Michael Shermer of the Skeptic Magazine and Skeptics Society really did the country a service with their latest magazine. Titles such as “A War on Terror Baloney Detection Kit”, “A Skeptics Guide to the War on Terror”, and “Myths of Terrorism” kind of tell you where he and others are coming from.
Personally, I never bought off on the “GWOT” (The Global War on Terrorism.) It struck me as a lot of hooey. Moreover, I am far more inclined to believe people in the US government were behind the events of 9/11 than a handful of poorly trained jihadist pilots. But, I say these things as a person who has some skin in the game. I helped assemble the first manual on Anti-Terrorism operations in the 1980’s while working casual duty between stations in the US Army. Someplace there’s an achievement medal with my name on it gathering dust someplace that mentions terrorism from when I was serving on the Korean peninsula. And prior to leaving the military I was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s Terrorism Analyst. In that role I tracked the likes of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, Red Army Faction, Red Cells and several others.
Over the last couple decades I have become something of cynic. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, especially when I have occasion to catch mainstream television with all its thickly layered bullshit. One question that always seems to pop up for me when reading current events is “cui bono” or “to whose benefit.” Over the years, I have seen a number of beneficiaries of the GWOT and none of them are the citizens of this country. The only thing that continues to amaze me is what are so called leaders are able to get away with. They bungle from one grotesque mistake to another and all seems permissible under the banner of the war on terrorism. Imagine if after being attacked by the Japanese FDR and the Congress chose to go to war with Brazil . . . A pretty ludicrous notion, eh? Well, in my mind that pretty much sums up the GWOT and all its misdirection and misallocated resources.
But I digress and now back to the latest Skeptic Magazine. I strongly encourage this audience to rush out and purchase Vol. 20 No. 1 2015 of SKEPTIC. I especially enjoyed the article penned by Shermer entitled Seven Myths of Terrorism. The myths he dispels are as follows:
- Terrorists are pure evil
- Terrorists are organized
- Terrorists are diabolical geniuses
- Terrorists are poor and uneducated
- Terrorism is a deadly problem
- Terrorists will obtain and use a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb
- Terrorism works
I also enjoyed Richard Wackrow’s article entitled A Skeptic’s Guide to the War on Terror. He does a yeoman’s job detailing how we scare ourselves. The article stresses the importance of viewing the problem of terrorism holistically and rising above petty details.
Well, that’s it for now. Again, I strongly encourage rushing out and getting the magazine. After reading it, you will be more qualified to opine on the topic of terrorism than most on CNN, MSNBC, ABC and Fox.