Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 12:12 AM
The irony seems completely lost on American media that they’re the ones terrorizing us by featuring so many politicians and security experts stoking mundane fears about Russia’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks during next month’s Winter Olympics. Not to mention their hysterical reporting on a cell of black-widow suicide bombers now allegedly lying in wait inside Sochi’s so-called “ring of steel” – presumably to blow jam-packed Olympic venues to smithereens.
I mean, what’s an athlete to think when a member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee goes on TV and warns the world that security preparations are so woefully inadequate that not only would he not allow his family to attend, but even he would not be caught dead anywhere in Russia during the Olympics. For this is precisely what Senator Angus King of Maine did last Sunday on CNN.
The United States will deploy at least two warships into the Black Sea off the coast of Sochi, Russia, to respond to a potential terror attack during the upcoming Olympics, top officials said on Monday.
The positioning of the ships would also enable the rapid evacuation of Americans in the event of an attack, CNN reported.
(Washington Times, January 20, 2014)
Except that the far greater irony is that these are the same politicians and security experts who have maintained that the only way America can prevent everything from shooting massacres to “terrorist attacks” (yes, the media would have us believe there’s a difference) is to become a de facto police state like … Russia.
More to the point, though, how do you think these nincompoops would feel if every other world power began deploying warships to protect its citizens every time the United States hosts a major international event. After all, given the way terrorists bombed the Boston Marathon last year and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, to say nothing of the epidemic of gun violence, it’s arguable that visitors to America have far more to fear than Americans visiting other countries do. In fact, Americans who fear getting killed by bombs at venues in Sochi probably have more to fear from getting killed by guns at cinemas, malls, and even schools in America.
Which is why this deployment of warships reflects the kind of presumptuous American exceptionalism that only reinforces resentment in capitals like Moscow and Beijing.
Incidentally, do you remember all of the scaremongering in the run-up to the Olympic Games in Beijing, Torino, and London, respectively? Surely at some point this kind of media reporting becomes tantamount to screaming fire in a crowded theater, no?
That said, Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking his self-promoting, macho-man image too far by giving the impression that he can prevent any terrorist attack. After all, just as terrorists in the Palestinian territories routinely fire rockets through Israel’s ring of steel, those in the Caucasus territories can probably fire rockets through the putative ring of steel Putin has erected around Sochi.
What’s the point of commandeering people’s homes all over London to deploy batteries of anti-aircraft missiles on rooftops; of flooding the River Thames with battleships and gunboats of every type; or, for that matter, of festooning Olympic venues with robocops brandishing guns more designed to take out Sherman tanks than Islamic terrorists?
I am on record conceding that no array of security measures and military arsenal can prevent determined and skilled suicide bombers from carrying out their missions [anywhere].
(“London Olympics Giving New Meaning to War Games,” The iPINIONS Journal, July 16, 2012)
But if we continually react to mere threats of terrorist attacks by restricting what we do and where we go, we’ll end up living in hermetically sealed glass houses … then getting killed by carbon monoxide.
So shut up America! Be calm, travel on, and let the Games begin!
But, just to hedge your bets, I’d stay inside that Sochi ring of steel. Because even though the black widows are suicidal, the masterminds behind their terror are not stupid. And they must know that targeting Sochi would make about as much sense as bank robbers targeting Fort Knox. Therefore, people elsewhere in Russia should beware!
NOTE: The suicide bombers in this case are called black widows because Russian forces killed their husbands in attacks against Islamic militants. In other words, just as one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, these suicide bombers might otherwise be called avenging angels.
* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Tuesday, at 12:22 pm