Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Muellerfollowed today with a press conference, complete with photographs and descriptions of seven individuals whom they believe to be terrorists. Ashcroft said that Al Qaeda plans to "hit the United Stateshard." He said high-profile events this summer like the upcoming G-8 summit and the political conventions provide "especially attractive targets." But "soft targets" such as shopping malls have also beenmentioned. And let's not forget the possibility of chemical or biological weapons.
At a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday, one of the officials said that this climate of fear, of color-codedalerts, of frequent on-guard-for-terrorism announcements is the "new normal" for life in the 21st century.
Of course, there are no details about where, when or how this attack might occur ... onlythat it might. So we should all be afraid. Very afraid. Oh, but wait--the federal and state governments have said not to be afraid, to go about our daily lives, our usual business, just stay alert foranything that looks out of the ordinary.
What looks out of the ordinary is the whole world right now. There is nothing "normal" about living in fear. I don't want to get used to that; I don't want toaccept that things have careened so wildly out of control, fear is our reality and our legacy. I realize that we need to be told if there is any indication that terrorists are planning to doanything. (Remember when "chatter" was an innocent word for shallow conversation, not a spy word with frightening implications?) I certainly don't want my government to withhold or minimize information. But...