Cargo Bomb Plot: We Do Have Something to Fear

October 30th, 2010 at 3:30 pm | 25 Comments |

| Print

The combination of the Stewart/Colbert faux rallies and the latest terrorist attempt from al Qaeda got me thinking of Homer Simpson.

Among the more unusual diversions from his work at the Springfield nuclear plant was Homer’s short lived career getting shot in the stomach by a cannon as the opening act at Homerpalooza.

Prior to his act, two hipsters are talking to each other and one notes that Homer’s act is really cool.  When his friend asks if he is being sarcastic, he responds, “I don’t even know anymore.”

During the Bush administration the hipster left represented by Stewart and Colbert came to think that Americans were being manipulated by politicians who stoked fear of Islamic terrorism for GOP electoral gains.

Today, the same hipster left comes to Washington to mock those same people that Obama believes are fearful, irrational and again in danger of being manipulated, this time by a conservative economic message.

But then, in the midst of this ironic and self-congratulatory protest, comes news of a near miss attempt on the lives of American citizens in their places of worship.

So a question for Stewart and Colbert: Do we have anything to fear?

The folks in Chicago’s Jewish community probably have a pretty clear answer on this.  My hope is that the latest attempt on the lives of Americans, on American soil, leaves the ironic hipsters at this weekend’s rally, and their pied pipers, as confused as the two kids at Homerpalooza.  Maybe Americans are not so crazy and irrational to think that we have things to be fearful of.

Recent Posts by Henry Clay



25 Comments so far ↓

  • Oldskool

    .During the Bush administration the hipster left represented by Stewart and Colbert came to think that Americans were being manipulated by politicians who stoked fear of Islamic terrorism for GOP electoral gains.No kidding. You think the conveniently timed terror alerts had anything to do with it? How about being mislead into an unecessary war? Yep. So it looks like they’re the ones grounded in reality, as opposed to your crowd.

  • ktward

    Clay.

    If you had actually watched the Rally For Sanity, your commentary above would seem absurdly dense even to yourself.

    Stewart broke down the intentions of the rally, which he maintained was not simply about poking fun.

    “This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith, or people of activism, or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument, or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times,” Stewart declared, to the roar of thousands of attendees swarming the site.

    He went on to examine the role of the press in exacerbating conflict among Americans.

    “The country’s 24-hour, political pundit, perpetual, panic conflict-inator did not cause our problems. But its existence makes solving them that much harder,” he said. “If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.”

    Stewart cautioned listeners about buying into propaganda that may obscure the real issues citizens should be tackling.

    “Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez, is an insult, not only to those people, but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate, just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.”

    So, Mr. Clay.
    When you’re ready to equally address the legitimate threat that we face from terrorist acts of any color — which includes our homegrown non-Muslim variety who pose an equal threat to our safety as do violent Muslin radicals — then I’ll know you’re serious about the subject.

    Based on the yak above, you’re only serious about partisan spin.

  • JonF

    But the fact these guys had to ship their bomb in from parts distant argues that they don’t really have a network on the ground here in America, which is reason for optimism, not fear.

  • Don Draper

    I smell bigotry.

    We need to determine right away if racial or religious profiling played a role in foiling this plot.

    We should not assume Yemen was the true point of origin.

    Racist, right-wing Neo Nazi Christian terrorists from Red State America probably sent the materials through Yemen to throw everyone off their trail.

    Extreme Christians are just as much of a threat to our country as extreme Muslims.

  • fanghoul

    I agree with Henry Clay! We should all be deeply fearful of being the targets of failed terrorist attacks. Some of that failure might wipe off on us!

  • sdspringy

    Maybe someone could provide an example of “Extreme Christians” bombing Americans. And before you all throw McVeigh out there, he was not a “Christian”. We have had as many admitted Lefties killing people as Christians. However Muslims are a threat, implementation of Shia Law is even making Bill Mahr nervous.

    And if you’re a Lefty, Obama’s complete buyoff of the Bush strategy concerning the Iraq/Afghan wars, Gitmo and wiretapping should make you nervous. A massive increase in Predator strikes, across boundaries of our supposed Allies. Not much “Change” in this regard, certainly not what was promised.

