BY JOHN MUELLER AND MARK G. STEWART – In seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of the massive increases in homeland security expenditures since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the common and urgent query has been, “Are we safer?” This, however, is the wrong question.
SETH BORENSTEIN – It seems as if violence is everywhere, but it’s really on the run. Yes, thousands of people have died in bloody unrest from Africa to Pakistan, while terrorists plot bombings and kidnappings. Wars drag on in Iraq and Afghanistan. In peaceful Norway, a man massacred 69 youths in July. In Mexico, headless bodies turn up, victims of drug cartels. This month eight people died in a shooting in a California hair salon. Yet, historically, we’ve never had it this peaceful.
LAURA CARVER AND JANE SOMMERVILLE – While the root causes for many problems are complex, one common cause is lack of social engagement — something we want to do something about. In fact, this is what we are doing for our summer vacation.
KEN MCCORMACK: The CIA and over 20 other such agencies are rapidly spreading our national disease â€” much more dangerous than the flu â€” diagnosed by doctors “terminal hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy syndrome appears with two levels of truth. Truth one is public. Truth two is simply the dirty laundry.
JEREMY SCAHILL: Blackwater had largely receded from the headlines save for the occasional blip on the media radar sparked by Congressman Henry Waxman’s ongoing investigations into its activities. Its forces remained deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and business continued to pour in.
J. V. GRADY: It is quite possible, even probable, that many of the bombings against the Shi’ia and Sunni populations have been carried out by American, British, and even Israeli operatives.