Al-Qaeda Targets Smokey Bear in Terror Plot

'They hate our forests,' explains Woody Woodchuck.

This past Saturday marked a personal first for me. Fox News Channel, rather than disgusting me to the point of cursing and silencing the TV, actually made me laugh. I mean really laugh. Out loud. For those of you who haven't yet heard it, allow me to let you in on the joke (because surely, this has to be a joke):

According to our friends at State-TV, the latest 'terrorist threat to America ' involves a plot not to kill, not to maim, and not to destroy any critical infrastructure, but to set forest fires out in the middle of nowhere. That's right, forest fires. In the middle of nowhere. It's to be quite an intricate operation, too, according to the FBI. Apparently, 'our' government's decision to do away with those pesky 200 year-old requirements regarding warrants, probable cause, access to counsel, due process and public trials have done such a good job of containing all those 'Al-Qaeda sleeper cells' here in America (they're everywhere, you know) that our invisible enemy is planning on bringing in some people from outside the country (trained in Iraq by Saddam Hussein himself, no doubt) to commit these arsons; a team of three or four operatives, to be exact (or so the story goes). Oh, and they'll be planting sophisticated time bombs out there in the woods, too. The timers, of course, are so the boogeymen can safely escape the country (probably to Liberia ) before the fires are actually ignited. What diabolical genius!

(On a related note, I expect any day now to hear that the ASPCA has been dissolved. Now that animals can reasonably be named potential victims of terror as well, there's no point in campaigning for their rights, either.)

Now seriously, people, does anyone really believe this? Tighten that slack-jaw, breathe through your nose, turn off the TV, and let's think about this for a minute, shall we? Assuming for a moment that 'Al-Qaeda' really is some third-party terrorist organization (as opposed to, say, US and Israeli intelligence assets), do you honestly think that they'd take the risk of sneaking three or four operatives into (and back out of) this country for the sole purpose of constructing and planting time bombs to be detonated out in some forest, far from civilization? Is that how 'Al-Qaeda' typically operates? No human casualties, no damaged infrastructure, no disruption of civil or governmental operations . . . just forest fires? If these guys really did train in Iraq, no wonder it took only three weeks for 'us' to take Baghdad (as much as Baghdad can be considered 'taken,' anyway); sounds like pretty weak sauce to me.

Listen, John Q. Public, 'Al-Qaeda' (whoever they really are) doesn't have any plans of the sort, you can be sure of that. It would accomplish nothing; and wouldn't be worth the risk and resources. If 'they' are really planning to sneak in here and start planting bombs, it's not going to be out in the woods somewhere, believe me. What we have here instead, my friends, is another classic case of government fear-mongering propaganda, and it isn't quite as silly as it appears on the surface, either. My first thought when I heard this laughable report was that the real terrorists, the people in Washington whose job it is to keep us in a state of fear, must be running out of ideas if they're so desperate as to try and put a ridiculous tale such as this one over on us. But I was wrong; it's not ridiculous at all. It's actually brilliant, and will serve its purpose quite well. It has planted another seed of fear and doubt in the American consciousness. Silly though the story itself may be, the past two years have well demonstrated the effectiveness of trigger-words like 'terrorist' and 'Al-Qaeda.' The stories themselves are unimportant; nobody pays attention to details anymore, they just hear the trigger-words, an emotional response is created, and the propaganda has done its trick.

Think about it (you did turn off that TV, right?). It's summer time, there are record temperatures in Arizona right now, and indeed, there are already wildfires raging out west--just like there are every year at about this time. How many hundreds of thousands of acres of woodland were burned in wildfires last summer? The summer before? The summer before that? Starting to get the picture yet? Now every time there's a new wildfire out west, that little voice in the back of your mind is supposed to say, 'Hmm, I wonder if the terrorists did it?' Just in case you're a little too rational to think that up on your own, rest assured that your faithful State-TV presstitutes will remind you to think it; they'll be sure to nurture that fear and doubt for you (or should I say, for the State?) Every new wildfire reported on State-TV will now mention 'the T word,' wait and see.

'So far, authorities say they have no reason to suspect terrorism . . . .'

How many times a week do we already hear that phrase? Be it a train derailment, a gas-line explosion, a water-main break, or even a flu epidemic, we are constantly reminded of 'the terrorist threat,' of the 'imminent danger' we're all supposedly in. That's called conditioning, folks. It's textbook psychological manipulation. There doesn't even have to be a real terror attack, as long as there's always the question, as long as 'the T word' keeps getting mentioned on a daily basis, the end result is the same: FEAR and SUBSERVIENCE.

Likewise, no matter who you personally think 'the terrorists' really are, or who really is behind them, once again the end result is still the same: YOU LOSE, THEY WIN. You've been told that these terrorists 'hate your freedom,' that they want to destroy the much-touted 'American way of life.' Hasn't that already happened? Aren't you just about back to where your ancestors were when they were under the Crown of King George? Are you still reasonably guaranteed not to wind up in a jail cell somewhere just because you've committed no crime? Are you still entitled to tell the police or the FBI to go bugger off if they show up at your home without a warrant? If you do find yourself in a cell somewhere, are you still guaranteed the right to speak to an attorney, to let someone know where you are, and most importantly, the right to a trial to prove your innocence?

The answer to all of the above questions is 'NO,' you are no longer guaranteed any of those rights. Perhaps you didn't notice; perhaps you were too busy being scared of 'the terrorists' to realize that 'they' (whoever 'they' may be) have already destroyed said much-touted American way of life. Actually, they haven't destroyed anything (other than perhaps a few buildings); at least not if you believe 'they' to be Middle Eastern fanatics. They don't get to vote in Congress, or sign laws on the White House rose garden. 'Your' government changed all those things, in case you were too busy being frightened to notice. How and why did 'they' do it? That's simple: you were afraid. You were too afraid to speak out, too afraid to stand up to 'your' government, too afraid to talk to your friends, family and neighbors, too afraid to point out the hypocrisy and evils of restricting liberty and calling it the defense of freedom, too afraid that 'the terrorists' you keep hearing about were going to somehow take from you that which the State had already stolen at its first opportunity to do so. You're still afraid, aren't you?

If you really care about liberty, or even if you're one of those 'my country, right or wrong' people and you really care about ' America the Free,' the only thing you should be afraid of is the judgment of history. As has been said before, at some point in the not-so distant future, scholars will look upon the era we're in right now as a great turning point in American history. Two hundred years of relative safety from at least some tyrannical abuses have gone right out the window, and few of us have so much as blinked, because 'they' haven't come for you or I . . . yet.

Will you raise your children and grandchildren to live as serfs, to never know the sanctity of private property and the right to due process? Will you be able to look them in the eye and tell them that YOU had those things when YOU grew up, but that 'times changed,' and that YOU did nothing, because YOU were too afraid to act? If so, will those children look upon you with pride, or with shame? Will you raise your children to be cowards, to accept tyranny? The tyrant's greatest weapon is fear, yet it's also the weapon most easily defeated. Choose not to be afraid, and the rest will come easily.

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Andy Henke's picture
Columns on STR: 11

Andy Henke is 27 and lives in East Tennesse.