PUT on you tea shades, kids, and let's mess with The Man's head.
There must be hundreds of wobbly but still doddering Americans who remember how the War on Drugs worked back before Nancy Reagan got her husband to formally declare it. Namely, that it worked on lies. And not good lies, either, no. The transparent fumblings of emotionally stunted authoritarians, little Hoovers in and out of drag. The acid-tripping college students blinded by staring into the sun (twice!). Art Linkletter's dead daughter. The turkey in the crib and the baby in the oven. Hell, the historically minded may even recall that Federal marihuana laws are predicated on the causal relationship between the first puff of Weed and that lifetime pass on the Smack Train. Though that, of course, was really just cover for one of our earlier wars on chinks and mesicans, you gotta admit that in those days people knew how to lie. (Nancy Reagan, it turns out, may've been more concerned that a new generation of talentless Hollywood startlets, gag reflexes anesthetized by the Snow, would usurp her rightful crown.)
Okay, so Thiessen isn't The Man. He's a jock sniffer too cowardly to witness, let alone take part in, any of his torture fantasies. He's the poster boy for a certain type of Federal weasel; remember, it was the local Alabama boys turned the firehoses and billy clubs and German shepherds on King's marchers. The Feds drilled peepholes into his bathroom and sent dirty pictures to his wife.
Actually I'm not quite sure how I came to read this thing, except the Post offered it as the counterpoint to a Fareed Zakaria op-ed on how We're Safer Now Than We'll Admit, and the second worst sin in American political life today is pretending to be reasonable now when, in the heat of the moment, you thought 9/11 seemed like a good excuse to go kill Iraqis. I have so little regard for Fareed Zakaria I'm willing to read Marc Thiessen. So it was kind of a spite fuck. (I say "read" only because that's the conventional term; the reality is that Thiessen just rains on you, in the urological sense.)
Let's say one thing further about the rapid decline in the quality of our prevarications: it doesn't even seem to've occurred to Thiessen to consider whether this game is worth the candle. Thiessen "argues" (again we are prisoners of linguistic convention) that al-Qaeda will strike on 9/11/11. Sure, he fails to come within a parsec of making the case, but why fucking bother in the first place? Why is the idea that al-Qaeda is equally fetishistic about The Magic of 9-1-1 so important? Why are you so concerned that someone is laughing behind your back? Hmmm? Admittedly this is nothing new with the American right, elements of which are still skirmishing with Charles Darwin, but still: wouldn't your warning of the dire consequences of Complacency be a little more effective if you weren't still screaming about the subject 24/7? Complacent? Jesus Christ, it's tough enough just to get to sleep nights with all the screaming and yelling and banging pots and pans coming from that double-wide of yours.
Not to mention that maybe, just maybe, it'd be a little more convincing if you weren't the guys who allowed the attacks to happen in the first place.
Okay, sure, Thiessen has a career of sorts to protect, but what of the Post? Oh, hell, forget I mentioned it. The one notable thing about the 850 words (again, aside from the fact that they have nothing to do with the ostensible argument he's making) is that they're full of shit. Completely full of shit. Thiessen's first example of al-Qaeda's Hallmarkesque obsession with anniversaries--and the only one which happens to come attached to The Date, though purely by fiat--is the London Liquid Explosives case of 2006. (The Fifth Anniversary is traditionally wood, but, I dunno, maybe in the Middle East it's Prell™.) Thiessen's been peddling this one for years, with its "seven airliners" and "imagine teevee shots of floating wreckage" and "if they'd exploded over populated areas it could have been worse than 9/11", though formerly in support of waterboarding. Well, if you're gonna jerk off, it may's well be circular, I guess. Problem is that the whole "9/11 anniversary" thing depends on the London cops' telling. As do the "liquid explosives" "seven airliners" and "al-Qaeda" routine. You can mix up some Gee Your Bomb Smells Terrific in an enclosed space, but in 2006 even Walking Towards the Bathroom While Swarthy risked having some cub reporter for the Ladies Home Journal of Wall Street start screaming like Evelyn Ankers. And the stuff's too unstable to've mixed beforehand. Which would tend to argue against a successful completion of the Plot, except that's not really all that necessary when the Bobbies didn't actually find one, just some guys with martyr porn and great-looking hair. No liquid explosives, no instructions for manufacturing liquid explosives, and, in the ensuing investigation, no link to any financial support whatsoever. Maybe a couple pair of tea shades.
And that's the best he's got; we're then treated to Jose Padilla (convicted of conspiring with himself to fantasize about killing people), a not-quite specified plot to blow up our consulate in Pakistan or the Marine camp in Djibouti (is this terrorism, exactly? If the threat of someone attacking your Marine base in Africa gives you the interminable squirts, maybe you oughta think about keeping them home, and leaving the White Man's Burden to someone better equipped emotionally), an al-Qaeda anthrax lab (you can't kill masses of people with anthrax. Period. The domestic anthrax letter bomber had access to USAMRIID stuff, the Peruvian flake of the terrorist world, and he killed fewer people than Taco Bell does. Plus what, exactly, is the track record of Bush administration officials identifying Islamic Death Labs?), and, fer chrissakes, The LA Library Tower, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion of the War on Terra set. And, as they used to sing on Gilligan's Island, the rest, mostly classified, of course, but including the imaginary Heathrow Plot and this corker:
(imagine Big Ben collapsing like the Twin Towers)
Yeah, they'd love it in Pamona.
Of course the Tower is built of bricks, not substandard steel, but, y'know, there's no sense wasting a perfectly good pair of pants by not pissing 'em.