While the Bush Administration is running around giving each other the Dirty Sanchez or a quick reacharound in celebration of the 1 year anniversary of the end of the transfer of "sovereignty" to the Iraqi people, I continue to tire of news analysts, conservative talkshow hosts, and the general public's lack of ability to think beyond the 1st grade level when it comes to terrorism. In recognition of the occasion and the President's inevitably boring and asinine public news address this evening, I wanted to share my favorite widely held fallacies about terrorism. Take notes as I'm sure the President will spend a good long while reinforcing some of these in his address.
1) The Iraq War is an effective campaign in the War on Terror! Wow. This is probably the most popular load of bullshit that's been heaped on the American public to date. The premise is that Saddam Hussein is somehow connected with the terrorists of Al Quida who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11/01. Despite empirical denial of this fact, Bush and his douche squad continue to promote the idea that the War in Iraq is another front in the war on terrorism. Saddam was a complete piece of shit, and his disregard for human rights DOES make him a terrorist in his own way, but not necessarily connected to THE terrorists we should be pursuing.
2) Reports and research that criticize the Bush Administration's terrorism policies give terrorists ideas on how to carry out further attacks. I was reminded of this today while I was reading this article about the research of two Stanford scientists who postulated the negative effects of terrorists putting botulinum toxin in the milk supply. Instead of sharing the concern of the researchers, Bush Administration and Homeland Security officials renounced the article, saying that it was giving terrorists ideas on US vulnerabilities. If we learned one thing and one thing only from 9/11, please let it be that terrorists are fully aware of our vulnerabilities and don't need the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences to give them ideas. Instead of recognizing the issue as a legitimate terrorism threat and handling it, the Administration would rather attempt to suppress the issue, and hope that terrorists read Teen People.
3) Steps taken by the Bush Administration have made us safer as a country. I saw a poll the other day that showed a trend in public opinion that this ridiculous idea was losing support. Of the three fallacies we have discussed, I think this is potentially the most harmful. Believing that we are safe, when in fact we are most definitely not, is incredibly dangerous. This attitude, combined with the suppression of public discussion of legitimate threats and falsely associating the War in Iraq with Al Quida, makes the actual terrorism more difficult to combat. We have failed to recognize a variety of threats including dams, oil supply lines, power plants, toxins in our food and water supply and numerous others. The only way to prevent another 9/11 is to encourage public discussion of our vulnerabilities and to address those issues, something the Bush Administration has largely avoided.