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Rooting For The Homegrown Whackadoo

I’ll admit it, I was hoping the Boston Marathon bomber was a homegrown, domestic whack job rather than an import. That sounds fucked up, I know but hear me out. Part of my reason was altruistic, and part was purely selfish, but both stem from the same logic.

I wanted the bomber to be a domestic whackadoo because we don’t lose our shit when the terrorist is white.

The altruistic part of me wanted the terrorist to be white because no white guy, even if his last name is McVeigh was ever randomly beaten up by ignorant assholes looking for revenge. I lived in Los Angeles when 9/11 happened. In the weeks after the attack, I remember seeing a cab with an American flag that was made to be displayed from your home, strapped to the antenna of his cab. And when I looked at the cab driver, I understood why; he was a Sikh. That poor bastard had to find the biggest American flag that China could manufacture to put on his cab so that he wouldn’t get the crap kicked out of him by lunatic vigilantes who couldn’t tell a Muslim from the holes in their own asses. So for that reason, for my love of humanity, I wanted the terrorist to be white. We don’t react when the terrorist is white. Does anyone think that we’re going to round up all of the Elvis impersonators in the country, and haul their sequin adorned asses down to Guantanamo for interrogation, just because an Elvis impersonator sent ricin to the president? I think not. So for the love of humanity, I wanted the terrorist to be white.

The selfish part of me wanted the terrorist to be white too. My life would have been easier because we tend to be less reactionary when the terrorist is white. Gabby Giffords was shot by a white terrorist, and I didn’t have to take off my shoes, belt, or remove my laptop from my bag because of it. Shit, I still don’t even need to go through a background check to get a gun, and I can buy as much ammo, in the biggest clip I can. Nothing changes to complicate my life when the terrorist is white.I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up a DNA swab if I want to be anywhere near a public event in the future.

So judge me as a racist if you will, but I think that a lot of you secretly agree with me. Everyone would have been better off if the terrorist were a white, homegrown, protestant whackadoo.


Oddly Ambivalent

This describes my feelings (or lack thereof) about the Bin Laden killing on Sunday. On Monday I chalked up my inexplicable numbness to shock, but I find myself at a loss to explain my lack of strong emotions three days later.

I’ve been reading and watching the reactions of Americans across the country for the past three days, and I find myself reacting to the reactions more than I do to the event itself. I suppose this has helped me to discover what I know I don’t feel.

I don’t feel compelled to condemn those who celebrate. I especially don’t feel the need to condemn the celebratory mood of Americans that were directly affected on 9/11. If you lost a family member or worse (in my opinion), have to live with the memory of watching people jump out of the twin towers, I don’t feel the right to deny you the satisfaction or healing that this may give you. Who the fuck am I to judge your pain?

I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of joy either. I don’t feel compelled to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. I also don’t feel a moral superiority over anyone that is celebrating. I don’t feel the need to diminish anyone else’s feelings with a pompous tweet or Facebook update designed to display my moral or humanitarian superiority.

Here’s the really weird one; I don’t feel compelled to use this event as a political tool. I don’t feel like lashing out at W (if someone can explain that one to me, I’d be eternally grateful). He was incompetent and worthless. We already knew that because there’s a mound of evidence proving it. George W Bush is a fucking jackass that ruined everything he ever touched, but I don’t feel like piling this failure on top of a mound that’s already taller than twin towers will accomplish anything new.

Conversely, I do feel angry when I hear anyone giving Bush credit for Bin Laden’s demise. He doesn’t deserve an ounce of credit, and telling me that he does is an assault on reason and logic. And assaulting reason and logic makes me mad. I will concede that it’s inconceivable to assert that nothing that happened during Bush’s tenure, led to the events of Sunday night. That simply doesn’t make sense. Everything that led to Bin Laden’s demise couldn’t possible have started after January 20, 2009. That’s just stupid. And if you believe this to be true, you’re unspeakably stupid. But I do know that any valuable information that was collected during Bush’s tenure, was never leveraged by the Bush administration to get the job done. We’ve seen a long history of the Bush administration’s manipulation, misunderstanding, and misuse of intelligence gathering. Bush didn’t get Bin Laden because he didn’t care to, and because he was incapable of doing it. Period. The facts speak for themselves; Bush didn’t get it done. With all that said, I’m more angry over the assault on my intelligence than I am the actual fake credit being given to Bush.

I do feel angry when people try and diminish or dismiss President Obama’s accomplishment here. It really takes a special kind of asshole to do that. You really have to be a little dead inside to be wound so tightly into a partisan knot. When your “team” mentality supersedes any kind genuine, visceral emotion, you’re just fucked up beyond what I can comprehend. I honestly don’t believe that I would have negated the very same accomplishment if it were Bush that had gotten it done. I judge people on each individual accomplishment or fuck up, independent of past accomplishments and fuck ups. We like to paint with broad brushes and either lionize or demonize across the board because doing so is easier than thinking. George W Bush is as close to a complete and total fucking loser, as any president we’ve ever seen in the history of the world. I still capable of giving him credit for not fucking up the North Korea situation. I can do this because I’m not a simpleton, and I don’t need for situations to all be black or white in order for my world view to work. If you can’t give Obama the credit he’s due, then fuck you.

