Thursday, February 28, 2008

Don't Shrink Terrorism's Threat

Ex-CIA case-officer Marc Sageman is the latest leftist heart-throb, downplaying the threat of Al-Qaeda in a recent book.

I started to draft a rebuttal, but ShrinkWrapped beat me to it, beautifully:
I am not a fan of Yellow Jackets. While their sting is rarely dangerous, when they attack en masse they can, in fact, kill. Worse, for susceptible individuals who have been primed, they can evoke an anaphylactic reaction, a catastrophic allergic response in which the person's own immune system goes into overdrive and ultimately leads to death. This is instructive for Islamic terror.

First, most people will do anything they can to avoid Yellow Jackets. That means that when possible, an area will be ceded to the Yellow Jackets based on the threat of unpleasantness. The relation to speech codes which aim to circumscribe our ability to provoke the anger of the super-sensitive Islamists should be obvious.

Second, no one can know if he is susceptible to anaphylaxis until it happens. The analogy to Islamic terror is clear. Until a nuclear weapon explodes in an American city we will not be able to tell whether or not we are susceptible to a catastrophic attack. There is literally no way to compute the odds. We do know that our enemies, which include Iranian supported terrorists (mostly Shia), as well as the al Qaeda Sunni terrorists, are constrained only by their lack of capability rather than their lack of intent. Additionally, there are credible reports that the Sunni leadership of al Qaeda has been reconstituted and rebuilt in their current safe havens, a development that would bring Sageman's conclusions into question.

Third, just as a swarm of Yellow Jackets can kill innocents (children are most susceptible to Yellow Jacket venom), allowing Islamic terrorists a respite in which they can add and train new recruits, replenish their supplies, develop new plans and instruments, and spread their message, is a dangerous plan. Our adversaries are intelligent and deadly, constantly evolving in response to our efforts and constantly looking for new ways to kill innocents. Allowing them to plan in peace and relative comfort risks additional Beslans as well as additional 9/11s, not to mention London underground and Madrid train attacks.
There's more--read the whole thing.

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