    Even with Obama’s bowing, apologizing, empty threats to Iran, limp foreign policy, we are still hated enough to drive Muslims in this country to kill us. And now we learn that the vaulted explosive detection equipment does not work as promoted, those bombs were also on passenger planes, not just cargo planes.

    And on top of all that, you have a “white Democrat” asking a “black Senate candidate” to quit the race to allow a “white Senate candidate” the chance to win. Not bigotry, not racist, as a “Lefty” you really should start being nervous about your “Party”.

  • MurrayAbraham

    Neither Stewart nor Colbert have ever said Al-Quaida and its ilk aren’t a threat.

    Those bombs were not hidden under the traditional garb of some Muslim airplane passenger, nor were they made in the basement of an American Islamic center.

    In other words, you lost a good opportunity to praise the international cooperation of secret services and police forces that lead to the interception of these bombs and reiterate what GW Bush said after 9/11.

  • baw1064

    Maybe someone could provide an example of “Extreme Christians” bombing Americans.

    Eric Rudolf

  • balconesfault

    In other words, you lost a good opportunity to praise the international cooperation of secret services and police forces that lead to the interception of these bombs and reiterate what GW Bush said after 9/11.

    Amen. Although as they said on SNL last night – what’s the chance that someone at a Jewish Community Center in Chicago opens up a strange package mailed from Yemen?

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    Stewart and Colbert believe Americans irrationally fear Islamic terrorism.

    You are lying.

    At the rally yesterday, they explicitly noted that fear of terrorism, and of Osama bin Laden, is rational. Fearing Muslims is irrational– unless you think that, in light of the actions of Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Adolph Hitler, we should fear white people, or people from Christendom.

    Maybe someone could provide an example of “Extreme Christians” bombing Americans.

    See here for a small, incomplete listing of Christian terrorism in the US: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence_in_the_United_States#United_States

    This doesn’t mean that we should fear Christians, or that Christianity intrinsically tends toward terrorism (or genocide, or imperialism, or mass chattel slavery, or anything else bad that has been associated with some who profess to be Christian). It just helps us recognize intellectually that “terrorism= Islam” is most incorrect.

  • baw1064

    sdspringy’s post lost me at the first sentence, when I could instantly come up with Eric Rudolf’s name — he was a member of the Christian Identity movement. But there’s a lot more stuff here:

    Muslims are a threat, implementation of Shia Law is even making Bill Mahr nervous.

    I assume you mean Sharia Law. Heck, implementation of Shia Law would make Osama bin Laden nervous–he’s a member of a rival sect.

    And if you’re a Lefty, Obama’s complete buyoff of the Bush strategy concerning the Iraq/Afghan wars, Gitmo and wiretapping should make you nervous. A massive increase in Predator strikes, across boundaries of our supposed Allies. Not much “Change” in this regard, certainly not what was promised.

    I voted for him, and I support these policies. I don’t consider myself a “lefty” and have never been a registered member of any political party.

    limp foreign policy

    Wait, you just called Obama to task for ramping up the number of Predator strikes…you can either have your cake, or eat it, but not both.

    …we are still hated enough to drive Muslims in this country to kill us.

    I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future no matter who is President. If you think it could, please state your reasons.

    And now we learn that the vaulted explosive detection equipment does not work as promoted, those bombs were also on passenger planes, not just cargo planes.

    The flight in question was from Yemen to Dubai. Is it our responsibility to buy high end detection equipment for every country in the world?

    And on top of all that, you have a “white Democrat” asking a “black Senate candidate” to quit the race to allow a “white Senate candidate” the chance to win. Not bigotry, not racist, as a “Lefty” you really should start being nervous about your “Party”.

    Considering that Meeks hasn’t dropped out of the race and denies that any such conversation ever took place, and that Clinton appeared at a rally for Meeks, I’m extremely skeptical unless you provide some firsthand evidence in support of this rumor.

  • easton

    comes news of a near miss attempt…nitpick time, it is near hit, not near miss, and it wasn’t even close to being a near hit as it seems pretty obvious intelligence (whose exactly I don’t know) was on to this from the start.

    baw1064, knockout rebuttal, I expect to hear nothing but cricket sounds from his corner, just one thing to add. Republicans pushed Murkowski to drop out, is that somehow sexist? Of course not, if McAdams somehow pulls it off and wins Republicans would have been right to try to push Murkowski to drop out. If Murkowski wins, then her bet would have paid off but it is a risky one.

