Dispatches From The Back Lines

« March 2006 »

Memo to the Terror Warriors: YOU ARE DUMB.

No two ways about it. You probably realize this by now, but if you didn't, you need to wake the fuck up, because you are not safer. You're still very, very, very, very, very, very safe, but that's because you live in a very safe country that, no matter what anybody says or does, is simply not going to get attacked by terrorists very often.

And it's a damn good thing, because all indications are that the people trying to stop it, the people trying to catch whoever gets past that first group, and the group whose job it is to make sure the people caught by the second group get punished are all doing a very bad job. And it's not because of the few civil liberties you have left, either. It's because they're too busy fucking around.

Gerry Adams is on a watch list. Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the reasonably respectable Irish terrorist-group-turned-political-party. Think Hamas, only a few years down the line and quite a few shades paler. Now, one could argue that it's a good thing Gerry Adams is on a terror watch list in America, even though America doesn't rule over Northern Ireland and thus would be a ridiculous target.

Except that Gerry Adams found out he was on a terror watch list after being subjected to extra airport security. On a flight from Washington, D.C. to Buffalo, N.Y. Pay special attention to those prepositions, folks, because they're key. FROM Washington D.C. Where he was before they paid special attention to him. Where he'd just finished celebrating St. Patrick's Day. With the PRESIDENT.

If we're going to have ludicrous, broad, Cat-Stevens-Gerry-Adams-snaring terror-watch-lists, is it too much to ask that they actually be used before the people on them meet with the President? Even by the system's own ludicrous tortured logic, this is an epic fuckup.

The real question you have to ask yourself is - if terrorism is so fucking rampant and dangerous, and we're fighting it so fucking diligently, WHO HAVE WE CAUGHT?

Well, there's those schlubs at Gitmo - hundreds of alleged terrorists, plus the odd handful of guys we've cleared but still won't let leave. Lovely article in the National Review based solely on the stuff the government's let out so far. Like the sarcastic outbursts treated as confessions. Interrogation transcripts where a Gitmo inmate saying:

"OK, I saw bin Laden five times: Three times on Al Jazeera and twice on Yemeni news."

Became a note on his file: "Detainee admitted to knowing Osama bin Laden."

So the terrorists we're stopping are politicians who just met with the President, the terrorists we're holding are mostly random brown people fingered by fellow detainees, and what about the actual terrorists? Well, there's Zacarias Moussaoui. We caught him. He confessed. Now we're trying to execute him. You would think that the execution of a confessed 9/11 co-conspirator would be a Tenet-esque "slam dunk", yet the prosecution apparently felt it couldn't win without cheating. Coaching witnesses, specifically.

Which means either Moussaoui isn't the bundle of purest evil you'd think he was, or the prosecutors are fucking morons. Or both. Plus, they got CAUGHT.

Fuckups, all down the line. Can't find 'em, can't stop 'em, can't catch 'em, can't punish 'em. That's your fucking War on Terror, people. At least with the War on Drugs they could show you a van full of cocaine and you could pretend that there weren't a thousand other vans just like it, and you and your children were safe from the scourge of, um, rich white guys who fondly remember 1986.

With the War on Terror, your only solace is pure, uncut willful disbelief. And how much longer can that work?

Don't answer that.