The difference between rape and seduction

Salesmanship? Marcy Wheeler tells us its “National Use Zazi to Gain New Surveillance Powers Day.” The recent celebrated terrorism case against Najibullah Zazi who might (or might not) be an extremely dangerous threat is being rolled out for various things– as a demonstration of “the success of Obama’s new terrorist busting program,”or of the new Administration’s humility (it held a press conference to announce that it wasn’t holding a press conference)… or perhaps, just bread and circuses for the rubes to show that it takes terrrrrorism seriously, perhaps as a cover for a sensible path to actually closing Guantanamo… or perhaps, more ominously, to cover its eventual failure to keep the President’s promise of “closing GTMO within a year.”
I don’t know. I’ll go way further than Marcy and say that I’m actually skeptical of the whole Zazi case; I think he’s smaller potatoes than we’ve been led to believe. Admittedly, I concede the possibility I could be completely wrong, and it’s as if we grabbed Mohammad Atta at the border. Maybe. I realize that I’m supposed to be scared s***less of a former coffee and donut vendor and airport shuttle driver who bought a lot of peroxide intending presumably to target my city and its transit system (and indeed, I do use that transit system to travel to my place of work, located conveniently between the New York Stock Exchange and the former World Trade Center site)… and yet, I have nothing but questions about this case. Among them, of course, is whether (as I strongly suspect to be the case, btw) law enforcement officials were so eager to have a successful publicity stunt that they just moved in too quickly– failing to let the plot develop enough either to ensnare more (and possibly actual seriously dangerous) terror plotters, or to develop to the point where it can be established that there really was a serious plot at all. [Sorry, but White supremacists strike me as what we should really be worried about, particularly as the economy goes to hell… with a Black President in the White House no less… but I digress…] I guess I’m a skeptic; I’ll wait and see if actual “evidence” of a real plot emerges…
Of course, Marcy makes the relevant point: is our nation’s Salesman in Chief, who can’t seem to close the sale on that health care reform package, trying to instead sell us all a bill of goods on extension of controversial provisions of the Stasi Enabling Act USAPatriot Act… by showing us the purported value of “enhanced” surveillance and investigation powers (which, btw, were apparently not used in the Zazi case, which was just plain old boring “law enforcement”)? Well, is he?
I don’t know, of course, but we’re eight years into our permanent war footing; the nation simply can’t afford it. We can’t afford the perma-paranoia. Our attitudes toward foreigners– whether abusing them at our borders and consulates, or in our detention facilities– will continue to cost us economically as tourists, businessmen and innovative immigrants just don’t want to come here, not to mention the cost of maintaining endless legions of security personnel and equipment, or keeping hundreds of thousands of troops in the field. And we can’t afford any of it. All at the same time when our financial system (and economy as a whole) is melting down, what’s left of our declining GDP is diverted to inefficient (if not outright unnecessary) “health care” expenditures (now 18% of our GDP… it seems to me like it was “only” 14% just 5 or 6 years ago)… and of course, our national thirst for imported oil is bankrupting us that way as well, and evidently dramatically altering the inhabitable part of our planet.
Maybe I’m being excessively sanguine about this particular terror threat. But I’m sorry… in this era of “the permanent campaign”… that’s how you bet.