President Obama, along with his adviser on counterterrorism, John Brennan, a White House deputy national security adviser, have tried to reorient US policy away from the nonsensical idea of a Global War on Terror. So far, so good.
But then something like this.
Below are some excerpts from a ludicrous, alarmist, and absolutely useless “worldwide caution” published last month by the State Department. It’s too long to include the whole thing, but I’ve attached here some representative excerpts that show how the State Department shamelessly uses non-specific scare tactics to worry Americans about the threat of terrorism overseas.
Maybe I’m wrong, but except in outright war zones — i.e., FATA, southern Afghanistan, the area of Iraq around Mosul, and a few other places — it’s hard to think of any pattern of terrorism aimed at Americans recently, except for a couple of hotel attacks in Indonesia. But that doesn’t stop State from this nonsense:
“The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests throughout the world. In some countries, the worldwide recession has contributed to political and economic instability and social unrest. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.
“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Americans are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur with little or no warning.”
Little or no warning! It goes on:
“Current information suggests that Al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.”
Hear that? They “may employ” these tactics. Continuing, the State Department goes on talk about little-known incidents such as “the February 2009 kidnapping of an American UNHCR official in Pakistan” and “the kidnapping of four European tourists in January on the Mali-Niger border.” (I’m sure you recall that terrifying incident.) It also includes “the kidnapping of two Canadian diplomats in Niger in December 2008 and the kidnapping of NGO workers along the Kenya-Somali border in July 2009.” Ignoring the fact that these incidents too place mostly in absurdly remote areas of central Africa, State warns — in all seriousness — that these events “all illustrate the continuing desire of extremists to strike Western targets and perceived interests.”
Now for the best part:
“Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and locales where Americans gather in large numbers, including during holidays.”
Uh oh. They can attack anywhere, at any time, at any event! No place is safe! The Louvre? Don’t go. Beaches in the South Pacific? Better stay home. A soccer game in Italy? Never. The Pyramids? Are you kidding?
And if you travel, avoid public transport! Says State:
“Americans are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems.”
Specific to the Middle East, State really gets worried:
“Credible information indicates terrorist groups seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. Terrorist actions may include bombings, hijackings, hostage taking, kidnappings, and assassinations. While conventional weapons such as explosive devices are a more immediate threat in many areas, use of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological agents, must be considered a possible threat. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as public transportation, residential areas, and public areas where people congregate, including restaurants, hotels, clubs, and shopping areas.”
Get the point? No place is safe, anywhere! They might use WMD’s! They love soft targets! Including — who knew? — “public areas where people congregate.”
Seriously. Message to State Deparment warning people: get a life!