Headline May 09, 2016/ ''' UNITED STATES OF JIHAD '''


TERRORISM : Be afraid. Be,.......well, only a little afraid

The people who know the most about terrorism are pretty much all on the same page, and in Peter Bergen's : *United States of Jihad*,  that page is the last one.

It's where the author arrives to put into perspective the sense of peril that has kept the reader turning the previous 279  pages, a pulsing urgency that propels this feeling that something's going to happen, something terrible.

Except it's probably not, Bergen concludes. There is terrorism, and there is fear of terrorism, and only one of those is actually rampant in the U.S.

''I don't worry about it very much,'' says a former top counterterrorism official from the FBI, Philip Mudd, in the nuanced HBO documentary Homegrown 

So here we all are, on the edge of our seats, when maybe we should be settled into the couch cushions -working it out with a counselor.

Bergen points out that the enormous security apparatus put in place after 9/11 has prevented anything remotely similar from recurring since.

Of 72 known plots, including a few of dubious inspiration, 56 were detected by law enforcement agencies   -44 with tips from Muslims. The death count from the few that succeeded narrowly trails the 48 people killed by right-wing extremists.

There's drama in the cases Bergen relates at chapter length, but knowing what we already do, it's nearly the vicarious sort produced by horror films and detective fiction. A decade ago-

Garrison Keillor wrote the victory in the Cold War ''left us feeling oddly bereft, so now we have embraced the War Against Terrorism-

Which nobody believes in  -there's no rush to enlist  -and yet the concrete barricades and the platoons of security at the airport do give us a sense of danger, which is satisfying.''

The anxiety is real, though, what ever its source. 

The beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff awakened something that has only been amplified in the  17 months since, and now dominates all public concerns, polls say.

Bergen is not the guy on ISIS, or  ''punk jihad.'' He's more O.G., having made his bones interviewing Osama bin Laden in 1997. But he makes a highly reliable guide on the road to the present day, which turns out to be the information superhighway.

U.S. born terrorists followed logically from the arrival online of English-language jihadi literature, including sermons. 

The American born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki died by drone strike in 2011, but his teachings survive online and were absorbed by 87 of the 330 Americans charged with Islamic terrorism since 9/11.

Bergen also surveys the expert thinking on what makes a jihadi  -a crucial evolution now that social media allow terrorists to groom recruits online.

He ends up at Quantico, Va., where  FBI profilers have developed promising tools to separate who's all talk from who just might. If the assertions work-

It would vindicate those who argued that,  post-Afghanistan, countering terrorism should have been a job  for law enforcement and security services.

Instead, the U.S., invaded Iraq, blowing oxygen into fading embers, and got ISIS. It pays to remember that the whole point of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction.

But having said that Andrew Liepman, a former No. 2 at America's National Counterterrorism Center, lists bigger threats:

Obesity, cancer, gun violence.

''But that,'' he says, ''doesn't capture America's imagination as much as the threat from ISIS.''

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Safe On !WOW! '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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