Living in Fear

Considering the events of fourteen years ago, mid September should be a good time to hold a rational, fact-based discussion about security here in the “homeland”. But considering the huge (or maybe yuuuge) crowd of politicians working hard to literally scare up votes in the backwoods of Iowa and New Hampshire, that ain’t gonna happen.

Which is why a recent segment of the DecodeDC podcast titled Terrified of Terrorism should be required listening. From the opening of that episode:

Fourteen years after 9/11, America’s terrorism policy resembles a history museum crammed with dusty old assumptions, antiquated objectives, unexamined ledgers all shrouded in a cloak of secrecy and imminent, invisible danger that vanquishes skeptical inquisition.

As taxpayers, we are being scammed. As citizens, our constitutional values are being compromised. As human beings, we are being needlessly frightened.

One might say this shows the terrorists have won. They haven’t. It’s that our common sense has surrendered.

We’re not much bothered, though. We are too paranoid to seriously question the basics of counterterrorism policy. The fundamental assumptions of the War on Terror have gone unexamined for a decade and a half.

The core premise is this: Global terrorism is the most serious, dangerous threat to the United States and its citizens.

It is heresy to challenge that orthodoxy.

But by any objective measure, it isn’t true.

The rest of the 22 minutes is a good start to that rational, fact-based discussion our so-called leaders are terrified to have. Go. Listen. Think.