Bob's Links and Rants

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Sunday, August 17, 2003

Another Big Terrorist Attack Likely
According to a report from a London-based research company. Only Colombia, Israel and Pakistan are ranked as being more at risk than the US.

"Another Sept. 11-style terrorist attack in the United States is highly likely," the report states. "Networks of militant Islamist groups are less extensive in the U.S. than they are in Western Europe, but U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan and Iraq has exacerbated anti-U.S. sentiment."

Aghanistan ranked seventh, Iraq ninth: "Iraq was actually in the bottom 10 before the war," Mr. Dunn said. "But now with a political vacuum existing, and heavily armed factions, the climate is ripe for terrorism."
Britain is ranked 10th, the highest of any European country. "Motivation for such an attack among Islamic extremist groups is very high owing to the U.K.'s close alliance with the U.S.," the analysts wrote, "while sophisticated militant networks are known to be present within the country."

In 186th place, is North Korea. "Despite being a member of the so-called Axis of Evil," Mr. Dunn said, "North Korea's repressive state has basically made it impossible for terrorists to function."

So, to summarize the "war on terror" so far: The two countries spearheading the insanity now rank in the top ten as far as risk of terrorist attack is concerned. So do the two countries which have been attacked supposedly as part of the "war on terror." The top three countries are all major military clients of the US. The only possible sense that can be made out of the "war on terror" so far is that it is an attempt to turn the entire world into North Korea: repressive and nuclear.

Time to replay one of my rants from July, 2002:

Okay, let's look at the numbers:

World Trade Center attack: about 2800 people killed.
Pentagon: About 190 killed.
Anthrax attacks: 5 people killed.
American Airlines 587, November 2001: 270 killed (government says it probably wasn't terrorism, but who knows?)
July 4 shootout at LAX: 3 killed (government claims it wasn't terrorism either, but that certainly begs the question they refuse to answer: What is terrorism, anyway?).
Total deaths in US from terrorism in last year: about 3,300 [that's July 2001 to July 2002].

Total deaths in US from gun violence (homicides, suicides, accidents) in 2001: over 30,000.

Total deaths in US from auto accidents in 2001: 41,730.

The response: Tens of billions of additional dollars for the military for the "War on Terrorism," restrictions on many of our civil liberties, with the notable exception of our gun rights, and official government encouragement to buy cars to keep America rolling. We can debate whether the response to 9/11 was due to the emotional and spectacular nature of the attacks, the fact that foreigners were more to blame than Americans, or whether it was cynical opportunism on the part of the Bushies to do what they wanted to do all along (my guess). What seems beyond debate to me, however, is that the response is completely out of proportion to the real threat to America from terrorism when compared to the other, more mundane threats that we live with (or die with) all of the time. The "War on Terrorism" is political grandstanding of the worst and most criminal type. Well, maybe not quite the worst. There was a provocation, and Osama was apparently in Afghanistan at some point, so maybe there was the slightest excuse for pulverizing that poor country one more time if you were willing to ignore the less violent and probably more successful approaches available.
(Bob's Links and Rants, July 14, 2002)

And, as I've said before, a nice hefty gasoline tax ($5 to $10 a gallon) would solve a whole lot of problems. No need to steal anyone else's oil--the oil still in this country would be worth pumping again. Much more incentive for mass transit, reduced sprawl, and hence less traffic and less traffic accidents. Correct for decades of the government keeping gasoline prices artificially low by making them artificially high.