My feelings all seem to be centered on issues that are ancillary to the actual event, and I’m mildly disturbed by that. So I’m going to go to ground zero tomorrow, in the hope that some of what everyone else is feeling will seep into me by osmosis.


You’ll Get Groped Because Of The Money, Lebowski

I’m traveling over the holiday, so my impending TSA grope is naturally on my mind. But before I share my views on our current state of airport molestation, I need to express my thoughts on each step that led up to this.

In the year immediately following 9/11, airport security understandably tightened considerably. I happened to have been flying a lot in the two years after 9/11. While I understood the need for tightened security, I could not understand the way we went about it. Four security check points were set up from the airport entrance to the gate. This might have made sense if the idea was to stagger the step at which everyone’s bags were screened, but that’s not how it went. I happen to have a middle eastern looking last name (probably because I’m Iranian). I don’t look middle eastern. In fact, I get mistaken for Latino, more often than not. For every single flight that I took for two years, I was “randomly selected” for “extra screening” upon showing my driver’s license. This might not have been completely nonsensical, were it not for the way it was done. I was “selected” at each of the four checkpoints between the entrance and the gate so my bag was checked four times while the other two hundred people boarding my flight carried on bags that were never checked. It was an inane and inefficient system that, in my estimation made us less “safe”.

Let me just say that I’m not opposed to racial profiling. Let me explain what I mean by that, before your head explodes. I am not opposed to scientific methods being used by trained intelligence professionals, in order to determine who merits spending our precious little resources to take a closer look at. When done correctly, racial profiling is an invaluable tool in preventing terrorism. For example, any twenty-something year old male coming in and out of the country from Yemen should be looked at by our intelligence agencies. That person is in the most likely group of people to be radicalized, and their frequent travel to the US merits taking a close look at what they’re up to. At the time of 9/11, there was predominantly one kind of terrorist; middle eastern men in their twenties.

If I’m boarding a plane in 2002 and there’s a twenty-something middle eastern man boarding my flight, I want him checked. Call me an asshole, but that’s whose bag I want checked. I don’t want the old Asian woman “specially screened” because in the history of terrorism, there has never been a seventy year old Chinese woman recruited to bomb shit. Screening her is a waste of time and resources, and the political correctness makes me less secure.

Another thing I don’t want, is to have the same bag checked four fucking times. I don’t care if the person holding that bag is in the “terrorist demographic”. When you check that guys bag four times, you’re telling me and the world that you’re fucking incompetent and you’re making me less secure.

I definitely don’t want a TSA screener profiling anyone. We’re talking about tasking someone that falls into the “unskilled labor” category with keeping our country safe. That’s just batshit crazy. These people make $27,000 a year (I know this because I spent 4 months in 2002 recruiting them), may or may not have high school diplomas, and have a grand total of two days of training for their jobs. These are not intelligence professionals. These are blue collar workers. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against blue collar workers. I’m opposed to giving blue collar workers the type of authority and autonomy that an intelligence professional has earned by investing time in obtaining an education and years training for their job. There’s a reason why we don’t make brilliant recent college grads CEOs right away. Despite their brilliance, they still need years of experience before they’re ready to run a company.

Profiling at the airport would have been understandable for a finite period of time right after 9/11. We were scrambling to improve our national security systems immediately following the biggest terrorism attack in US history. A certain amount of running around like headless chickens would have been understandable. But ten years later? That’s fucking crazy. If your terrorist has made it to the airport, you’ve already failed at keeping the country safe. Terrorism is effectively thwarted by intelligence and policing. Identifying potential terrorists and monitoring their activities before they get to the point of executing their plans is how you stop them.

We had enough credible intelligence on many of the 9/11 hijackers to indicate that they were suspicious. We failed to follow up on that intelligence. We had plenty of red flags go up on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the underwear bomber) that we failed to follow up on. The man’s father warned us about him, for fucks sake! In both of these cases, the terrorist should and could have been stopped before ever getting near an airport.

I’m not saying that securing our airports isn’t a necessary part of the equation. It is. But what we’re doing is idiotic. We need to follow the Israeli model of airport security. Here is a great article describing Israeli airport security. They don’t have the long lines and asinine procedures that we do. They don’t have a humiliating and invasive screening process. And they don’t have terrorists boarding their planes.

So why is the American approach so ass backward? Are we stupid or incompetent? Neither (well, not entirely). It’s about the money, Lebowski. We’re geing groped and humiliated because a few people are making a lot of money doing it to us. Michael Chertoff, our barely adequate former head of homeland security is among those making a tidy little profit on this whole deal. He, like everyone else that leaves government, saw an opportunity to make a shitload of money in the private sector so he started the Chertoff Group ten minutes after leaving his government job. The Chertoff Group is a “security consulting firm”. What does he mean by “security consulting firm”? He means, lobbyist for Rapiscan – you know, the company that got paid twenty-five million dollars to install full body scanners in our airports.