  • Don Draper

    Elvis Elvisberg: This doesn’t mean that we should fear Christians, or that Christianity intrinsically tends toward terrorism (or genocide, or imperialism, or mass chattel slavery, or anything else bad that has been associated with some who profess to be Christian). It just helps us recognize intellectually that “terrorism= Islam” is most incorrect.

    This argument is incoherent.

    There is no worldwide movement of millions of Christians willing to use Eric Robert Rudolph’s methods. There aren’t millions of Christians in the world willing to riot and kill over someone drawing a cartoon. There aren’t millions of Christians who at the slightest provocation might start supporting Eric Robert Rudolph and his methods because an Imam burned a stack of Bibles.

    Practices such as slavery, genocide, and imperialism have been practiced by all groups, everywhere, because doing those things until recently have been part of the human condition.

    Out of all the groups on the globe, however, Muslims are the only one with a huge subset of believers willing to kill for irrational reasons like a cartoon they perceive as offensive. Of course Muslims are the most dangerous group.

  • easton

    one other comment: The folks in Chicago’s Jewish community probably have a pretty clear answer on this.

    I tend to believe that these folks are far, far more worried about Iran getting the bomb and nuking Israel than they are by this piffling little threat. Grow a pair Clay. I get so tired of Republican pissing in their pants at every damn thing, oh a Muslim looking man is on the plane, lets all stare at him in fear and loathing. I really don’t know how or why the Republicans turned into the party of abject cowardice.

    There is a drug war going on in Mexico, almost daily parties get shot up and people die, often because the wrong place was targeted, yet Mexicans still go on having their parties and I, an American expat, keep on going to them even though my risk of getting killed is on an order of magnitude so many times greater than my getting a package from Al Qaeda in my American home.
    I don’t have to live in Mexico, but the beaches and my work is simply worth it. I have one life I am not going to spend it cowering under my bed watching the Simpsons.

    And no, I am not claiming to be “brave”, but it is a sad state to see not being a chickenshit constitutes bravery for the likes of way too many Republicans.

  • sdspringy

    Rather odd statement to say you support the very policies Obama voted against. Obama voted against the surge in Iraq, campaigned against the Bush wiretapping policies even though he now uses them, and also campaigned against Predator drone strikes.

    And you like Gitmo or you want it closed??

    Predator drone strikes usually do not constitute a foreign policy.

    And the big Egyptian apology speech was to supposed to eliminate the Muslim hate and reconcile everyone.
    The Left spread the line that Americans were the cause of the Muslim hate, Obama was the cure. Obviously only the NYTs and Easton believed the overly ambitious claims.

    All passengers, baggage, and cargo originating in a foreign country get rescanned, rescreened, before boarding an American plane. The last failed bomber which originated in Amsterdam was supposed to highlight and shine the light on the failed policy and allow for a fix. Apparently that’s not happening.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/clinton-to-cnn-i-spoke-with-meek-twice/

    And yes by any definition this really sucks for Black Dems

  • baw1064

    And you like Gitmo or you want it closed??

    No and no. It was a bad idea, but once it was enacted, we’re probably stuck with it.

    All passengers, baggage, and cargo originating in a foreign country get rescanned, rescreened, before boarding an American plane. The last failed bomber which originated in Amsterdam was supposed to highlight and shine the light on the failed policy and allow for a fix. Apparently that’s not happening.

    Although there seem to be conflicting stories, it appears that only the leg from Yemen to UAE was on a passenger plane. The remainder was (or would have been) on a cargo plane. I think one of the issues raised since yesterday is that cargo planes headed for the U.S. aren’t given the same level of scrutiny as cargo on passenger planes. But at some point, giving excessive security procedures for every package coming into the country on a plane (or more significantly, a ship) will wreck our economy. At that point the terrorists will have won. Remember Al Qaeda’s strategy has always been not to defeat the U.S. militarily, but rather to do so much damage to the economy that we will be forced to withdraw from the Middle East for fiscal reasons.

    you have a “white Democrat” asking a “black Senate candidate” to quit the race to allow a “white Senate candidate” the chance to win.

