Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

SCORE SETTLING: DUMBASS AT HFIENBERG.COM Two summers ago, when I was hard at work in the bowels of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (ok, I was just an intern at The American Enterprise) I wrote a piece for the website called "The Good News About Terror" (apparently no longer on the site). The basic gist was that America is actually much better equipped to fight and prevent terrorist attacks than a lot of people believe, with the fact that there hadn't been a successful terror attack in the US since 9/11 and the anthrax attacks as evidence. If I recall correctly, I mostly talked about how the since-forgotten hubbub about how the FBI had leads on some of the hijackers but that the information didn't get to the right people etc. etc. (remember Colleen Rowley?) was actually a good thing, because it meant that even in pre-9/11 America, when we weren't looking for terrorists all that hard, we nearly caught them, so logically in post-9/11 America, when we are looking, hard, we should stand a better chance of foiling their plans.

My article provoked exactly one response: some guy over at called me a dumbass. Basically his argument was that the shooting at the LAX El Al ticket counter was an act of terrorism, and it took place after 9/11, ergo my argument didn't hold water and, moreover, I was a dumbass. At the time, I declined to respond, because I figured I'd say something dumb and angry and embarrass my employer, AEI. But they don't employ me anymore. And now I have a blog of mine own.

Let me say basically that I agree with Fienberg that the LAX attack was terrorism, if not by Al Qaeda than at least by someone sympathetic to it. I actually think the same is probably true of the DC area snipers (though this may be disproved at trial). That having been said, I still think my basic point, that Al Qaeda's ability to hit the US isn't as great as we feared after 9/11, stands up. After 9/11, I at least was expecting all kinds of crazy shit - more plane hijackings, an outbreak of smallpox, bombings at major US landmarks. None of which happened. We can argue about why: was Al Qaeda less dangerous then we feared? were we better at fighting them? is there a host of archangels battling at our side? But the fact remains: there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. How is that made irrelevant by the fact that a disgruntled cabbie shot up a ticket counter at LAX?

I now consider my score with that dumbass at officially settled, a year and a half later. Best served cold, indeed.