Gettin’ High On That “Homeland” Thing

Americans are just giddy over this “Homeland” thing.

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al-Qa’ida, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the Homeland and a continued effort by these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities.

The statement above comes from the “National Intelligence Estimate” (NIE) which was issued today by the office of the director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell.

I read the so called NIE this morning and the most interesting thing that I learned was that the word “homeland” was used eleven times in a page and a half. The 766 word document that probably cost millions to compile, print, bind and distribute informs me of ….. nothing new. al Quaeda is a threat and will continue to be, and so on, they still hate us. Pardon me, but ho hum.

We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.

We (the people of the United States) have spent an unimaginable amount of money, (500 billion, half a trillion, who’s counting,… not these rummies, they’re way too busy spending) and squandered the lives of thousands of our Children and Grandchildren, as well as the physical and emotional well being of many tens of thousands more during the the last five years. Not a damn thing has been accomplished and these bastards have the nerve to offer “assessments?” “progress reports?”

Every time I hear the word “homeland” or just about any phrase which contains it, like “homeland security,” “protect the homeland,” or “threats to the homeland,” for some reason my blood runs a little colder. I guess the term was first popularized in the wake of the 911 attacks, but even back then it then it made my hair stand on end.

We are concerned, however, that this level of international cooperation may wane as 9/11 becomes a more distant memory and perceptions of the threat diverge. Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safe haven in the Pakistan Federally Administered tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership. Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qa’ida senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al-Qa’ida will intensify its efforts to put operatives here.

The level of international cooperation has and will continue to wane. Not because the memory has faded nor perceptions of the threat diverged (what the hell does that mean?) interest is “waning” because most of the rest of the world has come to the inescapable conclusion that the control of the American government has fallen into the hands of liars fools and criminals. Our military itself has said that in Iraq, the major threat is from the radical Shia militias, not from al Quaeda in Iraq. These bastards are lying out of both sides of their mouths and spitting in our faces down the middle.

Maybe it’s just a psychological connection caused by a lifetime of exposure to the now ancient black and white war and spy movies, or a remembrance of the propagandistic documentaries of my youth, growing up as I did during the early years of the “Cold War.” The term never fails to bring to my mind visions of Hitler on the dais, arm raised before the admiring and hysterical crowd, or Stalin, standing rigidly, peering over his mustaches as Soviet armor and missiles parade past the Kremlin, “Homeland” conjures images of Stalinist art or Maoist posters.

As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment. We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.

Back in 2001 bin Laden was “assessed” by these same chowder heads, to be worth a couple hundred million bucks,  now we spend that amount in Iraq in less than a week and most of that money is going into the pockets of those who backed this caper in the first place. At the rate things are going I’m not the least surprised that al Quaeda or Mutaqa al Sadr will have more success recruiting suicidal idiots than we are at recruiting the last kid who wants to die in Iraq.

It is, to me, as if the word itself, represents some distant archetype of terror and madness, contains vestigial memories of barely realized childhood fears and insecurities, dim memories of the saga of war and holocaust, of witch hunts, of persecutions.

We assess that al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the US population. The group is proficient with conventional small arms and improvised explosive devices, and is innovative in creating new capabilities and overcoming security obstacles.

Well, gee, I hope to shout that they are proficient, they have been practicing on the proving ground which we provided for five years, and during that time personnel, weapons and mountains of cash have been pouring across every border,  Syria, Jordan, Iran, most of it from Saudi Arabia. The Iraqis want us out, hell everybody in the region wants us out, except of course those who so persistently demand that the Iraqi parliament come to an agreement on the awarding of oil concessions and division of the revenue…. hmmmm.

I don’t like the word, “Homeland” especially in the context that it currently used, nor do I like the collection of phrases which include it that have been concocted by the Goebellian band of spinmeisters and inveterate liars that compose the current concert of neo-con government functionaries and media shills that passes for the press these days.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.

