish hissy-fit the right wing punditocracy is throwing over Krugman’s column. Not that Krugman said anything factually incorrect mind you….but that he dared utter sentiments that are not politically correct. The same stripe of ‘patriots’ who gush over the fact and principle challenged screeds of Pamela Gellar, now question Krugman’s patriotism, mental health and sanity. These same sycophants are heard to scoff and roil at speakers such as Jeremiah Wright offering opinion that we have been complicit in our own turmoil……but are never heard to question those fundamentalists who preach these attacks are God’s vengeance for the ‘sins’ of homosexuality and ‘faithlessness’.
We have terrorized ourselves far beyond that which al Qa’ida could have dreamed of. We have utterly failed in the cost-benefit analysis of the threat of terrorism. We are positioned to view even usurpation of tyrannical despotism [in the form of the ‘Arab spring’] as ominous warnings of extremism morphing into statehood………utterly oblivious to the actual condition of even the boogeyman specters, much less the motivations of the citizens who pursue any semblance of democracy.
Simple introspective analysis is discarded for talking points and patriotic catch phrases. Ritual defamation is chosen over rational debate. Politically correct is favored over political risk, which ironically circles back around in the form of politics of fear.
Many Americans feel no need to lead by example, or show any decent human trait of humility….they wish for Team USA to take the field and entertain their sense of infallibility, while distracting them from critical thought. We’ve set a trap for our constitutional principles and liberties, disguised as ‘safeguarding’ and ‘protection’. Once we finally [if ever] awaken from the stupor that blinds us to the realistic level of threat terrorism poses….we’ll realize that we’ve been our own worst enemy all along.
Terrorist groups who attack us or our allies must be ruthlessly eliminated….but that would require a significant shift in national policy. A shift that doesn’t quite abide by the playbook.