The Terror Error

Today feels like right before a big storm, anxiety hovers but lightening doesn't quite strike. Will Rove succeed in getting his treason labeled patriotism? Will Rehnquist ever just resign so I can start worrying proper? Perhaps it's just that I leave soon for a long vacation and something huge always happens when I'm gone. (In 1991, Gorbachev was kidnapped while I swam in a waterfall; a few years later Jerry Garcia died while I was learning to surf.)

I grew up in the nuclear shadow and so this feeling of free-floating anxiety is kind of familiar. It's the sense that we've gone in such the wrong direction that we would have no idea how to turn back, even if we realized we wanted to. I imagine the historians of the future trying to pin the dates on this "War on Terror" and how they will say it ended. But then I start thinking about who those historians might be and I have to stop thinking. I haven't felt this pessimistic since Helen Caldicott came to speak in my high school auditorium.

Maybe I'm just feeling the weight of what Wayne Roberts calls The Terror Error. See, this whole "clash of civilizations" was really just a mistake. The carrot and the stick got out of hand. Some of us got too big for our britches. Roberts puts it well: "Sad but true: we are witnessing a conflict between two groups that slaughter innocents. One side uses explosives, the other armies and debt ledgers." No wonder I'm feeling down.

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