I suppose I have some semblance of standing to address the latest terrorism scare since it was focused not only on my home city, but on a portion of it, Pioneer Courthouse Square, that I frequent on an almost daily basis. In that spirit, I offer these observations:
- It's not crazy to be driven to a rage by the profusion of street urchins who clog the square with their bootless cries for spare change, though targeting the Christmas Tree ceremony for this reason is the sort of mistake an out-of-towner would make because this ceremony is one of a handful of times when annoying goth-fashioned mendicants are crowded out of the square. I don't mean to say it would have been a good idea to bomb out the square; it would have been a heinous thing to do at any time, no matter the demographic stripe of the victims.
- Portland has a Somali community? And so does Corvallis? Who knew?
- Let's lip-synch the whining: where are the moderate Muslims to condemn this attack? They're right here. They're also right here:
- It's worth observing that this Somali immigrant managed -- almost, that is -- to attack us "here" even though he had plenty of targets to attack "over there." Moreover, note that he originally came to the FBI's attention (they say) because he contacted terrorist types located in Pakistan, who evidently found it possible to contemplate attacks on targets "here" even though they have plenty of targets "over there."
- It's also worthwhile and fair to notice that there is no ongoing US occupation of Somalia to inspire or instigate the malice underlying this attempted attack.
- I hope it doesn't mean that for future MAX rides, all routes of which converge on the square, we will not have to be frisked, groped, fondled, or imaged in striking anatomical detail.
I am glad no attack happened. I hope the deserved skepticism of the FBI will subside -- because their account turns out to be truthful, not because of successful PR push -- as ably expressed by Glenn Greenwald:
It may very well be that the FBI successfully and within legal limits arrested a dangerous criminal intent on carrying out a serious Terrorist plot that would have killed many innocent people, in which case they deserve praise. Court-approved surveillance and use of undercover agents to infiltrate terrorist plots are legitimate tactics when used in accordance with the law.The hope is that justice has been done and the truth served.
But it may also just as easily be the case that the FBI -- as they've done many times in the past -- found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a "Terrorist plot" which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI's own concoction.