This wholly asinine statement reminds me of the months after Bush’s fraudulent State of the Union address and when, in trying to dissemble and back pedal like some little frat boy caught out after curfew, he said that Saddam was guilty of having the “intent” to develop weapons of mass destruction. Is anyone listening to these people?

America is not the Homeland, except perhaps to the Seneca or the Shoshone, the ancient Anasazi or the more recent indigenous people that we gave a fast push across the country and onto useless land that no one else wanted,  until oil and the internal combustion engine came along that is.

We assess Lebanese Hizballah, which has conducted anti-US attacks outside the United States in the past, may be more likely to consider attacking the Homeland over the next three years if it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran. We assess that the spread of radical?especially Salafi?Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States. The arrest and prosecution by US law enforcement of a small number of violent Islamic extremists inside the United States? who are becoming more connected ideologically, virtually, and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement?points to the possibility that others may become sufficiently radicalized that they will view the use of violence here as legitimate. We assess that this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however. We assess that other, non-Muslim terrorist groups?often referred to as “single-issue” groups by the FBI?probably will conduct attacks over the next three years given their violent histories, but we assess this violence is likely to be on a small scale.
We assess that globalization trends and recent technological advances will continue to enable even small numbers of alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their danger, and mobilize resources to attack?all without requiring a centralized terrorist organization, training camp, or leader.

“I assess that in the paragraph above they are setting the stage for operations in Iran and Lebanon and the preparation of domestic internment camps. But what the hell the last five years have made me a little jumpy.”

We’re not the Fatherland either, nor are we the Motherland (which, I think, is pretty well synonymous, except for that gender thing) Fatherland implies, to me, ethnicity, something that America doesn’t have one of. Instead we have all of them. In our wisdom, and in the liberal spirit of the age at our foundation, we decided to have all ethnicity’s, to be a land of liberty and opportunity for all the downtrodden of the earth. I’m proud of that, so were my parents and Grandparents proud, of THAT.

The ability to detect broader and more diverse terrorist plotting in this environment
will challenge current US defensive efforts and the tools we use to detect and disrupt
plots. It will also require greater understanding of how suspect activities at the local
level relate to strategic threat information and how best to identify indicators of
terrorist activity in the midst of legitimate interactions.

Since I’m in an assessing mood after reading all this high dollar assessing, I will go further out on this limb and assess that the paragraph above this one tells me not to say anything on the telephone that I don’t want Karl Rove reading a summary of in the morning.

Speaking of summaries this whole National Intelligence thing could have been done for a lot less money. They’re always talking about privatizing these things, aren’t they? Had they brought it to us here at Worldwide Sawdust we would have turned the project over to our subsidiary, Worldwide Bullshit. They would have brought that baby in for less than fifty grand.

We also wouldn’t have got it completely wrong, al Quaeda isn’t the main threat facing America, now or in the near future, not even close. We would have assessed instead, that the major danger to America is represented by the people who delivered a “National Intelligence Estimate” and used the word “Homeland” eleven times and the word “America” not at all.

That frightens me.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust
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A persistent and evolving terrorist threat

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About BobHiggins

Lifelong liberal of the Tom Paine wing. Marine Vietnam vet. Have worked as a photographer, cab driver, bartender, carpenter and cabinetmaker. Now retired on a Veterans Disability program I spend my time writing and editing and complaining. Ahh the Golden Years.
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One Response to Gettin’ High On That “Homeland” Thing

  1. Ginny Cotts says:

    Hey, I’ve got TWO degrees in BS, can I write for Worldwide Bullshit? 😆

    Excellent dissection and commentary. I am getting to the point that if they took ‘terrorism’ and ‘homeland’ out of the speeches, there wouldn’t be much but ‘al Qaeda’ and ‘9/11’ left.

    Now, isn’t National Intelligence Estimate beginning to make us think of Millitary Intelligence – the oxymoron?

    Ok, I admit I watched The Pentagon Wars last night. If you missed that HBO movie based on the development of the Bradley vehicle, try to get a copy. It is all too true – and they managed to make it funny, despite the money (14 billion and 17 years) it took to develop the really dangerous model that Israel refused to buy without modifications.