Sunday, August 13, 2006

A lesson

Grasshoppers and grasshopperettes, today we are going to learn the difference between, say a dog like Spot, and a Chicken Little. One morning last week, Spot woke up to hysterical reports by blonde mannequins to the effect that terrorists were apprehended in the act of hijacking a dozen airliners bound for the US from Britain – intending to blow them up mid-ocean. Alarming, of course.

Spot thought they must have been apprehended at the airport, just in the nick of time! We know now that certainly wasn’t the case, and some interesting facts have come to light in the days since the first reporting. But that hasn’t stopped the administration, the media, or the right-wing blogosphere from breathlessly reporting that we were a hair’s breadth from disaster. Silly persons.

First, the British police rolled this one up quite a while before anybody got near an airport with explosives. And the suspects had been under surveillance for a long time. And you know how the plot was discovered in the first place? A tip from a British Muslim. The most elemental police work, in other words. Not a lot of fancy signals intelligence, not the Gitmo treatment, not an extended bombing campaign somewhere.

And you have to chuckle a little about mothers tasting their own breast milk before getting on airplanes. The danger of liquid explosives has been known for a long time. Heck, Bob Baer even talks about them in his recent novel Blow the House Down. Heck, they have even been tried before. But suddenly, Evian, Diet Coke, and breast milk are hazardous substances. The US is gripped in this mad, paranoid psychosis that Spot calls the “bogey man” approach to current events. And the Bushies use it to every advantage. The events of last week did not make breast milk any more dangerous than it had been the week before, at least to anyone who knows about explosives and bombs, and Spot hopes the US government has hired at least a few of those before now.

On Coleen Rowley’s blog, there is a good recent post about this whole issue.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and time for Spot’s nap, so Gs and Gettes, you’ll have to dig for some of the facts in Spot’s post yourself. But they’re there; Spot recommends

So, what is the difference between Spot and Chicken Little? Spot is reflective; Chicken Little is reflexive.

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