Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Latest Terrorism Threat

David Letterman has been having a ball with the latest suicide bomber and his "exploding underwear with the fuse hanging out his fly." I have to admit that I have not closely followed that story. I'm sure the accusations have flooded in, accusing the current administration of being "soft" on terrorism. The Republicans continue to hold up the nomination for the TSA chief, leaving that important position vacant. The intelligence agencies still maintain their turf wars and refuse to share information, regardless of the danger to the country. Full body scanning and profiling of passengers from the targeted Arab countries are touted as the latest weapons in the fight.

On the other side the terrorist groups have not faltered in their scheming to beat the various security measures. Apparently, the "exploding underwear" is their latest attempt. Fortunately, these guys are not the sharpest tacks in the box. Intelligence is not a good attribute for a suicide bomber. I'm sure the latest yokel's handlers are kicking themselves for choosing him. Yet, they will continue to work on various methods until they have conned a fanatic lunatic of reasonable intelligence and dexterity and an airplane is blown to bits.

Neither the Republicans nor Democrats want to see an act of terrorism succeed. Yet the accusations will continue to fly, bogging down the process and making the country more vulnerable. The bottom line is that over the course of the last 70 years Republicans and Democrats have equally contributed to a foreign policy that has created the hatred of this country among Middle Eastern and Eastern religious fanatics. They do not trust this country and will do whatever it takes to try to defeat us.

Guerrilla warfare on a world wide scale is very difficult to defeat with technology and weapons. We have made a very nasty bed for ourselves by continually meddling in the affairs of those countries. The bed was dirtied even more with the unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Now we have a threatened government in Pakistan that possesses nuclear weapons and an unstable leader in Iran that may be attempting to produce them. If terrorists get their hands on those materials, the world is in great danger.

We are in a war that is almost impossible to win unless we conquer the hearts and minds of the Arab world. The previous administration has given the current administration a very steep uphill battle in this war. Too many dirty tricks were directed toward the Arab world with the invasion, Guantanamo, torture, and rendition. Our country faltered in its world leadership role. Putting this derailed train back on the track will take more than words and it will take years. With the political climate here now, it is doubtful that the train will be repaired in the short term, and the election of another right-wing administration will muddy the waters once again. In short, like the "war" on drugs, look for the "war on terrorism" to continue for many, many years to come with little long term success.