Here’s a message for both our homegrown Neoconservative, bloggy, gutless wonders and the Jihadi nutcases overseas: I grew up in the cold-war, my parents went through WW2 for crying out loud. We are not paralyzed with fear over Osama. Despite your best efforts, I’m not obsessed with terrorism. Sheesh, I barely even think about it. I face bigger statistical risks, in every way, every day, and on every scale, just driving across a set of railroad tracks and down the interstate smoking a cigarette in the rain, and I don’t worry much about that either.
And if you want me to be afraid for my very nation’s survival, Jebus H Christ, you damn well better be able to wave around a threat considerably more convincing than a rag-tag group of zealots who shit in caves and beg other people to put on suicide belts sporting a rip cord detonator.
Determining how to respond to
the terrorist challenge has become a
major public policy issue in the United
States over the last three years. It has
been discussed endlessly, many lives
have been changed, a couple of wars
have been waged, and huge sums of
money have been spent — often after little contemplation —
to deal with the problem.
Throughout all this, there is a perspective on terrorism that
has been very substantially ignored. It can be summarized,
somewhat crudely, as follows:
- Assessed in broad but reasonable context, terrorism
generally does not do much damage.
- The costs of terrorism very often are the result of
hasty, ill-considered, and overwrought reactions.