Sully points us to a nice quote by Matt Steinglass:

In Israel, while terrorism itself is not an existential threat to the state or to the Israeli nation as it currently sees itself, it’s part of the overall conflict with the Palestinians, which is a potentially existential threat to both. For America, on the other hand, terrorism is not part of any conflict that could conceivably pose an existential threat to either the state or the nation. Ten years after the September 11th attacks, it’s overwhelmingly clear that the ideological and military threats posed by Islamic radicalism to the United States are trivial. So at the state level, our response to radical Islamic terrorism should have been less like the Israeli response; while at the private level, our response should have been more like theirs. We pretty much got it wrong on both counts.

  1. Lev says:

    I wonder what percentage of this is really about the thing itself, though. I think there’s just an awful lot of fear and panic floating around in the atmosphere now that drives the larger political dynamic, and terror is just one of many outlets. Probably things get better when the economy eventually picks up. I hope so, anyway.

    • Metavirus says:

      i doubt it. we’ve become an insecure, fear-obsessed people with little of the resiliency of generations past. i’d make another burning roman empire analogy but i’m hungry… :)

  2. As a nation we have always had a tendency to hate and fear anything different and threatening. Just read about the 30’s and 40’s and how people who were different were treated. . Was it a sane nation that locked up every one of Japanese descent on the west coast? They didn’t lock up the Germans or the Italians. They hated people who where of a different color, or religion, or even dressed differently. Look at how the political campaigns were run, and what they campaigned on. What depresses me is how little we have really changed over the years.

    • Metavirus says:

      fair points. but for all our racism and xenophobia, we were at least moving forward (slowly) toward, e.g., better wages and working conditions, civil rights protections, etc. i just worry that the forces of stagnation and decline have mounted up for so long -- leaving us in a position from which we move backward rather than forward (on things like wages, working conditions, air + water quality, etc). we were once a country that could do things. i fear those days are behind us.

      • My hope is that the GOP will piss off so many people by moving to the far right and dumping the costs of 2 wars onto the backs of the seniors that it will enrage enough people to put us back on track. We do not seem to be able to do things unless we are enraged. A few more scandals, a few more pay offs proved against them from the mega corporations and people might be able to see enough. Time will tell.

        • Metavirus says:

          let’s hope. but in the age of the power of the “low-information voter”, i really wonder if politicians will every really get correctly blamed for much ever again. cause seems to have been permanently severed from effect.

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