02 February 2011

BUB: US Defense/Security Mythology

Seems there are a lot of articles trying to debunk "myths" these days. I guess conventional wisdom ain't so conventional.

Time talks about the "Myth of Homegrown Islamic Terrorism...

Though acts of violent extremism by U.S. Muslims appear to have grown, their potency has not. American Muslims remain more moderate, diverse and integrated than the Muslim populations in any other Western society. Despite the efforts of al-Qaeda propagandists like al-Awlaki, the evidence of even modest sympathy for the enemy existing inside the U.S. is minuscule. The paranoia about homegrown terrorism thus vastly overstates al-Qaeda's strength and reflects our leaders' inability to make honest assessments about the true threats to America's security.
Those who beat the drums about the homegrown terrorism threat often gloss over one salient fact: for all the publicity that surrounds cases of domestic jihad, not a single civilian has been killed by an Islamic terrorist on U.S. soil since Sept. 11. (The killing spree by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 doesn't fit the standard definition of terrorism: his motives were not wholly ideological, nor did he deliberately target civilians.) That's due to a number of factors, including the military's assault on al-Qaeda's leadership, tougher homeland-security measures, smart policing and some degree of luck. But the fact that every homegrown terrorism plot has been foiled before it could be carried out also demonstrates the fecklessness of the terrorists themselves. In nearly every case - including that of Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, who came closest to succeeding - homegrown terrorists have been found to have acted almost entirely alone. There has been no vast conspiracy. Terrorist attacks may not require much money or ingenuity, but a lone wolf has little chance of pulling off the kind of mass-casualty strike that counterterrorism experts worry about most.

Informed Comment talks about the Top Ten Myths about Afghanistan from 2010

10. “There has been significant progress in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan.”
9. Afghans want the US and NATO troops to stay in their country because they feel protected by them.
8. The “surge” and precision air strikes are forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
7. The US presence in Afghanistan is justified by the September 11 attacks.
6. Afghans still want US troops in their country, despite their discontents.
5. The presidential elections of 2009 and the recent parliamentary elections were credible and added to the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s government.

Go read the article for details about each bullet, and the rest of the list...

Other discussions of "myths" out there right now?

How about one on how myths about defense spending drive all sorts of misconceptions on the budget.

Or how the "electronic revolution" in Egypt is just a myth. Speaking of Egpyt's 'revolution'... What about the myth of the lawless, looting hordes among the demonstrators?

Can anyone think of others we mythed... er... "missed"?(1)

By: Brant

(1) OK, that was bad. And we should be ashamed. At least a little.

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