Sunday, June 03, 2007

The JFK terror plot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's the top story at Memeorandum, where you can find all the latest reaction from all around the blogosphere. As CNN puts it: "Four men have been charged with conspiring to blow up jet fuel supply tanks and pipelines at John F. Kennedy International Airport." The four men are thought to be connected to "an international network of Muslim extremists from the United States, Guyana and Trinidad". There is no confirmation, as ABC's The Blotter is reporting, that they are connected to al Qaeda, as had been feared. And this is important: "The plot, authorities stress, was not at an operational stage, and the plotters, who included a former airport employee, had no ability to execute it." It was "not technically feasible," according to sources quoted by CNN.

The right is going (wing)nuts, blowing everything out of proportion. If you must, see Michelle Malkin, who fearmongers about "homegrown jihad" and blasts "the Left" (for "pooh-poohing" the bust, that is, for keeping it all in perspective); AJStrata, who connects the bust to al Qaeda, Iraq, domestic surveillance, and, yes, immigration; and Allahpundit, who revels in the drama of it all. And, of course, there are many others, all feeding off one another.

But is the left really "pooh-poohing" the bust? Hardly. Steve Benen, blogging at Talking Points Memo (as important a "left" blog as it gets), states definitively that "the arrests of these suspected terrorists are obviously good news". He acknowledges that "there was no plan for an imminent attack," which is true (and hasn't been seriously disputed), but he goes to argue that "it appears to be a successful law-enforcement/counter-terrorism operation. The officials who were involved with uncovering the plot and arresting the suspects deserve the nation's gratitude." Indeed: "It's good to know that intelligence gathering and law-enforcement efforts -- the very techniques Bush and his allies have ridiculed as ineffective -- can make a difference." Yes, there is criticism of Bush there -- justifiable criticism, I would add -- but how is that "pooh-poohing"?

Assuming that this wasn't an entirely manufactured scare -- and most of the reports seem quite sober in their assessments -- this does seem to have been "a successful law-enforcement/counter-terrorism operation". So why the hyped-up responses from the right? Because they themselves -- Malkin et al. -- have lost all perspective. For them, the so-called war on terror has become the definitive partisan wedge, the ultimate political tool, allowing them, as they define the war, to stir up fear and wage McCarthyite war on their opponents. While most of us are just happy the plot was foiled, however unfeasible it may have been, all we get from them is more of their predictable game.

The threat of terrorism is quite real, but those who are morally and intellectually bankrupt, like so many on the right these days, are in no position to understand it, let alone deal with it effectively. The JFK terror plot has proven that to us once again.

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  • Law enforcement is all well and good, but we should really invade Venezuela so that we can fight them there rather than here.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:44 AM  

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