    To quote Bill Clinton’s statement, “I didn’t ask Kendrick to leave the race, nor did Kendrick say that he would. I told him that how he proceeds was his decision to make and that I would support him regardless.”

    To be sure, Clinton has a history of less than complete honesty. But if he and Meeks both say that Clinton did not ask Meeks to leave the race, I think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt, absent any evidence to the contrary.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    There is no worldwide movement of millions of Christians willing to use Eric Robert Rudolph’s methods.

    Nor is there a worldwide movement of millions of Muslims willing to use Osama bin Laden’s methods. See this chart: http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=52269

    by any definition this really sucks for Black Dems

    No it doesn’t. There’s no evidence whatsoever that he’s experiencing differential treatment.

  • Don Draper

    @Elvis

    Even the person who prepared that diagram admitted the diagram is not scientific.

    The organization below estimates the number of radical Muslims to be roughly 7% of the Muslim world which computes to about 80,000,000 people.

    Airports all over the world aren’t heavily guarded because of extreme Christians.

    In order to investigate characteristics that distinguish Muslim world residents who are potentially prone to extremist views, we divided respondents from the region into two groups. Classified as political radicals were those who met the following criteria: 1) they felt the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were “completely justified”, and 2) they indicate that they have an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” opinion of the United States. Those who did not say the attacks were completely justified were termed moderates. The “radical” group represents about 7% of the total population across the 10 countries included in the study.

    http://www.muslimwestfacts.com/mwf/105658/Battle-Hearts-Minds-Moderate-vs-Extremist-Views.aspx

  • easton

    There is no worldwide movement of millions of Christians willing to use Eric Robert Rudolph’s methods.

    No, but the Serbian Orthodox Christians were certainly happy to kill Bosnian Muslims and Croatian Catholics. And, of course, we had until very recently the bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

    Look, there are American soldiers on Arabian soil, I don’t imagine there would be many Catholics happy if Arabian Muslims were on Vatican soil.

    Sadly, because of our utter dependence on Saudi oil we have to keep troops there, ignorant Muslims view this as exploiting and occupying their holy lands. Which, um…we are, but for their benefit as much as ours.

    And springy, show me where I believed that Obama making the speech in Cairo would lead to a golden age of Muslim-Christian rapproachment.

    You can’t because I never did. I am an ardent supporter of Israel, I view Hamas as ignorant scum and thugs. I would love for us to take out all the leadership of Hezbollah and Hamas. I support the drone strikes in Pakistan and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I have never once said that America was the cause of Muslim hate. There is a cancer in the middle east, a cancer that used to infect the Chinese (less so now). It is a superiority/inferiority complex. They (not all but enough) viewed the glories of their history as being representative of who they really are and blame outsiders for their failures today.

    The Chinese were the same way until Post Mao they looked around, saw just how backward and ignorant they were and said: blaming America ain’t going to get us fed. We have to get our shit together.

    Don’t freaking put words in my mouth, otherwise I will shove them back down your throat.

  • easton

    Draper: “Airports all over the world aren’t heavily guarded because of extreme Christians.”

    I went to University in Salzburg in the 80′s and travelled all over the continent. Airports were heavily guarded then as now, back then the threat was from the Reds, like the Baader Meinhof gang, and those likes. I was once actually arrested for taking a picture of a prison in Venice (not arrested, just that I had the film confiscated). There were no Muslim terrorists there then.

    Threats have always been with us and will always be with us. Don’t be so monomaniacal. For all we know the next major terrorist act can be financed and supported by the North Koreans using some backward third world patsy to pull it off.

  • balconesfault

    Springy: And the big Egyptian apology speech was to supposed to eliminate the Muslim hate and reconcile everyone.

    That’s stupid.

    There are extremists who will never be won over – and Obama is smart enough to be aware of that, even if you want to set a wholly ludicrous metric of him completely eliminating fundamentalist lunacy.

    What he did say in Cairo wasn’t speaking to the radical religious fundamentalists – it was speaking to the rest of the Muslim population:

    And despite the costs involved, America’s commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths — but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as — it is as if he has killed all mankind. (Applause.) And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. (Applause.) The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism — it is an important part of promoting peace.

