Saturday, November 21, 2009

Imaginary dangers

Apparently another way in which conservatives in this country differ from the rest of us is in what they worry about. Here is Congressman John Shadegg, Republican of Arizona, (who had a few days earlier brought a staffer's 7 month old daughter on the House floor with him to use as a prop for a speech) reacting to New York Mayor Bloomberg:
I saw the Mayor of New York said today, "We're tough. We can do it." Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist? How are you going to feel when it's some clerk -- some innocent clerk of the court -- whose daughter or son is kidnapped? Or the jailer's little brother or little sister? This is political correctness run amok. Link

Terrorists kidnapping children as part of a raid to free jailed comrades? It sounds like a movie plot. When has Al Qaeda or any other real-life Muslim terrorist group operated like that? Al Qaeda targets are always ones that have resonance with the victims of American imperialism -- U.S. battleships and embassies, the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the White House or the Capitol. Although most Muslims around the world oppose acts of terrorist violence they do understand and have some sympathy with the message sent by attacking those targets. What message would be sent by targeting children and who would have sympathy with that message? Americans who worry that terrorist will target the Statue of Liberty, football stadiums or the children of mayors or prison wardens are reacting to terrorist they have dreamed up or seen in movies, not the real-life enemies we actually face.

The more clearly we see a potential danger the more effective we can be in preventing it. Worrying about imaginary dangers is total ineffective in keeping us safe, especially if it causes the warning signs of real dangers to be missed. (Remember President Bush blowing off warnings about Al Qaeda before 9/11 or Katrina before it hit.) I am glad we now have leaders on the national level who appear to be knowledgeable realists with their eyes squarely focused on the world as it exists.

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