Writings and observations

We lost the war

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

The war of terror is over. The terrorists won.

Before reaching for your friendly keyboard to throw electronic “rocks” my way, consider the evidence. As a matter of fact, consider a lot of evidence. The latest: three guys massacred 16 people in France. Though they met their own violent end(s) hours later, there are now 10,000 French army troops walking the streets of that country with 10,000 automatic weapons at the ready. Three dead guys – 10,000 armed troops. Plus God knows how many local cops, security types and various private guns-for-hire.

One guy – just one – puts some explosive powder on his shoe in an aircraft and tries to light it afire. From that day forward, hundreds of millions of us have had to walk barefoot in airport lobbies. One guy – millions barefoot.

Another guy – just one – had what appeared to be an explosive in his shorts while being an airlines traveler. From that day forward, hundreds of millions of us have had to endure full body scans and/or body scans with hand wands. One guy – millions of us being body scanned.

I could fill a few dozen more paragraphs but you get the idea. When dealing with terrorists, they almost always win by definition because, from the moment of the violence, everyone else reacts. Or over-reacts. Someone breaks into your house – you buy a burglar alarm. Or a gun. Or both. You buy new and heavier locks. More of ‘em. Somebody bashes your parked car. You fix it and park it somewhere else. You react – doing things you otherwise wouldn’t have done. Your thinking changes.

First the violence – the terror, if you will. Then the response.

Many moons ago, I landed in Washington D.C. – unemployed. Thanks to the late Sen. Len Jordan, I was hired as a uniformed Capitol police officer. Now days, Capitol officers are professionals – as well-trained as the D.C. cops. Patronage employees are now limited to copiers and staple machines.

I used to wander the halls of the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings, first as a tourist and later as a reporter. You don’t do that today. Scanners, badges, armed police, body searches and more. All over the place. There are large cement planters everywhere on the Hill to block someone trying to ram a vehicle into a building. Acres of blacktop and more of just grass – cordoned off to keep open spaces on the Hill – open. Sharpshooters on the roofs of many federal buildings around the Capitol. Same with the White House and other locations.

Terrorists. Just a handful over the last 40-50 years. But billions spent in that same time reacting. Just in Washington D.C..

Checked your local court house or city hall carefully lately? Looked really close at those new cement planter boxes out front? The little security cameras in the trees or jutting out from the eaves? How about the new “No Parking” areas or the removal of parking spaces that used to be so handy? Noticed an armed officer or two in public buildings – or schools – in our little towns? How about all that new military hardware for local cops?

Terrorists. Winning. While we react.

Been listing to all the TV “talking heads” claiming to be terrorism “experts” lately? A lot of ‘em couldn’t find a terrorist in a barbershop. But there they are. “Experts.” A guy named Jeremy Schaill really nailed all the media the other day on CNN. Even CNN. Scahill has credentials in the terrorism business second-to-none. Authored several books. Has personally jumped back and forth across the front lines in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and other “hot spots” for years. He’s dealt with many terrorists face-to-face. Knows his business. And knows the phonies.

His take on these “experts?” “CNN, MSNBC and Fox are engaging in the terrorism network industrial complex having people on as paid analysts who’re largely frauds who’ve made a lot of money portraying themselves as terror ‘experts’ but have no actual on-the-ground experience.”

Even there, the terrorists have won. A few of them have scared the Hell out of hundreds and hundreds of millions of us around the world. And created a new cottage industry of frauds. The media reacts. We react.

We now live in a world where terrorists and their deadly acts are becoming part of our daily lives. New York City, Washington, D.C., Pocatello, Idaho, Colfax, Washington and Madras, Oregon, are the front lines. A local water supply – a key bridge across the Columbia River – a little courthouse in Curry County – a National Guard armory in Wenatchee. Your street. My street. Every street. Now a front line for terror. The war is no longer “over there.” It’s “right here.”

We have not yet begun to see the changes – the dramatic, life-altering changes – coming in our lives. So far, we’ve been reactive to terror and those who practice it. By definition and by specific acts, that’s how it’s always been. That will change. It must. What we don’t know is how.
And how much. Or what. Or when.

As I said, so far, they’re winning.

Share on Facebook