Monday, January 15, 2007

SCARE US, WE LOVE IT: It's an unofficial religion

Americans love to be scared by their leaders and experts. How else to explain the regular fountain of scary stories about what terrorists can do to us? Why, just last night on 60 Minutes, George W. Bush said to the host that terrorists wanted to kill the guy, me and you.

And on 24, Jack Bauer was tortured, instead of doing the torture, by the fiendish Abu Fayad, a terrorist who was waiting for delivery of a mysterious cardboard box, pulled out of a wall in a nice home somewhere in the San Fernando Valley by Ahmed, who is sore at us because the neighbors mispronounce his name.

You can bet that box doesn't contain a fruitcake! There will be something magical in it, something which can be put in a backpack and carried into downtown LA -- terrorists love LA -- where it will kill thousands just like that.

On a side note, Jack was back to torturing in a virtual eye-blink, though, stabbing a terrorist until he screamed. However, he was rusty and stopped early, convinced the guy had nothing to spill. So Alexander Siddig took over. Dr. Bashir from Star Trek -- Deep Space 9!

You know cancelled doctors must know how to torture and Al did not disappoint. Now known as the good bad guy, he tortured the fellow really great, cracking him in seconds. Then Al killed him.

Jack said to Al that he didn't know if he could do torture, anymore. And Al Dr. Bashir Assad looked at Jack, smiled a little and said, "It'll come back to you." (Alexander Siddig was also in Syriana, as a nationalist whom we offed with a Hellfire missile because he wanted good things for his country.)

Anyway, back to our regular beat, on scaring everybody.

Today, the British news press informed of the start of a trial of terrorists who had bungled attempted suicide bombings in London.

Their bombs fizzled because they were made from hydrogen peroxide and flour! Never mind you can't make anything explode with drugstore peroxide. DD is always astonished to find people who think drugstore peroxide is a deadly weapon. (Fine dusts, on the other hand, can be made to combust but for the sake of avoiding a long discussion on the explosive hazards of aluminum powder or working at Atlas Powder or New Jersey Zinc, DD will say flour isn't the best choice for your suicide bomb vest. The guy who blew himself up on 24 last night sure was no flour user, buddy boy!)

So we love to be scared and the threats are gamed and estimated daily as part of the business of the war on terror. Books and TV shows and seminars and training are everywhere, a lot of it nonsense, but what are you going to do?


Yes, that's exactly what DD will do. And you can read another installment, done for el Reg, today. Being scared as an unofficial religion has had bad consequences. The United States was scared into getting into the deadly mess in Iraq. And there are more deadly messes waiting to be scared into just around the corner.

The scare industry has made a hash of thoughtful debate and exposition on the nature of the enemies we face.

Take the thoughtfulness of terror drills, for example, which seriously attempt to argue that a WMD can be made from rosary peas. DD doesn't think even Jack Bauer and CTU would go for that.

Jack would torture the truth out of someone about it, first.

How about the notion that Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania, could be poisoned by ricin water during college football season? That's over 150,000 people.

Now you're messing with the Nittany Lions, DD's favorite college team, you so-called terror readiness experts. Grrrrr! Stop, clowns, stop!

Read why it's impossible, and about other scares of the month like the smoky bomb and getting worried while reading about Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome bioterror in "Fact, fiction or bioterror drill?" -- here.


Anonymous Dragomir said...

That "religion" is called jingoism, something which is usually found right next to fascism. We can see it in the Nazis, in the Zionists and many republicans...

3:35 AM  
Blogger George Smith said...


12:34 PM  

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