He’s not alone. There are dozens of former government officials vying for the hundreds of millions of dollars that are up for grabs in the airport security money trough. Are any of them interested in securing our country in the most effective possible way? No. They’re interested in the money, Lebowski. And how about the government officials that are awarding the big contracts to keep us “safe”. Are they interested in securing our country in the most effective possible way? No. They’re interested in the high paying lobbying job that’s waiting for them after they “award” a company a giant contract.

Our political system is so fucked up that it’s destroying our standing in the world, our economic stability, our national security, and our crotches.

I’m sorry, but if my being groped has to become a profit center, I should be the one making the profit. I should be able to set my terms and my price. And I should be able to pick my own gropers.

Right now I’m a $5 hand job crack whore with a pimp that takes every cent that I make. What do I get in exchange? His assurances that he’s just looking out for me. I just melt every time he whispers, “I’ll take care of you, baby. You’re my #1 ho” in my ear.


Re: The Ground Zero Mosque

If you’re a smart person, I’m not talking to you right now. This is an email I’d like to address to another demographic. Although, smart people can help me out by forwarding this to the people that you know that fit this demographic.

Dear Fucking Idiots In America,

I understand that your panties are in a bunch over a mosque that we’re planning on building at ground zero. I would like to be among the first to tell you to shut the fuck up, you ignorant bigot.

You see, your ass backward thinking is going to get me attacked, here in New York. While you wax poetic about hypothetical terrorism from your safety nest hundreds or thousands of miles away , I live with it every day. And as you propagate your ignorant, isolated views, you put me and my city in danger. I know that you don’t do this with malice, so let me educate you a little bit.

Terrorists aren’t born. They’re created. They’re recruited, and then they’re worked up to hate the purported enemy so much, that strapping a bomb onto themselves and committing suicide just to take a few of them out makes sense. Getting people worked up to the suicide bombing state takes a whole lot of demonization. You really have to frame the enemy as being a threat to all that is good and holy. If you can do that effectively, you can recruit legions of people to commit acts of terrorism until the end of time. They key is really all in the messaging. The nineteen hijackers on 9/11 were brainwashed into believing that America’s primary objective in the world is to destroy Islam. They believed that they were dying for everything that is good and holy.

When we invaded and occupied Iraq, a country that had done nothing to us, we reinforced that belief that America is out to destroy Islam so recruitment became easier. We started seeing Muslims becoming radicalized in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the UK, the US, and in Iraq, where we saw a brand new flavor of Al Qaeda emerge.

All of that happened because ignorant people got to call the shots. People that had no fucking idea about the culture in the middle east were making decisions on how best to deal with the middle east.

Let’s step back twenty years to where this all began. It really began when the Reagan administration, who were ignorant about middle east culture, decided that we needed to help Afghanistan fend off the Soviet Union. None of this was altruistic, of course. Reagan was scared shitless of the Soviet Union. So he was persuaded that going in and training and arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan was in our best interest. That was all fine and good and it worked out more or less the way the ignoramuses wanted it to in that, the Mujahideen did succeed in driving the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. It all went horribly wrong after that, when we failed to provide Afghanistan any support to rebuild their country. This created a chaotic struggle for power among various factions of Mujahideen and Islamist warlords, which subsequently gave birth to Al Qaeda.

So you see, Fucking Idiots Of America, two generations of your ignorant brethren taking action without bothering to understand what they were getting into, is what got us to 9/11.

So now that we’re here in 2010, and still dealing with this global terrorism threat thanks to ignorant people like you. I hope that, with the information I just shared, you understand why I want you to shut the fuck up.

Recruitment of terrorists continues, and we’re still in danger. It’s time to disarm the recruiters. We need to cut them off at the knees. Fighting them “over there” is ultimately what brought them “over here”, so that didn’t work.

Now we’re going to try something new. We’re going to demonstrate that we’re not out to destroy Islam, and therefore don’t rise to the level of evil that necessitates strapping a bomb to your chest. We’re going to do that by building a mosque near ground zero. We’re going to make it harder to convince some poor schmuck to commit suicide on order to kill a few of us.

I’m sorry that after all of these years, you’re too stupid to understand this tactic. But I don’t actually need you to understand it. I gave up on the hope that this was possible when you made Sarah Palin your poster girl. I just need you to shut the fuck up, and stop providing fodder for the recruitment of future terrorists. Accept the fact that we’re going to build a mosque near ground zero for the primary purpose of demonstrating that your dumb ass doesn’t represent America.

You don’t think of New York as “the real America” anyway. You can’t shun us one day, and them presume to tell us what to do the next. We’re not within your border so shut the fuck up.

You can be ignorant, bigoted, and small if you want to but do it quietly. I just want to be safe.