Hi. I come from an alien place, and I bring you greetings…
So, I was going to write about a completely different topic, today – and I’m sorry this is so late. I’m trying very hard not to get con crud. I was allergic to SOMEHING in TN and I’ve been resting and taking allergy meds (which make me sleepy, anyway) to avoid getting the con crud, because I have books to write, move to organize, etc, etc.
Anyway, a discussion in the comments of yesterday’s post about where terrorists would hit/might be planning to hit (they ARE planning to hit, rest assured. I mean, we’re in retreat mode, at least through their eyes, and all they know of history tell them to hit now. Whether against us or one of our holdings abroad, I don’t know. However, if they want to make an impact and be on American TV (and of course they do, it’s cred) they want to hit on our soil. Nothing else gets any coverage.) made me do this post, because my peculiar history gives me insight into what is what.
First, let’s rank possible threats: We might get hit by terrorists from abroad; homegrown terrorists (not saying they won’t be muslim, just that they will be either immigrants or first or second generation Americans); and by foreign countries.
The possibility of our being hit by a foreign country is, as of yet, low. I mean, we still have armed forces and we have a nuclear arsenal. Our president might view the world through the underpants he wears on his head, but foreign countries know if they hit us we might suddenly have a new president. Um… make that a probably. Almost certainly. Even diplomatic services from the other side seem to have some odd and funny ideas about America and how we work. You see, they believe our fiction. (And more on that later.) Hence the cartoon Russian critter (not really a cartoon, but he sounded like one) who made a map about how the US would break up. Could the US break up? Sure. It’s doubtful because our divisions aren’t geographic, though. But he was taking our fiction and our humor, and projecting his own experience in the USSR, a “country” made up of a bunch of pieces, and then thinking we were just like that. Also, the divisions he came up with were roll on the floor funny for anyone who lives here, but not for people who only know us through books and movies. In terms of foreign countries “getting” us, I’d rank Russia and China very low. No matter how much you study something, you’re going to have to filter it through your very earliest impressions. And the very earliest impressions of Russians and Chinese my age and older – aka, those in control – are of anti-capitalist propaganda. They are as much in touch with reality as our own elites who by and large studied the same propaganda, slightly spun. I’ll now sit back and look at your horrified faces. So, foreign attack isn’t exactly out of the question. The chances are just low.
If they attack us, though, they’ll take out “big targets” that will cripple either our economy or our military. Remember the nations most likely to attack us are “ex” communist countries. Communism in its tertiary state is a form of bureaucratic feudalism and profoundly conservative and hidebound. What I’m trying to tell you is that there’s no telling how up to date their versions of our important economic and military targets are. It could very well be I’ll be radioactive dust because they either didn’t hear of the closing of Cheyenne Mountain or DON’T BELIEVE IT.
Most likely targets of course, other than various military installations (and I’d think HUGE because they too think power flows from the top) will be DC (almost for sure) NYC, Los Angeles. (I tell you it will be heck to attach the thank you note to the end of the missile that repays them for taking out DC.)
The possibility of our being hit by homegrown terrorists allied with foreign powers – whether our geopolitical enemies or the religion that has declared us the Great Satan – is high, of course. Not too high. There is a certain seduction effect in our culture, and only the very fanatic or very crazy will buck the desire to become one of us, to blow us up instead.
However, as we’ve seen it happens, and our immigration and naturalization services can be counted on to let through the very fanatic and the very crazy, of course.
Frankly that possibility has just gone up exponentially with the invasion going on on our southern border, mostly by non Mexican nationals.
Just because you’re under eighteen it doesn’t mean you’re not crazy or a fanatic. On the contrary. Bradbury wasn’t totally wrong when he said in Fahrenheit 451 “I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two often happen together.” (I think that’s exact, but I’m quoting from the memory of a Portuguese translation, because the one you first read is forever the “real” one.)
Because of lack of experience and – older son who studies these things would say – an almost but not quite adult brain (the adult comes in between 21 and 23 usually. Can be as late as 35) in which some parts might be out of kilter with others (over or under developed) teenagers are all, by definition, a little nuts. Which makes it easier to engage in fanatical or violent acts. There is a reason that the crime rate goes up and down in concert with the percentage of teens in the general population. (Which means letting a bunch of them in wholesale is a really bad idea. No, seriously. The upside is that under 18 they’re more likely to acculturate and become of us. The downside is that under the tutelage of the social services network, what they’ll acculturate to is not the best of cultures, nor the one designed to make you successful in America. You wanted a larger underclass, right?)
With immigrants the question is “How far did they acculturate?” Look, as someone who came in wanting to be American, I’d acquired the speech patterns, and could pass long before I was American in my head. This was without any conflicting loyalties (I’d given up on Portugal LONG before) and with a wish to belong. The mind sets of everywhere else and the US are just too different, and the process takes time.
If the terrorist is a first generation immigrant who hasn’t fully integrated, he’s for all intents and purposes like the foreign terrorists, for which see below. If he’s halfway integrated, you might get a crazy hodgepodge. He might very well, as Pam Uphoff suggested, strike Disney World. Btw, that’s the only occasion I see that happening, unless one of the second or third generation “Americans” do it and one of the Disney installations are local to them. For why, see below.
