Barefoot and Panty-Scanned: The Soviet Union Arrives, Dripping, Having Sum the Atlantic

What suckers we gringos are. How wonderfully amusing all of this must be for Al Quaeda. So little effort is needed to manipulate the decreasingly Great Satan into doing all manner of comic and expensive things.

For terrorists, the return on investment in phenomenal. They drop those office buildings in New York for not much money, and the US undertakes a war against Islam on which it spends a trillion dollars. Yes, Bush and Cheney and Israel wanted to invade Iraq anyway, but New York made it inevitable. Slick: Bush II couldn’t not invade some Moslem country. Leave your enemy with no choice but to do what you want him to do.

So little is necessary to terrorize the world’s hyperpower. A free-lance dingaling secretes a bomb of sorts in his shoe, whereupon the US goes into convulsions and long lines of Americans stand comically barefoot in airports. Dingaling Two popularizes liquid explosives, and so Washington frenziedly confiscates toothpaste. Yes, the world’s hyperpower is afraid of Colgate, with fluoride. Dinglaling Three hides the infernal machine in his skivvies, so Obama makes Firm Pronouncements, and we will now have to undergo examination by panty scanners. Always, over and over, the terrorists have the iniative. The country reacts hugely and predictably.

Won’t the panty scanners be wonderful? Now some affirmative-action federal retard can look at nekkid women all day. (Actually, as a guy, I can see the appeal. And, potentially, all else.)

Of course taking security pubic has its charms, and not just for the TSA guys who get to look at all those unwrapped cuties. Companies in the electronics racket are going to make out like Wall Street looters. How much does a panty-scanner cost? Multiply it by the number of security gates, and someone is going to swim in gravy. Throw in training contracts, maintenance, and upgrades. The federal teat remains a bounteous spigot.

How much does this have to do with security? Not much. On the evidence, TSA couldn’t stop a two-year-old from waddling across a living room. Note that both the Underwear Bomber and the Foot Bomber were stopped by passengers, after TSA let them board. The current bomber’s father told the US government about the guy, just as various sources warned of the New York attack. The feds can’t stop terrorism even when someone else does their homework for them. And a few weeks ago TSA managed to post its very secret screening manual on the web. It’s good to have security in the hands of experts.

But it’s for yourown good.

But the gummint can sure buy pricey stuff well.

Now, who is winning the War on Terror? They are. The United States spends ungodly amounts on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing people right and left in Pakistan and getting sucked in ever deeper, bombing Somalia, widening the war on Islam into Yemen, threatening Iran. From Al Quaeda’s point of view, this must be peaches. The US, already in a grave recession, bleeding jobs to Asia, having become the world’s foremost debtor nation, now spends itself to death in a widening gyre.

New York was genius. Evil, but brilliant. A few guys with box cutters, a bit of training, and voila! Thousands and thousands of GIs dead or ruined, America dives into a half dozen wars, and there is no end in sight. As strategy, the terrorists have been masterly. They have perfected induced suicide. We have been Kevorkianed.

Further, and implausibly, Al Quaeda has transformed America into exactly what it was intended not to be: a frightened police-and-surveillance state. Wars subvert freedoms, and subvert the desire for freedoms, and then the memory of them. If this is what bin Laden and the gang set out to bring about, they have succeeded splendidly.

The Bill of Rights is largely defunct. Americans now accept random searches in public places, and NSA monitors everyone’s email. So much for the Fourth Amendment.

Police powers grow. Cops increasingly are militarized, ninja-ed out, jackbooted and unaccountable. Habeas corpus is doubtful. American embassies abroad cower behind bars, afraid to allow women to enter with a lipstick. (The world’s hyperpower is afraid of lipstick.) The ever-present loudspeakers in airports and subways urge us to watch each other: We are to be a nation of snitches. Carry-on bags on airliners are being forbidden. The FBI can pull your library records, and the library can’t tell you. As the twilight deepens, journalists hesitate to criticize the government. (This latter, amigos, is happening.)

Ours is not the America it recently was, and it gets differenter by the month. Who would have thought that so little effort would be needed to wreak such internal havoc on the world’s hyperpower, fearful of gel deodorants? The success of the terrorists is deplorable, but in strategic terms it has been magnificent. Never have so few done so much to so many so easily.

The down-stream consequences may be amazing, tipping the US over the cliff. The prospect is real, methinks, that Al Quaeda will have brought down the world’s hyperpower, afraid of shampoo, for less than a million dollars. You think I am a raving lunatic? Consider:

Things are getting shaky abroad. America’s title of top dog has become questionable. While the US hemorrhages money in strange wars, China grows like kudzu. Economic power eventually, usually quickly, engenders diplomatic and military power. Signs abound. Japan talks about ejecting American forces, apparently not wanting to be used by Washington as a sepoy spearhead against a huge neighbor. The wind is blowing.

I find it interesting to hear the BBC speaking casually of Japan as the world’s most technologically advanced nation, of China as “the world’s factory.” It looks as if Asia will soon be dominant economically. The “war on terror” pushes America toward bankruptcy and, when lost, will leave the Pentagon unable to pursue new adventures for, probably, a couple of decades. Another decade or so of war followed by a withdrawal will leave the United States impoverished, isolated, out of Islamic countries, and with its teeth pulled. Isn’t that what bin Laden or somebody said he wanted?

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