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Self-congratulations a little hollow?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 07, 2008

The Bush administration is doing a little self-congratulations on the fact that there have been no further attacks on the US since 9/11:
Islamic extremists have been targeting Europe instead of the United States because the Bush administration has made a domestic attack much more difficult through improvements in U.S. traveler screening and border security, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday.

"We have significantly reduced the risk of a major attack in the short term," Chertoff told a group of Washington Post reporters and editors before meeting with President Bush to mark the fifth anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security's creation.

"One of the reasons we're seeing more attacks in Europe is because they think it's easier," Chertoff said. He noted almost annual attacks since 2004 in Madrid, London and Glasgow and disrupted plots in Denmark, Germany, Italy, France and Portugal.
Well, it is "easier" to attack Europe since there is a Muslim base in Europe which is far greater and much more disenfranchised than is to be found in the US (well, except at Harvard).

The fact is that if you really look at the US and its borders, the fact that it hasn't happened here isn't because it is "easier" in Europe, but because the base of support needed in Europe already exists and is thus more easily exploited. In terms of getting into this country, there is no serious barrier to doing so for any determined terrorist as is demonstrated everyday with the continuing influx of illegal immigrants.

The fact that the culture already exists in Europe to carry out attacks doesn't mean that such a base isn't being built here as we speak. It simply means that the ability to attack is more advanced, at this moment, than is the one here. And that isn't a function, particularly, of anything the Bush administration has or hasn't done.
 
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Dearborn.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
They deserve credit- base of support or not, they’d like to attack us. And lets be honest, the only "base of support" they really need is a friendly mosque (like exist in Newark for example)

That said, no pats on the back. Take care of business, don’t get smug.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
That is partially a factor and not entirely a factor. If it was entirely a factor, 9/11 would have never happened in the first place.

There is an incredible drive to perform attacks on the US and US interests.

They have lost the ability to project themselves successfully in the US.

OTOH, lone actors borderline nutjobs types have been successful. So the form of terrorism should be qualified as terrorism from transnational groups or ’international terrorist organizations’.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Europe is mostly safe, the US is mostly safe.

9-11 was in many ways a lucky shot. They will get another lucky shot at some point. The number of Muslim extremists in Europe is low, the number willing to engage in terrorism is very low. Most Muslims in Europe are actually a force for modernizing Islam. As long as people to submit to the worst of fear mongering and Islamophobia, terror groups can be marginalized and contained. We just have to not over-react when they get a lucky strike. They are not very powerful, and really, compared to the threats we faced in the Cold War of mass nuclear war, terrorists provide little we need actually fear.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The number of Muslim extremists in Europe is low, the number willing to engage in terrorism is very low. Most Muslims in Europe are actually a force for modernizing Islam
What a complete and total load of rubbish.

Ask the nightly car-burners and rioters how much "modernizing" of Islam they want.

Guess you’re the one with the alternate reality this time.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Dr. Erb,
Europe is mostly safe, the US is mostly safe.

9-11 was in many ways a lucky shot. They will get another lucky shot at some point.
I mostly agree with you on those points.
he number of Muslim extremists in Europe is low, the number willing to engage in terrorism is very low. Most Muslims in Europe are actually a force for modernizing Islam.
I think that’s highly debatable at best, wishful thinking at worst. I hope your assessment is correct.
terrorists provide little we need actually fear.
Aside from the obvious, 9/11, saying that there is little to fear from terrorists is pretty illogical. You yourself just said that they’ll get another lucky shot in the future. There are all sorts of possible threats posed by terrorists, even if they only have access to conventional weapons. The threat multiplies geometrically if they obtain WMD, of even the crudest types. It’s one thing to argue that we shouldn’t overreact or magnify the threat of terrorism, but arguing that it isn’t a serious threat at all is just not realistic.
 
Written By: David C.
URL: http://
What a complete and total load of rubbish.
You obviously don’t know much about Europe, Shark. I’ve yet to see any evidence that Islamic extremism and terrorism is a major threat in Europe; at this point, their activities are far less in Europe than the activities of leftist terrorists back in the 80s. I’ve been studying Europe for my whole life, I haven’t seen anything to verify what you claim.

To a more serious argument:
Aside from the obvious, 9/11, saying that there is little to fear from terrorists is pretty illogical. You yourself just said that they’ll get another lucky shot in the future. There are all sorts of possible threats posed by terrorists, even if they only have access to conventional weapons. The threat multiplies geometrically if they obtain WMD, of even the crudest types. It’s one thing to argue that we shouldn’t overreact or magnify the threat of terrorism, but arguing that it isn’t a serious threat at all is just not realistic.
We may just be using the word "fear" differently. Clearly, the odds of any one of us being killed by terrorists is pretty low. I’ve not seen credible evidence that they could obtain nuclear weapons, though we did see the Sarin gas attack in Japan back in the 90s. So if we were to figure out the probability of a major attack being successful, and killing a lot of people, it would probably be very low on any given day, though higher if you say "any time within the next ten years."

