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  1. This blog never fails to miss the elephant in the room. Someone engaged in a religious holy war tries to blow up a plane with almost 300 people over a major American city, and this so-called religion blog focuses on a few of the passengers singing. Wake up.

  2. Well, Leroy, the terrorist may have been “engaged in a religious holy war,” but he didn’t make much of a go of it. Of course, being a hillbilly myself, and having grown up in the mountains, it would never dawn on me that there are otherwise competent people out there who can’t manage to blow something up. I think the one thing that the so-called war on terror has taught us is that terrorists are the most incompetent group in the world. A couple of people in the downtown area of any city could cause more terror with a .22 rifle than all the terrorists in the world have caused in the US since 9/11.

  3. Caleb Powers — It’s always so amusing until it succeeds. I’m sure that if the 9/11 hijackers had been arrested beforehand, you would have been laughing at what a crazy idea they had, and dismissing it from having any chance of success. ABC News has shown a simulation of what 50 grams of PETN would have done to the plane — blow a large hole in it. The terrorist had 80 grams.

    Are you for real? Terrorists are incompetent? Do you think you could take down the largest buildings in America will a .22 rifle?

  4. Life is fragile, more fragile than a glass. The word “Jesus loves me” is strength and hope for peaceful resolution, no matter what comes. Thanks be to God, no life lost at Christmas day.

  5. Julian Malakar — I have more regard for the person who tackled the terrorist than the people singing about Jesus. Let’s hope that if this happens again, there are more people who take action rather than singing or scoffing at the attempt like Caleb Powers.

  6. Why did the bomber fail? Probably because he couldn’t test his equipment before he got on the plane.

    I agree that by relying on bombs the terrorists are making it more difficult for themselves. Sniping random people would inspire a lot of fear. Even just running up on people and stabbing them in the back several times would put a lot of people on edge. Poisoning people is relatively cheap and easy. Bombs are difficult to make, difficult to smuggle, and clearly unreliable. Bombs give you a bigger payoff, but are also far riskier. They’re also taxing upon a terrorist group’s most important resource: their people. Although they have yet to run short on people willing to blow themselves to pieces for the cause, I doubt their model is sustainable.

  7. Also, the family could have been singing to keep the children calm. Just because they weren’t the ones to jump up and save the day doesn’t mean they weren’t doing something admirable.

  8. No, Leroy, I don’t think I could take anything with a .22 rifle, and didn’t say that I could. The point of terrorism is to cause terror. A couple of people with .22 rifles could indeed cause more terror than has been caused in America since 9/11. The DC sniper proved that; a couple of guys with one rifle caused panic in one of our largest cities for months. THAT’s terrorism.

    Terrorists are indeed quite incompetent, because virtually everything in our homes, offices, and shops can be used to produce some sort of weapon. And yet there are almost no terrorist attacks, and most of the ones that do occur are failures.

    I’m not scoffing at the problem, I’m scoffing at the idea that our government has done or is doing anything to prevent terrorism. The thing that’s preventing terrorism right now is the pure incompetence of the terrorists. What scares ME is the idea that one day they’ll read a couple of books and not be so incompetent. What’s our ineffective government going to do then?

  9. Caleb Powers — Terrorists are incompetent? Islamic terrorists have not only had 9/11, but also brought down Pan Am 103 (another Europe to U.S. flight around Christmas). As far as shootings, there’s the DC snipers whom you mentioned (who were jihadists, although that was not widely reported), the Fort Hood shootings, the Mumbai shootings and many more. There have been political assassinations such as Bobby Kennedy, Anwar Sadat, and Benazir Bhutto. There have been train bombings in London and Madrid and bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. The list goes on and on. What incompetence are you talking about?

    Terrorists have changed how everyone flies. Terrorists have intimidated publishers from printing the Danish cartoons (Did your local paper publish them? Yale University Press published a book on the cartoons in the last year but wouldn’t show the cartoons themselves, the very subject of the book). You think this is incompetence? It looks like success to me.

