Great job Herb, and spot on.
We're not in a war. If we were, it would be a war against mental illness.
Every time a terrorist incident breaks, I can't help feeling I'm being sold a dud bill of goods by the media and those on the right so eager to stoke up the "War on Terror".
Whether it's horrors like Oklahoma or Fort Hood perpetrated by home-grown wackjobs, or Taliban wannabes trying to blow up Times Square, it's not war. It's just the unhinged rage of crazy guys wreaking 'revenge' on society.
Terrorists might convince themselves and others they're on ideological missions. They may even hook up with full-blown terror groups - those various ethnic crime syndicates with political or religious back-stories - to feel all self-righteous. But on a personal level, they're just acting out mental breakdowns. So for us to prattle witlessly about war like there's some vast army marching on America is redundant bullsh*t. It doesn't get anyone anywhere... aside from boosting cable news ratings and conservative approval numbers.
A cursory glance at the life of Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad shows that he fits the usual profile:
1. Rich brat with an education
2. Unlucky in life (i.e., wife left him, house foreclosed, etc.)
3. Went radical because he was mad with society and looking for a cause to legitimize his anger
Shahzad's is the life story of almost every dangerous loon who's ever raised a hand against us as a society. From Ted Kazinsky through Osama bin Laden, from Timothy McVeigh to the ill-fated underpants bomber... they all have so much in common they could date on eHarmony.
So can't we ask constructive questions about how we contain our alienated, angry nutjobs instead of talking about a war on terror that's nothing more than political and media hype?
Terrorism = mental health issues writ large and we ignore them at our peril. But we do because we don't like hard problems. Better to just declare a war where everything is black and white, us v. them, no thought required.