August 6, 2004
Living in Washington, DC, I am confronted often with visible signs of the effects on America and our lifestyle of the terrorism threat and the security steps taken by the government in response. Many of the streets near the U.S. Capitol, where I lived for nearly a decade, are now closed. The route on which I used to commute to downtown is now barricaded with armed checkpoints. More roads were closed yesterday on 15th Street near the Treasury Building. It looks like Beirut. [View Map].
But Thursday was particularly difficult, even though I stayed in the 'burbs. The news of new terrorism raids, captures, plots and counter-reactions just kept coming. Two jihadists arrested in Albany in a sting trying to buy a shoulder-launched guided missile. Houses in several cities raided for evidence of the 2001 anthrax attacks on the U.S. Senate. A major al Qaeda leader, along with 12 other suspects, captured in London. And an anti-western cleric, number 12 on the list of Saudi Arabia's 26 most wanted, was arrested without any resistance as he sat in a cafe in the kingdom's mountainous Abha province, close to the Yemen border. Meanwhile, and likely as a result, oil prices rocketed to new highs as the financial markets wrestled with all this uncertainty.
This stuff has got to wear people down. Civilization has gone through worse periods, but I wonder whether the British citizens huddled in the Underground to escape Nazi bombs felt the same say. Today, the enemy is faceless, invisible and seemingly everywhere. Not knowing what or when to fear is difficult.Posted by glenn