Wherein Fr. Z muses about political impact of today’s terror-related news

As I do household chores, I am tuned in to frenzied news coverage of the various terrorist-related bombs, bomb scares or trial runs in the USA and London, connected with Dubai and Yemen.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is suspected.

One comment I heard about this possible attack was a reminder that Al Qaeda will time attempts to connect to special dates or to create an effect on other date-related events.

For example, some years ago an attack in Spain had an effect in a change of government and bringing Zapatero to power.

If there was – this is of course conjecture – a desire to affect the US midterm elections, along the line of the attack in Spain, what could that mean?

The Spanish attack destabilized the incumbent government.

POST YOUR COMMENTThe Obama Administration has been trying to “reach out”.   If this new activity has any effect at all on political pre-election affairs and perceptions in the USA, the Democrats clearly will NOT benefit.  Republicans are seen as being more hawkish on security, less likely to want to play nice with Islam, or bow to Saudi rulers.

If any party would benefit from a shift in public opinion about who may be more willing to apply stronger security for the USA and take a harder line, it will be the Republican Party.

If countries with Islamic governments do not move swiftly to cooperate in investigating and hunting down people who made this trial run, or whatever it is, then we will see that the White House’s overtures have not had any effect.  (We can’t expect that Al Qaeda would be impressed by anything Pres. Obama did.  Governments should be another matter.)

Anyway, I am opining, that is clear.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. rakesvines says:

    If the multiple attacks succeeded, then the White House can suspend elections and even impose martial law – for security. That can buy the Democrats time to regroup. And if the martial law becomes bearable, then who knows, how long Obama will hold on to power. His planned trip to India may be a ruse to show that he wasn’t expecting anything to happen. I am just conjecturing. But I’ve seen martial law abroad. And Obama is desperate to push his grand scheme to transform this country.

    But the attacks were foiled, thanks to God. That part, I believe.

  2. chironomo says:

    I too have been following the news all day… while doing household chores, mowing the lawn, folding laundry and tending to children on a “Teacher In-Service Day” while they have no school. Your analysis is accurate. This kind of event would do more to harm the administration, not help it, so it would seem to be done in spite of Obama’s “outreach”, which is really of no consequence to the terrorists anyway.

    Rakesvines… even if the attacks had “suceeded” (blown up a cargo plane? wow…) even in part, I think it would take something a bit more serious to warrant suspending elections, and a declaration of Martial Law would be so transparent as to the real reason that any benefit gained from a “delay” would be offset by the backlash from the popular opposition (Tea Party, etc…) and cause even bigger losses when the election eventually took place. And then there’s the resulting Constitutional crisis which could result from an illegitimate congress come January….

  3. Frank_Bearer says:

    Booga booga booga!

    There were no attack to be foiled because there was no attack.

    This has nothing to do with party, it has to do with keeping the power elites in power.

    Obama has the EXACT same SecDef as Bush and the EXACT same JCS.

    This is as fake a stunt as the Times Square “bomber” who had a children’s alarm clock taped to a bag of Scott’s Turf-builder+.

    Stay afraid of the imaginary boogeymen and they will continue to control you. Again – it’s not about party, it’s about control.

  4. Penta says:

    ….Charity might be in order, here. We could do worse than presuming Obama et al. didn’t plan this, and are more dignified than to use it for partisan advantage.

    Just once, y’know, not looking for conspiracy theories and running around presuming martial law will be declared like tin-hatted lunatics.

    Or is it wrong to hope for sanity?

  5. acroat says:

    Notice the hush hush about the terrorist who attacked during Obama’s watch…Ft Hood. Oh, how un pc of me. Last heard he Is hidden away in San Antonio, TX.

  6. Jacob says:

    1. I haven’t read about the connection with Dubai. Don’t get your hopes up in expecting Yemen to seriously collaborate with the US in investigating this. The Yemeni have no history of aiding the US expect when threatened. This goes back before Bush to Clinton and USS Cole.

    2. I don’t expect this to have any effect on the election either helping or hurting the Democrats. The administration is appearing to be on top of this more so than it was the Underwear Bomber or the Times Square attempt.

    3. Obama doesn’t need martial law at this point. He and the Democrats have gotten in Healthcare and all they have to do is sit back and wait for the Republicans to not follow through on their campaign promises. If Healthcare isn’t seriously chopped down or defunded, the job of enslaving the US population will be done.

  7. smcollinsus says:

    I would not go so far as to say this was a hoax set up by Obama behind the scenes – that’s just too far. And I’m not sure this was serious enough to justify martial law, or that he could get away with that. But, somehow, his watch managed to find and threat and defuse it, just before elections. The comparison will be 911, when we were under Bush, and failed to catch anything suspiscious going on. I’m only afraid that this incident will help the dems on Tuesday. The reps are more hawkish, but had nothing to do with this.

  8. gambletrainman says:

    Sorry, Father, but I must agree with you. I don’t trust Obama any further than I can throw, and, being disabled, I can’t throw far at all. A lot of people, especially Catholics, want “charity” to prevail, and won’t raise a “stink” because charity demands we should just pat each other on the back, sit down at the table, have a cup of coffee, and talk about our differences.

