Today’s fear-mongering (they think we’re cowards, but I’m sure they’re wrong)

If we’re not trembling in fear, it’s not for lack of effort by elements of the US news media.  As in this editorial in NY Daily News: “The threat keeps growing: List of terrorists in our midst gets longer and longer“, 1 May 2010 — Excerpt:

The clear and present danger of homegrown Islamist terrorism grows weekly. Plots are coming at New York and America from every which way and at increasing speed.

Hard on the heels of Najibullah Zazi’s subway bomb try, the Manhattan U.S. attorney has indicted two Brooklyn men, U.S. citizens, for allegedly conspiring to abet Al Qaeda’s communication needs and its capacity to detonate explosives.

Count the arrests of Wesam el-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff as another victory for America’s anti-terror forces, but do not sleep well, for the enemy is determined and dispered among us.  Even a partial inventory of attempted attacks by radicalized Muslims on these shores puts the threat into terrifying perspective: …

Al Qaeda no longer needs a command center. Its foot soldiers are everywhere. They need only to win once, while the good guys have to win every time. How long can a winning streak go? Forever, one prays.

I esp like the touch of doom at the end.  “They need only win once.”  What happens if they “win” once?  Perhaps they explode a bomb on an airplane or a subway.  Automobile accidents killed 34 thousand people in 2009 (down from 51 thousand in 1980).  Even should they suddenly become competent, their record since 9-11 is nothing compared to that of the anarchists (see here for their list of successes).

Let’s examine this list in more detail.  Two things stand out.

There are 25 incidents mentioned.  Only 17 were terrorist incidents in the US (the others committed varied offenses, such as making videos and lying to the FBI).  Some of these looked trumped up, such as the Buffalo Six (Wikipedia).  Or Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, where the other members of his sleeper cell were all Federal agents (Wikipedia).

More interesting is the distribution over time.  There were 1 – 3 incidents per year from 2002 – 2008.  Then 6 in 2009, and 4 so far in 2010.  Does this reflect increased activity by US police and intelligence?  Or increased activity by terrorists, although continuing at a low level of competence?  Neither seems to threaten victory by al Qaeda.  Our ever-expanding wars in Islamic nations probably contribute to this trend.

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Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

Posts about terrorism:

  1. Terrorism in India, a roster of incidents, 16 May 2008
  2. To good a story to die: eliminate legitimate grievances to eliminate terrorism, 9 December 2008
  3. “Some people just want to see the world burn”, 17 January 2009
  4. 4GW in India – more people who want to watch the world burn, 19 January 2009
  5. India looks at the monster in the mirror, 21 January 2009
  6. Are Americans easily panicked cowards? I think not, but many experts disagree., 24 April 2009
  7. Are islamic extremists like the anarchists?, 14 December 2009
  8. We have endemic terrorism – but few wars and epidemics. That’s good news!, 15 December 2009
  9. RAND explains How Terrorist Groups End, and gives Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida, 15 January 2010
  10. Stratfor discusses the Jihadist WMD Threat, 14 Febuary 2010


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