  10. For the record, it is misleading to use the term “Islamic terrorists” to refer to every act of terrorism or violence perpetrated by a Muslim. E.g., the Lockerbie bombing of Pan American flight 103 was an act of political terrorism rather than religious terrorism.

    There are many Muslims in the Middle East who see American military intervention as an attempt by Christians to suppress Islam. They are using the same inciting language as Leroy, just from the opposite side. Let’s hope that they are just as wrong.

  11. One man’s military intervention is another’s terrorism. Terrorism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. We have the most military might of any country in the world. We don’t have to resort to terrorism against other countries. We let our military take care of that for us. If we didn’t have them, I think we’d probably be doing some “terroristic” acts of our own if someone came along and threatened our interests. Always remember, you never know who really casts the first stone in any of these conflicts. The media on both sides always portrays it as though the other side started it. I think terrorism as al Qaeda practices it is meant more to impact media coverage than anything else. That’s why they resort to bombs and high profile attacks, because that message gets spread across the airwaves quickest. Killing people individually doesn’t get a whole lot of coverage. Even when they fail, their actions still impact us.

  12. Jose — what sophistry. Perhaps you can elucidate the difference between political terrorism and religious terrorism, particularly where the political institutions are explicitly religious. Maybe we should consider the possibility that the most recent attempted bombing was motivated by concern over the health care debate. After all, how can we really know what was going on in this young man’s mind?

    You’re in denial, Jose. The biggest religion story in the world is that Islamists are trying (and often succeeding) in killing large numbers of infidels, and not just American Christians. These attacks are occurring across the globe — Thailand, the Philippines, Chechnya, Africa, etc. Wake up.

  13. Cheese — your moral equivalence argument is repulsive. To liken our military to people who would blow up commercial airlines is idiotic. These military personnel are protecting you and your freedoms, whether you appreciate it or not. Evidently, you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, so anything and everything might or might not be terrorism.

    What an Alice in Wonderland blog this is. Moral inversion run rampant.

  14. “Moral inversion run rampant.”

    Indeed, Leroy… that’s why our government is fighting so hard to avoid publishing the additional photos from the detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan.* Once our military began torturing people, in many cases innocent people, you would think we’d give up such absolute claims to the moral high ground. And you know, giving the “commander in chief” the right to detain people indefinitely and without trial clashes with traditional American values (and constitutional freedoms). It’s amazing how many of these basic values the loony right is willing to throw away in the pursuit of a illusionary feeling of “being (kept) safe”!

    Talk about Alice in Wonderland! The same freedoms our brave fighting men and women are supposedly defending abroad are the same that are being taken way here at home… in order to combat the people we are fighting abroad… who hate us because we are free(?)…. but not as free as we used to be… This starts getting awfully topsy turvy!

    And it’s even fuzzier when you start searching for specifics… like what freedoms our soldiers are defending… and why we have to kill people in foreign countries to keep our freedom, when the Swiss or the Swedes don’t… or why it seems that the biggest threats to our freedoms actually seem to come from our own government, and the best defenders seem to be lawyers in suits, not soldiers in fatigues!

    *(http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/12/prisoner.photos/index.html)

  15. Leroy,

    I have three cousins in the military, and my brother is a cop. I don’t take what they do for granted. I understand the sacrifice the average man and woman is making by serving our country during times of conflict. But I also understand that they don’t call the shots. Suits in Washington dictate our foreign policy, not the soldier on patrol.

    I understand the difference between right and wrong, which is what led me to deny the existence of the two. “Right” in your dictionary means “whatever is good for the US.” “Wrong” is “whatever is bad for the US.” Right and wrong are completely subjective terms, because what is often good for the US is bad for other people in the world. There is no such thing as absolute right and absolute wrong, and any act of violence can be perceived as terrorism to someone.

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