Friday, January 1, 2010
A Note to David Brooks
"...I'm not so sure.
The cliché is that the state with these kinds of attacks needs to be correct 100% of the time, the attacker only once. That sentiment reflects more an understandable national yearning to believe in its immunity from terror than a naive belief in technology as a god.
With a nearly decade old 9/11, that changed everything, behind it, America has thus far escaped recurrence. That has fed America's ability--a new born innocence despite 9/11--to believe in that immunity. Americans understand they can be hit again, but they don't feel that understanding.
The aborted Christmas day bombing goes to that head gut split. That the failed bombing is causing reviews and new protocols is the head in action, but narrowly avoiding terrible, bloody death has, for now, let the gut be. Dreaded will be the day when the American gut comes to feel what the American head knows.
Until that day it’s not for any politician to say, “Listen, we’re doing the best we can, but some terrorists are bound to get through.” That’s not political maturity; and saying it is neither politically feasible nor desirable.
Somehow Hassan’s Fort Hood killing left America’s psyche untraumatized even though it was a domestic act of terror. My speculation is that’s because it was assimilable to the mass killings that tragically beset your nation. If a domestic terrorist act recurs replete with the imagery and symbolism of 9/11 or, God forbid, effecting incalculable damage, then America will feel what it now knows.."