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August 18, 2006

The Terrorists Have Already Won
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:36 PM * 31 comments

What has been lost in the reporting on the London Liquid Terror Bombers is this:

Senator Joe Lieberman suffered a catastrophic loss in the Democratic primary in Connecticut, and the Iraq War is still FUBAR.

Don’t let the terrorists distract you from reality.

Comments on The Terrorists Have Already Won:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 05:45 PM:

Yes, and things are really going bad in Afgh . . . OH MY GOSH, THEY FOUND JONBENET'S KILLER!


Hopefully, people are starting to catch on to SNAKES ON A PLANE!

#2 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:07 PM:

What?! Snakes on a Plane isn't a documentary?

#3 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:13 PM:

And someone on crutches robbed a convenience store! Oh the HORROR!

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:19 PM:

Bush's job approval rating is in the toilet. I mean even friggin' Fox has his approval rating at OH MY GHOD! PAKISTANI-AMERICANS ARE BUYING CHEAP CELL PHONES!

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:29 PM:

You know what would be fun?

Get some laser-printable address labels, and print HOOPS! on them in as large a font as will fit, and then stick them just to the right of the "W" on those "W in 2004" stickers so they read WHOOPS!

Fun, but illegal and disrespectful, so don't do it anybody.

#6 ::: sharon ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:39 PM:

A woman has a panic attack on a plane: they send out fighter jets, major security alert, etc etc.

Someone writes something on an airline's sick bag about planting a bomb: bring down the plane, major security alert, etc etc. (If you were in charge, would you dare to do anything less right now?)

You wannabe a terrorist today? You don't need bombs. You don't need guns. You don't even need sharp implements. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen.

Yes. The terrorists have already won.

#7 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 06:46 PM:

From the Chicago Trib:

"Karr has apparently been living abroad since being released from a California jail in 2001 after an arrest on child pornography charges. He is being brought to Colorado, where he will face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, Ann Hurt, an official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in Thailand."

Like most sane people, my reaction was "WTF? Why the hell is the Department of Homeland Security involved in this, let alone in freakin' THAILAND?"

The 24-hour news channels are all abuzz with the potential confession of some random guy in Thailand who says that he killed Jon-Binet Ramsey, or however you spell it.

They're NOT all abuzz with the fact that President's warrantless wiretapping program has been found BOTH illegal AND unconstitutional.

Just sayin'.

#8 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 07:23 PM:

I'll weigh in on the Jon-Benet bit. I haven't seen anything to make me think Karr is her killer. The DA admits that they're still in the "investigative" phase which sounds like they were rushed just like the Brits were on the liquid explosive thingie.

#9 ::: Paul Hoffman ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Well, at least the cease-fire in Leb OHMYGOD! TIGER WOODS MAY NOT WIN THE PGA TOURNAMENT!

#10 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 07:38 PM:

Iraq is still FUBAR and Bush's polls are in the toilet. I just ordered The Looming Tower. I have heard good things about Fiasco but I don't have the stomach or heart for it. I think I will want to read John Dean's book on the conservative mind if and only if the Republicans lose one or both houses of Congress in November. Otherwise it will feel too much like hitting myself over the head with a brick.


#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 08:18 PM:

The Fall of Rome

The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes an abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agents of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportant clerk
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds with scarlet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.

-- W.H. Auden

#12 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 08:25 PM:

Fragano, why do I feel like we should be quoting Ozymandias?

#13 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 08:31 PM:

Lizzy L,
I'm on page 161 of The Looming Tower; it's a 373-page book before notes. It's trite to say a non-fiction book reads like a novel, but this one does. The author quotes or paraphrases somebody saying that 9/11 was born in Egyptian prisons, meaning that the guy who really wrote the text OBL has been following spent years in Egyptian jails, thrown there both by Nasser and his predecessor.

That particular guy (Qutb) spent a fair bit of time in the US in the 50s, hardly a decade of sin and iniquity; he seemed to draw a lesson that it was, though, and began to hate modernity from that point forward.

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 09:08 PM:

Lizzy: W's sneer of cold command, I suppose.

#15 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 09:17 PM:

Distracting people from reality is the media's main job. We're still, apparently, obsessed with, e.g., how and why Princess Diana died. Never mind that, e.g., our government is a morally bankrupt Tory-lite cabal of adulterers, embezzlers and toadies, led by a man who is too scared of falling off the tiger to try to steer it.

It's the same the whole world over...

