Be Afraid Of W, Not Terrorists – Wil Wheaton’s Worldview
I'm not exactly sure how I happened upon Wil Wheaton's blog, and even less certain why I bothered to bookmark it. Maybe it's the erstwhile Trekkie in me. Wheaton had a starring role as Wesley Crusher in <i>Star Trek – The Next Generation</i>. He's had some roles since then – nothing I've actually seen – and written a few books and made more than a few appearances on the World Series of Poker. Most of his blog posts deal with subjects other than terrorism, and his behind the scenes reflections on TNG are downright hilarious.
Yesterday, however, he decided to give the world his two cents on DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's " gut feeling" about a possible terrorist attack sometime this summer. I'd quote Wheaton's commentary word for word, but I'm doing my best to keep this a PG rated blog.
Guys like Wheaton really have it made. They sit from the September 10th Balcony cheap seats and throw stones at guys with real jobs that really matter and then pat themselves on the back for having the "courage" to do so. They quote endless public opinion polls and Drive-By Media reports to bolster their claims that W, Big Time Cheney, and the rest of the Administration sit up nights trying to find new ways to scare the American people into submission.
Submission to what? Wheaton doesn't actually define that. He's just mad as hell about the fact he has to take his shoes off every time he goes through an airport on his way to Vegas to play poker. Yes, dear reader, that's really the crux of his argument. Its somewhat carefully couched behind his denunciations of Antonio Gonzales and the US Attorney (non) scandal – but I'm not going to question his understanding of those concepts. That would require too many keystrokes and I have better things to do.
Memo to Wil Wheaton:
Have you ever had a truly thankless job – other than that of Wesley Crusher? If you have than perhaps you can relate just a little to the difficult position of Secretary Chertoff. Here's a guy charged with securing this nation. He no doubt receives a truck load of intelligence data on a daily basis. What's in this intelligence dump? Good question. Perhaps if you read books like Patrick Radden Keefe's Chatter instead of all those public opinion polls and MSM tripe you'd have a better idea. Of course then you'd be convinced the NSA is taping your phone calls.
Knowledge is a double-edged sword. Chertoff can't give the American people a Daily Intelligence Briefing. Why is that? The short answer is that doing so would compromise sources and methods that are needed in the War on Terror. Yes, Wil, this nation is at war. We're at war with a ruthless and determined enemy. Just how ruthless and determined? May I recommend to you Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 and Mark Steyn's America Alone.
Frankly, Wil, your ad-hominem insults accusing W Administration of drumming up terrorist attack warnings to deflect criticism is disgraceful. You owe an apology to the thousands of men and women working tirelessly and thanklessly behind the scenes to makes sure the only inconvenience you have to deal with during your travels is the removal of your shoes and the disposal of your water bottle. Off the top of my head I can think of 2,996 people who would've traded that inconvenience for their actual fate.
An alert, informed, and wary public is probably the best weapon this or any nation has against the Islamofacist Murdering Thugs who want to turn your neighborhood Ralph's Market into a smoldering hole in the ground. Michael Chertoff's gut is influenced by the reports and briefings he receives every day. Perhaps the best he can do (without compromising sources or methods) is tell the American people about his gut feeling. If that leads to only one foiled terrorist attack – even one never reported – than his efforts will not have been in vain.
So, yes, Wil, we are better, stronger, and smarter than this. Your cheap shots from the September 10 th Balcony only prove that point. The goal here is vigilance, not fear. Maybe when you've finished your reading assignment you'll have figured that out. Until you do, stick to writing science fiction.
Here endeth the lesson.