Daily Kos: ISIS ‘Politicians’ Are No Threat to U.S., So ‘Stop Freaking Out’ About Them

In a Sunday-morning post, Daily Kos blogger Mark Sumner argued that the “threat ISIS represents to the United States” is “[e]xactly none” and urged us not to overreact now the way we supposedly did after 9/11 and consequently “hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden's victories.”

Besides, Sumner remarked, everyday food additives may be more lethal than jihadists: “You could probably make a compelling case that corn syrup is more deadly to Americans than all the terrorists who ever lived.”

From Sumner’s post (bolding added):

You know how much threat ISIS represents to the United States? None. That's how much. Exactly none. If there was a value less than none, then it would be that, but there's not, so none is the answer…

You know what ISIS is? A bunch of politicians. People trying to build a power base. A bunch of guys who understand, as politicians have grasped since Sargon handed out blocks of cuneiform about how he really kicked Ur-Zababa's Akkadian ass, that war extends beyond swords, guns, tanks, and bombs. It includes press releases on really nice stationery, scratchy cassette tapes from a fictional cave, videos of old dudes walking in the mountains.

Of course James Foley's death is a tragedy. Of course it was a barbaric act. Of course the English Leather-scented narration was intended to generate a frisson of "Oh, they sound so civilized while acting so evil." Of fucking course it was meant to scare us.

Here's the super-secret strategy on how to handle it: Don't act scared…

The day before 9/11, al-Qaeda had a well-defined leadership structure, bank accounts around the world, a country where they were welcome to set up their terrorist jungle gyms, and dreams of world conquest. How much of that is left?...

Still, you can't say that al-Qaeda wasn't extremely successful. Not at killing Americans.We managed more of that in Iraq. We manage to kill more Americans every year by refusing to wear helmets when we ride motorcycles. You could probably make a compelling case that corn syrup is more deadly to Americans than all the terrorists who ever lived.


Nope, where al-Qaeda really scored was in their ability to get us to hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden's victories.

That giant armored car in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and the 7,000+ machine guns local police now have on hand to point at American citizens? That's al-Qaeda's big win. That's the win we gave bin Laden. Because we were scared…

...But what if some of the people in ISIS…are insane? Maybe they are. Probably some are. Though likely not the leadership, because insane people tend to not be so good at the logistics needed to march an army halfway across two countries. But even if they are all high-functioning nut jobs, so what? Louie Gohmert is demonstrably insane, but that doesn't mean I have to have my own armored car. They won't do anything, because they can't.

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson is a contributing writer for NewsBusters