Peggy Noonan Comes to Gates of Vienna

Well, not really. But it sure sounds like she’s been sitting in on the dinner table discussions with Dymphna and me:

     Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn’t think so.
…people sense when an institution is overwhelmed. Citizens know. If we had a major terrorist event tomorrow half the country — more than half — would not trust the federal government to do what it has to do, would not trust it to tell the truth, would not trust it, period.

You go, girl. Speak truth to power!

One of the most dangerous threats we face is the erosion of public confidence in the institutions charged with protecting us. When government officials plainly lie to the public — see Annie Jacobsen’s story or the Able Danger fiasco — even law-abiding, dedicated, and public-spirted citizens begin to doubt all statements coming from the government. It doesn’t matter if only one percent, or one hundredth of one percent, of official pronouncements are lies. The tiny bit of leaven is in the dough, and the loaf rises.

And then, down the road, when the next big attack comes — and almost all of us believe it’s coming — then… Well, what will happen then?


A spokesman for the president told reporters that he was confident that the Department of Homeland Security had the situation under control, and that the investigation was continuing. As of this point, no connection between any known terrorist group and the attackers could be established.

Meanwhile, Manhattan authorities report that the death toll has risen past 150,000, and that the cloud of radiation has moved across the East River to…

It’s a dangerous and depressing when you have a government that’s stuck on “Trust Us.”

11 thoughts on “Peggy Noonan Comes to Gates of Vienna

  1. Baron, you’re hitting the nail on the head and giving me a massive migraine with that bit about the officil line in your “fast forward” being that “we’re not sure who did this.”

    The media just does not want to admit Islamic terror if they can blame it on someone else.

    Russia? Where those muslims shot those kids in the heads and back as they fled? The media refused to report the “activists” were muslim.

    The left, the media, and even the damned Bush government will likely withhold the evidence from the public that the next terror mass-muder of Americans was committed by muslims.

    Sickening that our government feels we’re not smart enough to handle the truth. Forget the left – they’ve never felt the public is smart enough to handle the truth.

    What will the “magic” number be? How “grim” will the number have to look? How “shocking” or “sobering” will the casualty count have to be before we admit we have a visible enemy and that survival means them or us?

    Platitudes will not make the muslims “go away.” The election of a democratic president will not make the muslims “go away.”

    This is going to get worse; we all know it.

  2. baron, what an excellent article in so few words. My hat (cap, I’m a southern dude) is off to you. As a matter of fact, I wish I’d said that!

  3. bill, I concur. But when that radioactive cloud starts rolling, no amount of government spin is going to prevent a massive backlash from the citizens of America (or Britain or Australia) against their resident muslims.
    And if any of those governments attempt to stop that once its underway things will get very ugly indeed.

  4. I really don’t understand why our officials continue to play the role of the Wizard, you know, “Ignore that man behind the curtain”. After all, we know that the man is muslim. At least, he’s never been shown to be Asian, or perhaps an elderly Swedish grandmother with one leg.

    But our government knows this too. It’s the backlash they fear, and I suspect they don’t know the threshold that will trigger that backlash. Nor do they know if they can control that backlash once it gets underway. Perhaps we are watching a government attempting to divine that increment.

    Which begs the question – what is the increment, or increments between 9/11 and, say, that smoking hole in Manhattan with 100,000 deaths?

    Is it 5,000, 25,000, or 60,000?

    Or will it merely be 150 at a shopping mall? Or a football stadium?

  5. I lost all trust in the government in September 2001. I was on a short trip to Minneapolis, departing on the 8th on a United flight and returning on the 12th. On the flight from AZ to Denver there was a very agitated man pacing back and forth in first class. He made me nervous, but I didn’t know why. There were other odd things about that flight which I’ll probably never know the answers to. I connected to my Minneapolis flight and he was not on board. After being stuck in Minneapolis 5 days longer than I intended I finally returned to Arizona. I am outraged that the government knew of possible terrorists attacks against airlines and said nothing to the public. I think we have the right to that information and can make our own decisions based on it. Information about the incident in Oklahoma (suicide bomber) has been shut down to the public. Then they wonder why no one trusts the government?

  6. “And if any of those governments attempt to stop that once its underway things will get very ugly indeed.”

    Kieth…in your scenario, it already got ugly. A backlash against any group because of the actions of some people who happen to fit that demographic is the root of genocide.

    That is why we need a government we can trust to be strong ANTI TERROR; not anti muslim or anti Iraqi or anti anything that is a matter of birth and not action.

    wrongful actions are not the monopoly of any one religion or ethnic group, as a dozen genocides in the last century showed…the vast majority of which were not by muslims.

  7. “wrongful actions are not the monopoly of any one religion or ethnic group”
    Yet the fact remains that a radioactive cloud over a Western city will almost certainly be the result of radical muslim actions.
    In which case I wouldn’t regard a massive backlash against all muslims as a “very ugly” scenario. If my loved ones were fried by these people I’d have absolutely no interest in trying to work out which were innocent muslims and which were those who supported the act.
    The religion itself promotes and preaches jihad, therefore the religion and it’s adherents are the enemies of Western civilisation.

  8. Some weeks ago, I had two contributions to a comment thread at American Digest. That particular thread was in response to Gerard’s brilliant presentation of a possible nuclear event in San Diego. I predicted the backlash and received some confirmation of my intuitions. I have since read in other blogs and comment threads similar predictions.

    If there is another Jihadist terrorist event in this country, kiss tolerance, political correctness, and religious freedom goodbye. There won’t be a mosque left standing, and anyone wearing a hajib will be done-for.

    Sad to say, any “moderate” moslem that was more afraid to speak up against jihad because of fear of the jihadists’ retaliation will find that the retaliation of Americans is far more severe. We don’t like fence sitters when the situation is abundantly clear.

    I also predict that all these intellectuals that preach tolerance or side with the enemy will suddenly discover that words have consequences.

    And it won’t make a bit of difference what the government tries to do.

  9. We’ve got two Bills on this thread now. In this particular case, I’m talking to Bill Keezer (Il Duce can kibitz if he want to, though).

    It seems that a lot of people feel the same way you do. That’s why I think the feckless lying and incompetence in the government is so dangerous. The people in charge are either stupid, or cynical, or short-sighted, or some combination of all three.

  10. Mostly, I’m in agreement with what you say here. However, on the specifics of Annie Jacobsen, I haven’t seen anything that would convince me that she wasn’t just the victim of an overly-sensitive panic sensor. She comes across to me very differently (in a less-credible way, I mean) than do folks like James Woods or the people around Tacoma, WA who had some contact with the Beltway Snipers when they were here.

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