Now, if they do strike, what will be the impact? Compared to wars in the past, or devastating natural disasters, it will be significant, but in terms of physically challenging the security of the US and most Americans, in all but the worst cases imaginable would do little. The spectacle is greater than the actual DIRECT damage. Even 9-11 did minor long term damage, and in property and life was minimal.

However, because it’s spectacular and dramatic, people’s reactions may create real damage. Remember the sudden drop in stock prices (though they bounced back rather quickly from the lows) or the way the US undertook a foreign policy that in retrospect looks ill thought out. That shows that the real danger is that we may over-react out of fear. Finally, the attack most likely to damage us in real terms is not one here in the US, but one that cuts off oil (blocking the straights of Hormuz, attacking Saudi facilities, etc.) A major disruption of oil flows could create a major economic disaster for the US. But again, I wouldn’t fear it, just prepare for it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Cargo planes and nuclear reactors are the biggest risk in my opinion. The security for the aircraft that delivers air cargo is weak, and these are some massive aircraft, like the Boeing 777 and the MD-11F. A concerted suicide attack using these aircraft to crash into nuclear plants may or may not release massive amounts of radiation into the surrounding communities, but the psychological effects would be devastating, and viable alternative to oil would be forever restricted, not to mention the actual power outputs that would disrupted. A terrorist trifecta.

I think it is foolish to think we have protected ourselves. There is no reason for AQ to have another terrorist attack in the US unless it can be on a level with 9/11. And they are patient.

Since Clinton was elected, we had an attack within his first months in office (1993 WTC bombing) and within months of Bush’s inauguration (9/11/01).

It occurs to me that these people think (correctly) that they can define our administration’s agenda by attacking as each new President enters office.

I hope I am wrong, but I think 2009 may be a bad year.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The shielding shells are supposedly built to survive direct hits by commercial aircraft, precisely because of people panicking over the potential for this issue in the 60’s & 70’s.

Course the public has yet to generally accept that a nuclear plant is not capable of creating a mushroom cloud, so why should I think they’ll believe the above.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’ve also seen a theory on the ’Net, to the effect that the jihadis are purposefully not trying to carry out an attack here in the US, because such an attack would result in renewed sympathy for the US (such as happened after 9/11), and they want to avoid that.
 
Written By: kishnevi
URL: http://
The number of Muslim extremists in Europe is low, the number willing to engage in terrorism is very low.
Professor Erb, remind me again how many it took to destroy the WTC.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
I’ve been studying Europe for my whole life,
HAHAHAHA.....now I KNOW I’m right
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Since Clinton was elected, we had an attack within his first months in office (1993 WTC bombing) and within months of Bush’s inauguration (9/11/01).

It occurs to me that these people think (correctly) that they can define our administration’s agenda by attacking as each new President enters office.
Two points of data doesn’t make a trend.

There were other attacks during Clinton’s terms, which tell me that the terrorists were planning and pulling off attacks against the US wherever and whenever they could.

And since the first WTC bombing was about 3 months after the election, I’m not sure that it was planned with a new President in mind.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
The shielding shells are supposedly built to survive direct hits by commercial aircraft, precisely because of people panicking over the potential for this issue in the 60’s & 70’s.
Three problems with this.

1. Reinforced concrete degrades, most of these plants are 40 to 50 years old.
2. People were concerned about airplane crashes, not so much people intentionally crashing fully fueled large jets into the shielding shells.
3. As I said, if radiation were not dispersed the problems of the infrastructure impact, as well as the impact on the future of this viable alternative to oil will be politically dead.

I suspect that some would withstand these impacts and others would not, but what do you think would happen to a city, if the local nuclear plant was hit by a large triple engine freight carrier? If zero rads escaped, the city would still be devastated as a result of the reaction of it’s inhabitants, or would you expect people to heed Kevin Bacon as he stands in the screaming streaming crowds shouting "all is well"?
Two points of data doesn’t make a trend.
True enough, nothing scientific on my part, just an observation.
There were other attacks during Clinton’s terms, which tell me that the terrorists were planning and pulling off attacks against the US wherever and whenever they could.
Perhaps. It’s a valid point.
And since the first WTC bombing was about 3 months after the election, I’m not sure that it was planned with a new President in mind.
I don’t think they initially intended to to take advantage of the opportunity a new administration presented, but I think they may have looked back and seen the effect.

I admit it is speculation on my part, and I certainly hope I am wrong.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
There is a problem with timing a terrorist attack to test a new federal admin. Since terrorst attacks are by and large local, it’s the local (city or state level) law enforcement that must be dealt with. Those administrations may or may not be changing at the same time as the feds.

There will be a test of the new administration next spring/summer, but it will come from China, rather than a terrorist organization. In the wake of 9/11, it’s almost a forgotten episode, but China’s test of Bush in 2001 was a pretty big deal at the time.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Erb, remind me again how many it took to destroy the WTC.
19. And destroying the World Trade Center, while providing spectacular video footage, did very little real damage to America’s economy and infrastructure.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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