  • Raskolnik

    Re: Don Draper, “Extreme Christians are just as much of a threat to our country as extreme Muslims.”

    Actually, extreme Christians are much more of a threat [to the welfare of the United States] than extreme Muslims.

    Disclaimer: I am a baptized and confirmed Christian and am in no way implying that I think Christianity or Christians are “the problem.”

    But before 9/11, despite a lot of overheated rhetoric, Islamist violence against Americans was negligible, barely a rounding error compared to (e.g.) the deaths caused by inner-city violence, obesity, heart disease, &c. And since 9/11, even counting [American] combat casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq among the “victims of Islamist violence,” you’re still several million people short of a genuine crisis, something on the scale of the genocide in Rwanda and Sudan or the famines (and suicides) in rural India or any of the other real actual genuine crises that we face as a world right now. “Islamofascism” has yet to have any real effect beyond provoking some extremely short-sighted and ill-advised policy decisions, if you are able or willing to look past the shocking and horrific wake of terrorist attacks. Smoking kills orders of magnitudes more people than terrorists ever will, but you don’t see the CEO of Phillip Morris lined up against the wall at Guantanamo Bay.

    The issue is not that violent radical Islamism is happy or okay or something we don’t need to take seriously or examine the roots of as a global society; it is, rather, that most Americans are not and probably never will be Muslim, and thus blaming [the world's?] Muslim population for the faults of and problems and challenges faced by American society is borderline-racist and more than a little bit naive.

    What have violent radical Islamists done, in absolute and concrete terms, to harm America or American interests at home and abroad? Compare that to what the supposed “Christians” in power have accomplished: spending trillions (and counting) on a horrific war machine that has more than double the rest of the world’s military power combined, destroying America’s credibility and treasury in the process, while simultaneously dismantling the basic glue of society, the commitment to justice and love for one’s neighbor which is, after all, that to which Christ has beckoned us all.

    It is shameful to be a Christian these days, shameful because people calling themselves “Christian” and using that label as a political megaphone have “set up shop in the temple” and are using their privileged position to advance an every-man-for-himself, amoral “Capitalist” (really corporate-socialist, but we are obligated by those in power to parrot the utterly meaningless word “Capitalist”) agenda.

    When our leaders dismantle the corporate welfare structure that keeps companies like Halliburton and Raytheon and Xe Services LLC (formerly Blackwater) employed at the expense of world peace and the American national budget; when they demonstrate a genuine commitment to the poor and disenfranchised, as Jesus did; when they work tirelessly for the welfare of all God’s creatures, which is the sacred vocation elucidated in the scriptures, *then* they will have earned the right to call themselves “Christian” on national television. Not before.

  • Non-Contributor

    See, religion sucks.

  • busboy33

    “Stewart and Colbert believe Americans irrationally fear Islamic terrorism. After this week’s cargo bomb plot maybe Americans aren’t so crazy after all.”

    No, you idiot . . . they think its irrational to fear MUSLIMS. Fearing terrorists is a pretty smart thing to do. As an additional suggestion, you ought to be scared of murderers, rapists, drunk drivers, and whackjobs going postal. The fear, however, shouldn’t manifest in every single person you see.

    Well, every single person that isn’t . . . y’know . . . white.

    My god, you’re not really this ignorant, are you Mr. Clay? I assume this is just deliberate pandering to your base . . . but you are so incredibly sloppy at it that I’m starting to assume you honestly can’t understand the very clear sentences they have spoken. Feel free to have your own opinions, but try to stick to the same facts as the rest of reality, huh?

  • medinnus

    Ask the Irish if there are Christian extremists willing to commit acts of terror. In the north or the south, makes no difference whether the bullet or bomb is Orange or Green.

    And before you say “Those are political battles, not founded in religion” you might care to do some reading on studies of what motivates suicide bombers against America; mostly its armies of occupation in Islamic countries, and an unqualified support for Israel. The whole “They hate us because of our freedom” culture wars bit is the smallest part, but the easiest for Right-Wing propagandists to use to stoke fear (and of course, the Islamists reciprocate, as they use those statements to show how much America hates Muslims – you don’t think that whole Koran-burning thing wasn’t a recruitment commercial made to order? Think again…).