Why U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts Are Misguided

Tennessee Mule Day a Bin Laden Target
Tennessee believes Osama bin Laden will attack the Mule Day Parade. Indiana thinks its popcorn factory is a target.

To fight the “war on terrorism,” the U.S. Air Force has given away US$450,000 to a group of scientists to study blogs. Early conclusions are startling:

Blog entries have a different structure. They are typically short and are about something external to the blog posting itself, such as a news event. It’s not uncommon for a blogger to simply state, “I can’t believe this happened,” and then link to a news story.

I can’t believe this happened!.

There is more. The Homeland Security Department counts a petting zoo, a poker club, a popcorn factory and car dealerships as potential terrorist targets. See the complete list below.

A while back, the Homeland Security Department asked the 50 states and territories to submit critical assets that could be potential terrorist targets. The inspector general at D.H.S. called the following submissions “out of place.”

  • 4 Cs Fuel and Lube
  • A Restaurant
  • A Travel Stop
  • A state Community College
  • A state Right to Life Committee
  • A university Insect Zoo
  • American Legion
  • American Society of Young Musicians (Beverly Hills, California)
  • Amish Country Popcorn (Berne, Indiana)
  • Anti-Cruelty Society (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Apple and Pork Festival (Clinton, Illinois)
  • Association for the Jewish Blind
  • Assyrian American Association (Modesto, California)
  • Auto Shop
  • Bakery & Cookie Shop
  • Bass Pro Shop
  • Beach at End of a Street
  • Bean Fest
  • Bourbon Festival
  • Brewery
  • Car Dealerships
  • Casket Company
  • Center for Veterinary Medicine
  • DPW Landfill
  • Donut Shop
  • Elevator Company
  • Frontier Fun Park (Fairbury, Nebraska)
  • Groundhog Zoo
  • Heritage Groups
  • High Stakes Bingo
  • Historical Bok Sanctuary (Lake Wales, Florida)
  • Ice Cream Parlor
  • Inn
  • Jay’s Sporting Goods (Clare, Michigan)
  • Kangaroo Conservation Center (Dawsonville, Georgia)
  • Kennel Club and Poker Room
  • Mail Boxes Etc
  • Mall at Sears
  • Mule Day Parade (Columbia, Tennessee)
  • Muzzle Shoot Enterprise
  • Nestle Purina Pet food Plant
  • Night clubs
  • Nix’s Check Cashing
  • Old MacDonald’s petting zoo
  • Order of Elks National Memorial
  • Parcel Shop
  • Pepper and Herb Company
  • Pepsi Bottlers
  • Petting Zoo
  • Property Owners Associations
  • Psychiatry Behavioral Center
  • Rolls Royce Plant
  • Sears Auto Center
  • Several Wal-Marts
  • Sports Club
  • Sweetwater Flea Market (Sweetwater, Tennessee)
  • Tackle Shop
  • Theological Seminary
  • Trees of Mystery
  • UPS Store
  • Veterinary Clinic
  • Wine and Coffee Co.
  • YMCA Center
  • Yacht Repair Business

Indiana, which may be going for either a publicity stunt or a stupidity award, has submitted 8,591 “assets,” more than any other state. Why Al-Qa’ida or a similar terrorist group would strike a popcorn factory is unclear. Even stranger is the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tennessee. At least the parade has now made international news.

As for the “beach at the end of a street,” whichever state was responsible for this submission should know that it is a target as attractive as “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”

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