If they’re second or third generation Americans, the hit will be local. They think, yes, this will impress foreigners. Does it? Meh. The world trade center? Known all over the world, shown in the opening of shows like “Friends”. The Boston Marathon? Not only not known abroad, but its size will be underestimated to some local-to-them event. Only kids who grew up in America would think this would make them heroes to the Islamic world.
So, local terrorists, local “big” targets. For instance, I can see a local to me Islamic (or, frankly, Chinese or other except they’re less with the terror) terrorists bombing the Pikes Peak train. To which the rest of the world would say “uh?”
I’ve been EXPECTING attacks like that. That we’ve only had one is rather astonishing.
They might also go after airports, simply because that stops traffic. The fact they haven’t done so (except for the guy who lit his own d*ck on fire. And that was the UK, right?) en masse means we’re not dealing with strategists but with show-offs, different thing, and it also applies to our last group
Foreign terrorists, even those who’ve been living here for a couple of years, but who came here on purpose to attack us. The Al Quaeda attacks on 9/11 fall under this heading.
Some of you were coming up with scary scenarios for widespread terror in the comments. I’m not going to tell you to stop it, because it doesn’t matter. Yes, sure, bombing every mall in medium size cities would do it.
But guys, it doesn’t fit the prime impulse that causes them to attack.
These aren’t strategists. They’re show offs. They don’t want to take us down (for one, like the dog with the car, what would they do after?) or at least not really, (though they’d love us to be subjugated to them which in the case of Islam, their religion promises them.) Most of them don’t want to go back to living in the middle ages and they know the future comes from America. What they want is to be big man on the terrorist campus. They want to get followers. If you think of them as the dingy tele-evangelists who are less interested in serving G-d or saving people than in padding their bank accounts, you’ll see what I mean. Being a big man on campus for Islamic terrorists particularly (though some Russian fanatics, etc. might come close) means getting money to wage war on the US.
Since Beslan happened I’ve had nightmares of 20 US Beslans simultaneously. (And if that happens, they will never know what hits them. The US views its children as sacred, even as we neglect them.) Then I started wondering why they hadn’t happened.
Frankly, anyone of us can come up with a dozen national soft spots off the top of our heads, targets that would sow REAL terror amid the masses.
But that’s not what they want. Terror sure. If America surrenders, great. But what they want is visibility.
So what’s visible to the rest of the world about America?
New York City, Los Angeles. MAYBE Chicago. After that? Whatever has been in the news lately. Since we had the show set in the White House and making it seem much more powerful than it should be, probably DC. (And then we have to deliver individual thank yous personally, engraved on the bullets.)
Others? I don’t know what has been syndicated lately that makes the town it’s set in seem big and important. I’d guess all of the CSIs, but since I don’t watch TV you probably know better than I.
Look, I say America is aspergers and believes its own documents. For the rest of the world this is worse. THEY BELIEVE OUR ENTERTAINMENT.
Things I believed when I came here as an exchange student: the US was somewhere between a totalitarian regime and Europe. Had to be, because otherwise how could it stand up to the USSR in the cold war? So, communications must all be controlled. The spying must be even more intensive than what the NSA is doing right now. And there must be a lot of control going on behind the scenes.
Things my family believes and thinks I’m crazy when I tell them they aren’t true: Anything with American in it is owned in part by the government. If it’s called National, something is then national, because if it weren’t, why would they be allowed to be called that. Everything that says “First” was the first, otherwise why would they be allowed to call themselves that?
Other things my family believes: pretty much every trope of our entertainment. Like, for instance, corporations have assassins, and there are bizarre convoluted conspiracies at every corner.
Also, the US is still mired in racism/sexism circa FICTIONAL 1950s. Because that’s what they read. This is why they congratulate themselves on being oh, so much better than us on those fronts. They’re not. But they’re better than fictional US in the 1950s.
Also, working people in the US are near starvation; crime is so rampant that bombing, say, a local school wouldn’t make a difference, since that’s our way of saying “how do you do?” and we live in a sort of cross between mad max and the wild wild west.
All rich and powerful people are Republican and conspire to keep the little people down.
They KNOW this – we’ve talked about entertainment creating false memories – because they LIVED it in some show. You can’t talk them out of it.
I’ve talked to friends who visit the US not once but many times – like once a summer when they can afford it – and they can tell you how the scales fell from their eyes by increments and how they can’t tell anyone back home because no one believes them. And how the REAL US has nothing to do with the fictional one.
Which brings us back to the terrorists: Depending on what has been licensed on their TVs – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago (maybe), Dallas (maybe) DC (probably.) And the targets hit would be things like the Statue of Liberty or the Hollywood SIGN.
Not STRATEGISTS. Show offs. Think that way and you’ll anticipate all foreign terrorist attacks.
If they wanted to cripple us or kill us, there would already have been a million hits. We’re not that well defended. Fortunately for us, they just want to count coup.
Unfortunately for us, few Americans understand that, and probably none in our planning departments.
So, now you know. I’ll be glad to answer questions in comments.