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America, Americans and Terrorism

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The following is a quote of unexpected lucidity and candor, (particularly since it is attributed to a high level U. S. Counterterrorism official regarding al Qaida and the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt) who says, "The lesson al Qaida likely took was that jeez, the damn bomb didn't go off and the Americans are still going out of their minds." [1]

To put it another way, Osama bin Laden, al Qaida and every other fundamentalist Jihadi fanatics must be rolling in the aisles at the forthrightness of an American official openly stating the psyche of American's is they're scared witless even over a failed terrorist attack and overreact to any terrorism (actual or foiled) committed on American soil.

All over the world, in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza strip, Lebanon, Israel, Europe, particularly Britain, Spain, N. Ireland, and Asia including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, (to name some of the more prominent areas of the world where terrorism has occurred), no other peoples (except Americans) react with unmitigated fear over terrorism (or the potential for it) in their midst.

No country's peoples want terrorism. Most people worldwide want security and a peaceful existence (among their many desires) without the scourge of terrorism.

London, England has seen many terrorist acts occurring within the city but Londoners go about their business without fear and dread that they may be the next victim of some act of terrorism. Their way of life isn't threatened by terrorists. They expect the authorities and police to go about their business apprehend the terrorist perpetrators and bring them to account within their normal criminal justice system. They are not propagandized into overreacting to terrorist acts or the threat of them.

What is in the makeup of Londoners (or the entire British population for that matter) that exhibits that typical "stiff upper lip" to terrorism whereas Americans want to go to war over acts of terrorism and react with finger pointing accusations and who is to blame indignation when an act (such as the Christmas Day "underwear" attacker) is foiled and nobody is hurt (save for the failed attacker being burned in his attempt)?

Statistically, in America, there is a far greater chance of being struck by lightning than it is to be a victim of an act of terror. Over 50,000 Americans are killed in highway fatalities each year, but there is no public outcry over this terrible toll.

Is our news media and the 24/7 news cycle contributing to Americans over reactive irrational fear of terrorism? Is it the fear mongering Republicans, who so easily embraced Bush's "war on terrorism", to blame for Americans' outsized fear of terrorism, relative to the number of terrorism events actually occurring in fact?

Is it American "exceptionalism", their sense of "entitlement" that somehow we believe "we're Americans, we have peace and tranquility and no "stinking" terrorist has a right to attack us and get away with it. We'll go to war, invade and hunt them down; they can't do this to us?"

Well, whatever it is in the American psyche, it seems markedly different than other peoples in the world (vis- a- vis acts of terrorism).

What is particularly remarkable (astounding?) is that most Americans are unable to see where we, with our clandestine overthrows and coups (Iran in 1953), our military bases in Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia [up to 7 years ago], Kuwait, Lebanon in the 1980's, the Persian Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain), our support of repressive dictatorships in Muslim countries (Egypt, Pakistan (under Musharof and Zia before him), our preemptive invasions and occupations of Muslim countries (Afghanistan and Iraq) and lastly our defense and unequivocal support of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, (which in itself has contributed to much of the modern day terrorism arrayed against us).

The sad fact is America is exacerbating the terrorism and terrorist menace loosely allied to fight against us. Add in our use of predator drones that kill innocents in Pakistan and Afghanistan and there is little doubt our actions contribute to the expansion of terrorism rather than its dissipation.

Our actions, our policies, our preemptive wars and occupations are only making things worse, especially the expansion of terrorism in the world.

[1] "Al Qaida's shifting tactics a challenge for U.S." by Greg Miller," The Baltimore Sun", March 19, 2010.

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