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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "The Gift That Keeps Giving": More Hot Air on Terrorism From Tom Terrific

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Gift That Keeps Giving," Thomas Friedman writes:

"I have sympathy for President Obama having to deal with this mess of a world, where the key threats come from crumbling states that can be managed only by rebuilding them at a huge cost, with uncertain outcomes and dodgy partners. Americans don’t want that job. Yet these disorderly states create openings for low-probability, high-impact terrorism, where the one-in-a-million lucky shot can really hurt us. No president wants to be on duty when that happens either. Yet many more Americans were killed in their cars by deer last year than by terrorists. I don’t think Obama has done that badly navigating all these contradictions. He has done a terrible job explaining what he is doing and connecting his restraint with any larger policy goals at home or abroad."

Chaos in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan only "create openings for low-probability, high-impact terrorism, where the one-in-a-million lucky shot can really hurt us"? Fascinating.

But now consider what Thomas S. Warrick, deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism policy at the Department of Homeland Security, told the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation, and Trade, yesterday:

"While this hearing focuses on the terrorist threat from Syria and Iraq, core al-Qa’ida, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and their affiliates and adherents in other parts of the world are a major concern for DHS. Despite senior leadership deaths, these groups maintain the intent and, in some cases, the capability to conduct attacks against U.S. citizens and our facilities. AQAP and other terrorist groups have shown they can adjust their tactics, techniques and procedures to target the West in a number of ways.

. . . .

At present, DHS is unaware of any specific, credible threat to the U.S. Homeland from ISIL. However, violent extremists who support terrorist groups based in Syria have demonstrated the intent and capability to target American citizens overseas. ISIL constitutes an active and serious threat within the region and could attempt attacks on U.S. targets overseas with little-to-no warning.

. . . .

We are concerned about the threat of foreign fighters from the United States or elsewhere who might go to Syria, become even more radicalized, and then return to their home countries, including the United States, where they might try to conduct attacks either on their own or in concert with others."

Note that Warrick does not refer to "low-probability, high-impact terrorism, where the one-in-a-million lucky shot can really hurt us."

So whom do you believe, Friedman or Warrick? I know whom I would trust.

1 comment:

  1. "...killed in their cars by deer ..." Does this mean all American deer will now be forced to wear body cameras??? ? in order to record exactly how a deer kills anyone in their cars, e.g., a 12-point buck doing a somersault into the front end of the car in front of me...and that man was A-OK whilst the magnificent buck had a very bad landing...

    On a serious note: the steady drumbeat of 'be afraid of...' has worn everyone down, because death by stress is the new American solution to all those 'conversations' we still have to endure.