Thursday, September 29, 2011

Their Terrorists and Ours

Osama bin Laden used to brag about making Americans so paranoid about terror attacks that just raising an al Qaeda flag would panic us into self-damage without any effort on his part.

His legacy comes back in headlines about the arrest of a 26-year-old Massachusetts man, who has been working for months with FBI sting agents to prepare attacks on the Capitol and Pentagon with remote-controlled aircraft, fake C-4 explosives, automatic AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and cellphones to act as detonation devices for IEDs to be used against American soldiers in Iraq.

Announcing the indictment of Rezwan Ferdaus, the Department of Justice reassures Americans that at no time were they in danger from the accused man’s plot.

Say what? Do we take this to mean that a single individual’s fantasies were abetted by who-knows-how-many U.S. dollars and how many FBI man-hours into a case that could be brought into court where, on the face of it, a defense attorney might make do well with a plea of entrapment?

Of course, threats have to be detected and relentlessly pursued but where is the line between nurturing them, one individual at a time, to make a legal case? Do we have enough money and manpower to keep doing that?

In trying to untangle this problem, it’s reassuring to learn that actual terrorists have their own difficulties over reality and perception as Al Qaeda denounces Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for continuing to spread conspiracy theories that the U.S. faked the 9/11 attacks.

“Why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?" the offended terrorists complain over being denied credit for crashing planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

As we continue to pour trillions into Afghanistan and Iraq in the “War on Terror,” how much of it is real and how much is the kind of public brainwashing that went on during the Vietnam years and the Cold War?

Update: As if on schedule, a fake scare shows up as the Onion, a satirical site, creates a momentary panic by tweeting “Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children being held hostage by armed Congressmen.”

Capitol police were not amused, but, in this atmosphere, it doesn’t take an Orson Welles invasion of Mars broadcast to persuade Americans that Tea Party terrorists have gone bonkers.

They have been holding the country hostage all year.

1 comment:

daniel noe said...

If the FBI can play along to make a case against this guy, why can't this guy say he was playing along to catch the FBI in the act of aiding terror? He could say he was hired by a newspaper - or even a different branch of the government.

Someone should base a movie on this idea.