No kidding — and it’s not just the Americans who are starting to realize it. Former ABC reporter and Nightline anchor Ted Koppel told David Gregory on Meet the Press yesterday that the US overreacted to the threat, and that this isn’t the first time, either. “Can you imagine a day, David,” Koppel asks, “when we’ll be without that [TSA] bureaucracy?”
“Terrorism is simply the weapon by which the weak engage the strong,” Koppel said. “They cause the strong—in this case us—to overreact. We are the ones who went into Iraq and spent about a trillion and a half dollars doing it, losing 4,500 men and women, god knows how many tens of thousands injured. We are the ones who created a bureaucracy. The TSA has what—57,000 people operating within the TSA? Can you imagine a day when we will ever be without that bureaucracy? All imposed upon ourselves.”
Koppel also notes that the only embassy to remain shuttered is in Sana’a, Yemen — hardly a vote of confidence in our war-on-terror partner there. Shouldn’t the US have worked with the governments of these allies to strengthen security rather than bail out, Koppel wonders, as a show of force instead of a vote of no-confidence?
“We just had the president of Yemen here for a meeting with President Obama,” Koppel continued. “He goes back feeling wonderful about his new relationship with the president. Next thing the president does is says, in effect, ‘Sorry we don’t trust you Yemenese to protect our embassies.’ So in effect we shut down our embassies, we have an emergency evacuation. What does that do to our relationship in the rest of North Africa, what does that do to our relationship in the Middle East, with all of these governments?”
“The terrorists have achieved more with one phone call than we have achieved with all our response,” Koppel said.
Color the Yemenis unimpressed too, McClatchy’s Adam Baron reports:
The United States’ launching of eight drone strikes in Yemen in the span of 13 days has ignited widespread outrage in the country.
The anger over the strikes, which came as an al Qaida-related threat shuttered U.S. embassies and consulates in Yemen and 15 other countries, has overwhelmed attention to the threat itself, which many here view skeptically anyway.
“In the end, I think the American reaction has been far more than has been reasonable,” said Abdulghani al Iryani, a Sanaa-based political analyst. “It comes off almost as a show of strength. But, ultimately, it may end up backfiring, as al Qaida is getting more attention now than they would have even if they carried out an attack.”