The Perilous Aftermath of the Next Terrorist Attack

From Susan Hasler:

Another terrorist attack will inevitably happen in this country. It will not take place because of who now sits in the White House, how the courts rule, or whether or not counterterrorism professionals are doing their jobs conscientiously. It will take place because of a wide range of cultural, social, religious, and geopolitical factors in our recent history. It will take place because of failed policies, imperfect vigilance, and cycles of violence and retribution set in motion long ago. It will take place because there is no such thing as complete safety, even if you build walls, waterboard detainees, suspend civil liberties, bomb the shit out of a Muslim country, and bankrupt the treasury in the process. 
Just as inevitable as the next attack is the blame game that will follow. The blame game never solves anything. Yes, you can spread blame around like manure on the fields in springtime. There’s plenty to go around, and it will stink to high heaven, but nothing good will grow from it. It distracts from efforts to stop the next attack. It never even gets close to finding the real culprit. Yet we indulge in it passionately, as if we expected it to yield solutions rather than ruin. 
Who will Trump blame? He’s already told us part of the story, tweeting on February 6, “Just can’t believe a judge [the one who suspended Trump’s travel ban] would put us in such peril. If something happens blame him and the court system. People pouring in. Bad!” If the Judiciary has been ruining your day, what better time than after an attack to work up a groundswell of support for reducing its powers?
Trump will also blame the Intelligence Community, of course. The IC, and particularly the CIA, has been a scapegoat-of-choice for politicians for decades. If you keep yelling “intelligence failure” loud enough you can keep people from looking for policy failures. This might be an opportunity for Trump to clean out any pesky officials who have been providing intelligence he finds unpleasant to read. Perhaps he can institute a sweeping, disruptive reform that will make CIA less of a “skunk at the garden party” offering unbiased intelligence and more of a team player offering up nuggets to support policy. 
Trump will blame the press for weakening him and therefore the country. He may take moves against the press that would only be tolerated in a post-attack atmosphere of fear.
Finally, Trump will blame women and men in pink hats for demonstrating at airports. He will stir up the hatred, racism, and misogyny in his base until peaceful protest is met with violence. He may ask for more powers to quell this violence.
The blame game will be a golden opportunity for a gold-plated opportunist to push his agenda further than he could hope to now. Bannon and company are probably already planning for it. We should all be thinking about how we will respond.

2 Replies to “The Perilous Aftermath of the Next Terrorist Attack”

  1. If the media’s leaks are to be believed, Trump can also use the opportunity clean house of some of those people in his administration who have disappointed him (gotten caught, not been loyal enough, made the mistake of being played by women on SNL), like Priebus or Flynn.

    He will also use it to add perhaps another country or five to the banned list. After all, he’ll say, he was only following Obama’s list before; now, he had had the opportunity to see the truth.

    I think worst of all, though, is what comes AFTER the blame. It will be the insidiousness of the propaganda that has the potential to truly twist what we are. Segment X of society has made us weak, and – you know I’m a very nice guy – I tried to make them part of us, but they are not, and see what it’s done…

  2. It gives me hope to read articulate explanations by expert people that what I see with my eyes and hear in my head must be true even when the POTUS tells me my eyes and ears are lying to me when he alone knows “the truth.”

    Thanks to Susan Hasler for giving us hope.

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