Some thoughts on vigilance

Why we shouldn’t “get over” the threat of terrorism.

Yesterday, I wrote about an alleged threat from Al Qa’ida to deal a “fatal blow” to America’s “media serpent.”
Some intelligent people wrote in and hoped that America would “get over the specter of terrorist threats.” I know they don’t mean that literally, but I think it’s important to remind people that regardless of how one feels about the Bush administration, there are are lot of determined people around the world trying to kill large numbers of Americans. There’s no way around that fact. Now, you can say the Bush Administration is dealing with terrorism all wrong (and I would agree with that statement, 150%.) You can also make a good argument that he’s making the situation worse. But that shouldn’t take away the need to be at least a little paranoid. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you.
Yes, Al Qa’ida might blow up a hundred buildings, but never, ever forget that people — a large number of them, probably — would die. That doesn’t give the Bush Administration a blank check, of course, but don’t lose sight of some basic realities. Also, from a political standpoint, by “getting over” the threat of terrorism and saying Bush is the greater danger, when something horrible does happen (and I’m convinced something will, possibly soon,) we Bush opponents open ourselves to being soft on terrorism and play right into the White House’s hands.
Please don’t let opposition to Bush blind you to the fact that hundreds, thousands or more Americans might die horribly in a terrorist attack. Only by acknowledging the threat of Osama bin Laden and his goons, maintaining a heightened state of vigilance and continuing to oppose Bush’s policies will American be made a better and safer place.