#16 ::: claire ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 09:31 PM:

I hate hate hate my tin foil hat. It doesn't go with anything and it gets tighter by the day.

When can I take it off?


#17 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 11:48 PM:

I used to read all those books about what was really going on with the administration, and how bad things were getting. This was before the election, and I felt as if we were all reading those books together, all going through the same shock and horror together, and that one by one people would change their minds and vote these bastards out of office. After the election, though, I just didn't have the heart to read anything new on the subject.

#18 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 02:46 AM:

I'm with Lisa here. I think I am suffering from post-dramatic stress syndrome. Too much overacting in the news.


#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:12 AM:

The Turks and Iranians are massing troops and tanks on the borders of northern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan) and shelling OH NO! NATALEE HOLLOWAY IS STILL MISSING!

#20 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:24 PM:

Alas, Joe Lieberman did not suffer a "catastrophic loss" in Connecticut. He switched parties, thus making the Republican nominee utterly irrelevant and now enjoys a commanding lead over Ned Lamont in the polls leading up to the general election. Knowing my home state as I do, I fully expect Lieberman to win re-election in November. Sad, but true.

#21 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:32 PM:

Lieberman is so fucked. He hitches his wagon not to a star but to an anchor, and not just to any anchor but to George W. Bush, US politics best bower anchor, and then he tries to club haul his career just off the Thatcher.

He is so in French custody.

#22 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:54 PM:

Jane -- "post-dramatic stress syndrome"? I *like* it.

#23 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:11 PM:

Silently, and very fast.

Ken MacLeod quoted that same Auden poem the day after Bush was re-elected.

#24 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:12 PM:

I'm not sure I understand "post-dramatic stress syndrome." Jane seems to be suggesting that the problem is that some people are being dramatic. With all due love and respect I don't think that's the problem.

#25 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:39 AM:

Just finished The Looming Tower. There's much of interest, both on the personal histories of the principals behind al-Qaeda and the rather shocking state of American counterterrorism pre-9/11, which was worse than one might have dared to imagine. (Even under Clinton --- turf wars between the CIA and FBI got noticably worse on his watch, to ultimately disastrous effect). However, the book's very much a history of al-Qaeda in particular --- so, for instance, it says surprisingly little about Hezbollah, Hamas, or even the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which was working a dual military/social-service strategy strikingly similar to what's won followers for the two H's before al-Qutb was in politics or Osama bin Laden was born. For the bigger picture, Devil's Game by Robert Dreyfuss and See No Evil by Robert Baer are both interesting reads.

(You could say much the same about Fiasco, BTW --- it was written by a military reporter for the Washington Post, and reflects the views of his military sources. These people are a lot less inclined than their civilian bosses to deny the obvious, so when things obviously did go wrong, you hear interesting things about how and why, though occasionally somewhat slanted things --- the role of military intelligence in the Abu Ghraib scandal gets very short shrift. There are also odd omissions (Hans Blix's name never comes up), and the relentless focus on military affairs also means you don't hear much about policy failures elsewhere --- like the disastrous economic policy that did a great deal to alienate the people. It fills in a lot of interesting details, particularly regarding the anti-planning anti-process in the Pentagon, but nothing that surprised me quite as much as the interagency turf wars described in The Looming Tower).

But enough of this trivia. I'm hearing disturbing rumors that when Paris Hilton hired the best record producers money could buy, she may have actually gotten her moneys' worth...

#26 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:24 AM:

PNH: The Australian journalist Bruce Page once wrote 'trust your poets and be wary of your politicians'. Increasingly, it is clear that he was absolutely right.

#27 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Patrick: I assumed Jane was talking about the security theater.

#28 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:00 PM:

Oh. Right, that makes sense.

#29 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 07:25 PM:

Silently and very fast.

It's quite remarkable how apropos Auden has felt these last five years. Not just "Fall of Rome", but others like "Sept 1, 1939", and "Gare du Midi".

"A nondescript express in from the South,
Crowds round the ticket barrier, a face
To welcome which the mayor has not contrived
Bugles or braid: something about the mouth
Distracts the stray look with alarm and pity.
Snow is falling. Clutching a little case,
He walks out briskly to infect a city
Whose terrible future may have just arrived."

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:29 PM:

Or, of course, "In Memory of W. B. Yeats":

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

#31 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:43 PM:

Took him long enough:

Bush has finally admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Opposition in the USA to the war is at an all-time high.


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