I was distracted on Sunday. It was right about the time I was thinking about the safety of my subway commute past 34th Street during the Republican Convention later this month. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that al Qaeda was planning to bomb financial institutions in NYC.
"This is not the usual chatter. This is multiple sources that involve extraordinary detail," he said.
I guess it's a good thing I work in the publishing industry rather than the financial industry. I only need to be concerned about the cutting-edge research in chemical engineering, toxicology, microbiology, cryptology, and the physics of shock waves that my company makes available to the Iranian government. To be fair, according to American law, it's not my company that does this. It's a European company that just happens to have the same name, CEO, and intranet site. Others in my company would argue that our European colleagues don't actually build the bombs that will be detonated in American cities. They only sell the how-to guidebooks to an Iranian e-content distributor. It's all in the name of scientific progress.
But back to Sunday's threat. Ridge said "the preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs." That's good, then I should be reasonably safe in the subway. I'll bring a can of SpaghettiOs with me in case I get trapped down there. I don't want to get hungry while I'm waiting for the pile of smoking bodies to be dragged out of my way.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that the United States of America is the kind of country that should be sticking its fingers in its ears like a Saturday morning cartoon character waiting for the dynamite to go off. If we trust our intelligence at all, then anytime a threat like this is reported, we ought to make a foreign nation pay for making us scurry around like a bunch of terrified rats. Somebody's head towel ought to need bleaching tomorrow morning.
Politicians are always talking about our lack of "good intelligence". Maybe this is why we never do anything militarily when one of these threats is identified: nobody trusts our intelligence. I agree with the politicians, we do need better intelligence. Like a politician intelligent enough to recognize that the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 should have been treated differently from a Central Park mugging.
I remember thinking how pussified this country had become when I heard that Bill Clinton had asked the Taliban to hand over bin Laden to us. And now, John Kerry wants more of this kind of "dialogue" as a substitute for a foreign policy based on self interest.
At about the same time as the threats of terrorist bombings were being reported, Kerry was on Face the Nation saying:
"If we demonstrate an America that has a foreign policy that is smarter, more engaged... and more respectful of the world, we're going to bring people to our side."
Have you noticed that people like Kerry never explicitly state the exact benefits of kissing the world's ass? Or, for that matter, what the fuck being "respectful of the world" means exactly?
I can infer that the answer to question number two is: "Not going to war until 'the world' gives you permission to do so." As for the first question, I'm assuming the benefits must be that if you promise not to fight back when you're attacked, the bad guys will stop attacking you. Sort of like a policy of preemptive warfare, except that you surrender first. But maybe I'm wrong and we're just worried that France or Germany might not invite us to the prom.
Yeah, I know you need "international cooperation" to capture terrorists in other locations around the world. I'm all in favor of cooperation. Cooperation is the process of convincing idiots not to be as fucking stupid as they're naturally inclined to be. Generally, cooperation means dumbing down a good idea enough so that the most vocal and irrational in a group will accept something slightly better than the product of their own semi-functioning brains. In the case of fighting terrorists, we need an ambassador who speaks moron who can sit down with these European assholes and explain to them why having a country full of Moroccan terrorists pointing their guns at you is not beneficial to either of us.
That's the kind of cooperation we need. Whether they're waiving American flags every time our buildings fall down is not so much my concern.