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9/11′s Secret Cost

The goal of terrorism is to exploit emotion and fear and to cause overreaction. So we don’t do emotional response to terrorism around here. Indeed, some of what we’ve seen in 9/11 commemorations is not just emotional, but excessively maudlin. Instead of indulging emotion, let’s examine a way that the 9/11 attacks have effected our [...]

Do We Really Want to Go Back Over This?

H.R. 2623 would establish a National Commission to Review the National Response Since the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

Osama bin Laden is Dead!

What delightful news! Osama bin Laden is dead. President Obama called him “Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol” in announcing that a team of U.S. operatives had killed bin Laden and taken custody of his body in a firefight at a compound in Abbottabad inside the Pakistan interior. Coming nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks, [...]

The Times Square Bombing and the Budget: Terrorists Are Winning

Terrorists are too weak to mount military attacks on countries like the United States, so they mount strategic attacks that look like military attacks. The main goal isn’t to kill—though that helps. It’s to draw our society off its game, to trip us up, and to cause us to hurt ourselves. Osama bin Laden said [...]

Surfin’ the News

When bills are introduced in Congress to capitalize on the latest news, I call those “wakeriders.” With little else going on in Congress—and plenty going on in the real world—Members of Congress are making their pitches for attention. Two new bills stand out. S. 3308 would suspend oil production activities in the outer Continental Shelf [...]

Pulling a Partisan Hit from Terrorism—But it Seems Fair

The Washington Examiner reports that Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) amended the Homeland Security appropriations act earlier this year to reduce spending on screening and explosive detection. The money went to firefighters, which the Examiner says are a “pet constituency of his.” One of the breakdowns in security that appears to have allowed a bombing attempt [...]

Countering Terrorism Isn’t Easy

This holiday week’s “attempted act of terrorism” on a U.S.-bound flight reveals the difficulty of getting counterterrorism right. Terrorists use the element of surprise—stuff we haven’t thought of, or timing and locations that we can’t defend—to pull off attacks that instill fear. We’ll learn what kind of explosive or incendiary material Nigerian traveler Abdul Farouk [...]

Would You Pay a Quarter to Stabilize Northern Uganda?

That’s the question posed by S. 1067, the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. The bill would foster development of a strategy to protect civilians and eliminate the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Christian militant group that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United [...]

Do We Want Terrorists In the Country or Out of It?

The Sunday morning political shows spent some time today on a bill that was introduced in the House last week. H.R. 2294 is called the Keep Terrorists Out of America Act – OK! OK! I’m for it! With a name like that . . . . And that’s why the bill has such a name, [...]

What Kind of Terrorism Does North Korea Sponsor?

S. 837 is a new bill introduced in the Senate to require that North Korea be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, among other things. But wait a sec. North Korea is and does a lot of bad things, but is sponsoring terrorism among them? Well, kinda, yes. My handy Web research reveals a [...]