Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I'm not sure what to make of this passage in Thomas Friedman's latest article.
It still seems to me ridiculously easy to blow up a car in the heart of Chicago. And anyone who has flown on a private jet since 9/11 can tell you that security at these private terminals is still so lax that if you showed up in a Saudi headdress with a West Virginia driver's license under the name of "Billy Bob bin Laden" and asked for flight directions for your chartered Learjet to Lower Manhattan, there's a good chance no one would stop you.

So, how then do we explain the calm? To begin with, I'd give a tip o' the hat to the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.
If the C.I.A. et al are doing such a bang up job, why does airport security seem so lax? I guess his point would be that they are keeping terrorists from getting to the airports, where, presumably, they wouldn't have that tough a time of it.

He also brings back the fly-paper theory, which says that we are drawing the terrorists to Iraq so that they will leave us alone here. If that was ever a valid theory, it might not be for much longer. As Friedman notes, if they don't think they can win in Iraq, they will strike back at us here.
I fear that when and if the Jihadists conclude that they have been defeated in the heart of their world, they will be sorely tempted to throw a Hail Mary pass. That is, they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home.
So that's comforting news. Maybe we should stop winning so much?

Of course some would say that maybe we aren't doing quite as well as Mr. Friedman thinks. Jonathan Steel, in the Guardian, suggests that Iraqis just might not like us all that much.

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