Thursday, August 05, 2004

Cry wolf, please - Part II

Babble on.

You know, if I had a nickel for every hack who has pulled his head out of his rectum long enough to shrilly proclaim "Bush is manipulating terror alerts for political gain!" I'd be as rich as Michael friggin' Moore (although not nearly as insufferable).

For writing this small-minded, cynical piece, Lawrence Martin at the Globe and Mail is today's designated idiot.

[OBL and his cabal] can be pictured in their caves or Saudi palaces, feet up, chuckling. "What American city should we petrify with a leaked document today? Chicago? Miami? Or need we even bother? It's been three years since 9/11, and they're still paranoid. They're right where we want 'em -- in an eternal state of fear."

Well, I can't say I completely understand the terrorist mind, but seeing as Martin is obviously comfortable publishing complete speculation, why should I be shy? I don't think the terrorists want us scared. I think they want us dead. The scared part is just a side benefit.

History tells us that the last thing strong leaders do is send a signal that their side is frightened. Can anyone imagine a Churchill or Napoleon demonstrating this kind of fear over documents that spell out no plot but that -- O heavens! -- have been updated?

Hmm. I don't know that I can imagine Churchill issuing a nationwide alert. Oh, wait. Air-raid sirens. Blackout curtains. Loose lips sink ships. The difference, though, is that no one questioned the threat, because with a good pair of binoculars you could physically see it from Dover on a clear day.

Bush doesn't have that luxury. The threat his country is facing - and that our country refuses to face, as we still inhabit such a complacently September 10th mind-space (nod to Nick) - is like smoke in the wind right up until the moment when there's smoke in the wind - from a burning crater where a skyscraper once stood. Martin doesn't get that. (Momentary aside: I just realized you could substitute Paul Martin for Lawrence Martin in the last sentence, and it would still be true. Isn't the flexibility of language a wonderful thing?)

Even if the threat information is well-founded, wouldn't it make more sense, as many argue, for the government to quietly issue instructions to law enforcement agencies to beef up security and let the country go about its business confidently?

No, it wouldn't make more sense to keep the general population in the dark on this one. You know why? Because the terrorists are most likely already in the country. They are somebody's neigbour or motel guest. They eat at someone's restaurant and shop at someone's corner convenience store. They are vulnerable to discovery by everyone around them. They aren't like Soviet bombers coming from over the polar ice cap to test our defences. We could leave that defence to the military, because the military knew where to look to find the enemy. To fight terror, we need to actively engage the population in the hunt for the terrorists. And the best way to do that is to give them as much information as possible, without compromising intelligence-gathering techniques.

Besides, no alert to the law-enforcement community at large would remain confidential. The press would get ahold of the story, and it would be on the front page in some Godzilla-font the next day. So on my own cynical note, I wonder if Martin the professional journalist isn't just a little pissed off that Bush is moving in on his professional territory. Apparently scaring people is the exclusive right of the news media.

Mr. Bush's nation...may be in danger, as he says it is. But the reason he is constantly handing the enemy psychological victories with his cowering terror alerts is more likely because of the danger he himself faces: losing the presidency. (my emphasis)

Ah, finally, the weasel words. Martin can't be sure if there's really a threat or if there isn't, but he doesn't want to have to eat crow if a truck packed with explosives takes out the NYSE tomorrow. So as someone who has absolutely no responsibility to defend anyone's safety, he takes a position that will have precisely zero repercussions for him or anyone else if he's wrong.

How smugly irresponsible.

Babble off.


At 2:52 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

When he was fired from the 'Citizen' (for writting embarrassing things about one J Chretien), many words were written in his support, generally referring to his professionalism and honesty in the face of pressure from the PMO, etc. Now it looks like the nasty things said about LM were not necessarily wrong ...



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