Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rational Fears

I wish I had posted this a week ago, but I did mention it to one person so I have a "witness". Fear of terrorism is a rational thing. Today London's subway system was bombed by terrorists, killing 40 and injuring 300. It is yet another signal that terrorism is alive and well, and should be taken seriously.

I remember reading Democratic responses after George Bush's latest television speech. In the speech he incorrectly linked Iraq with September 11. The Democrats cried that Bush was using fear tactics to garner support. Well, of course the president will use the fear of terrorism for support, because it's a rational fear. Just as FDR would have been remiss if he would have waived off the Japanese threat after December 7, 1941.

Terrorism is a legitimate threat, and continues to be. It is not irrational to fear it. Some people board planes and claim they are not afraid of a terrorist hijacking it, and flying it into a building. But, I am not one of those people. I take my seat and I begin to wonder what I will do if the plane I am on is the one targeted to become a giant missile.

I joined the Air Force after 9/11 because I wanted to do something to keep my family safe. I remember watching what was happening in NYC and all I wanted to do was get my family in my sight again. I'd like to think that my contributions in some small way have helped avoid events in America, like the one that happened in London. But, of course, God only knows. Regardless, it is not the fear of terrorism that is the problem. It is how we solve the problem of terrorism.

The White House will point to the attacks in London and become ever-more staunch in their endeavor in Iraq. But maybe it's evidence that our endeavor is not working at all. Maybe our resources should be spent elsewhere. Either way, look for Bush and Blair to use this attack as a rallying point.

I'm no terrorism expert. I don't know how to change the average would-be terrorist to calm down and enjoy life. I suppose it's like it was when you were in high-school--highlighted in the movie "Bowling for Columbine". In high-school you have no reference, if life sucks you think it will suck forever. And so, bringing a gun to school starts to make some kind of sense. In the same sense I suppose, giving up your life for a greater cause makes sense when your own options seem so limited.

Some terrorists are well-educated, but most are just cannon fodder. They're recruited because they'll do exactly what they're told, with religious zeal. I suppose there's a flaw there in any type of single-minded fundamentalist, Christian or Muslim or Jewish or any other. I suppose you have to give those people more options so that they can't say "My goat herding job sucks, religious fanaticism sounds awfully good right about now." Somewhere at the creation of that explosion in London was a mind out of options.

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