    True Catholic charity also involves justice when it has to be done, and, for the last few years, we have been too soft on terrorists—and they know it, which is why they’re bold enough to try anything. Even if they get caught, they know they will get a slap on the wrist, compared to what would meted out it their homeland should any one of us try the same thing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating the “round-up-anybody-you-can-get-because-they-look-like-they-might-try” attitude, but look at how lenient we’ve been since 9-11. It’s true, Christ said to “turn the other cheek”, and forgive “seventy times seven”, but at the same time, I don’t think He would want you to give up your homeland just because you’re nice to your enemies.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    I do believe that if anyone does not think that POTUS would not use any excuse for martial law, then I think that person does not understand the post-modernist politician. The PMP does not believe in “nationhood”, “boundaries”, “civic duty”, or even “citizenship”, as these are all, to him, the post-modernist politician, antiquated views of humans based on natural law and 2,000 plus years of Western Civilization-no longer valued or seen as necessary to the subjective nature of the PMP’s agenda. The entire idea that a global economy or a global anything is superior to the older ideas of sovereignty, based on such “old” ideas as loyalty to a government or king, loyalty to one’s God, and care of one’s neighbor.

    Americans have crossed the Rubicon by electing this man, and he will use terrorist plots for his own advantage, and change how he uses such information to suit the PM view of the world.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    forgot an “is”-my curry is not as good as I wanted it to be for dins this evening and half the family is ill.

  11. Jim Dorchak says:

    Another fine reason to move to South America!
    This was a trumped up use of a likely common occurance! “o” should be eviced for his miss managment of a threat. (just like he has poorly managed all muslim threats). We should never have let them know that we knew they sent the packages. It was bad to let them know that we are or in this case were on to them. (a real man would have sent them back marked “Return to Sender”)
    They are political morons who have put us in more danger for their marxist progressive agenda.

    Sorry it is the truth.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    oh my goodness, people not ill from the curry, but from some sinusitis virus.

    May I add that ever since I first saw POTUS in the Illinois race not so many years ago, I knew he could not be trusted with the values we all believe in so strongly. Let us not forget what church he went to for almost twenty years; one based on the idea that the black race are the chosen people of God, not the Jews, and that Israel should be exterminated. POTUS is soft on Islamism because he sat and listened to ranting against the Jews for reasons known to those who hold black liberation theology. Here is a quotation from the “inventor” of black liberation theology. Rev. “James Cone, the father of black liberation theology and a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, said Wright has taken his work a step further. In fact, Wright has generated what Cone considers valid critiques of his work.”

    “I would regard Jeremiah Wright’s church as the really contemporary embodiments of all the things I’ve tried to say,” Cone said.
    And I add that, black liberation theology is why POTUS supports the Muslim countries, as he sees them as oppressed by the West. Black liberation theology make Jesus into a divider of rich and poor, oppressor and oppressed. From Wiki-” Black Liberation Theology contends that dominant cultures have corrupted Christianity, and the result is a mainstream faith-based empire that serves its own interests, not God’s. Black Liberation Theology asks whose side should God be on – the side of the oppressed or the side of the oppressors. If God values justice over victimization, then God desires that all oppressed people should be liberated. According to Cone, if God is not just, if God does not desire justice, then God needs to be done away with. Liberation from a false god who privileges whites, and the realization of an alternative and true God who desires the empowerment of the oppressed through self-definition, self-affirmation, and self-determination is the core of Black Liberation Theology.”

    This is why some of the rhetoric from POTUS has been inflammatory (Latinos vs. “enemies”) and why he apologizes for American’s greatness. He honestly believes we are oppressors. In addition, black liberation theologians believe that Christ was not Caucasian, which Semites are, as well as Arabs. By claiming Christ is black, the black liberation theologian merges with the post-modernist politician in wanting to destroy Western Civilization.

    I wish I was making this up, but this type of thinking is found in the inner core of POTUS’ advisers, and as a Fox commentator said this week, one cannot imagine the president immune to twenty years of Wright’s black liberation theology.

  13. Jim Dorchak says:



    You are so on it.

  14. moon1234 says:

    Also agree with tthe stage terror attacks. Every time I hear these I now think “Staged Terror Attack”.

    The muslim countries are not stupid. They KNOW that any type of REAL attack will result in massive military response. This leaves only staged attacks and fringe elements.

    For those who say this country would never do that here are some ADMITTED or proven false flag attacks to allow the US military to invade or attack another country:
    – Gulf of Tonkin (The reason this country used to enter the Vietnam war)
    – Attack on USS liberty during seven days war. (The attempt by this country to enter the seven days on the side of Isreal; who attacked the US liberty and the President ordered to allow it to sink until a RUSSIAN patrol boat responded to the USS liberty’s disress call after the President ordered US ships to NOT assist the liberty)
    – Iran/Iraq War: US armed Iran and put in the Shah. When ayatollah Khomeini siezed power he had the best western military equipment at his Disposal. This lead to the US supplying weapons to Saddam Husein. This finally lead to the Iran/Iraq war where both sides were armed by the US.

    Anyone who thinks that Obama is above using false flag terror attacks to supress the American people really needs a wakeup call. We need a third party that is willing to toss all of these corporate politicians out in the cold and end all of this socially and culturally destructive crap that has been coming out of washington.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    Would a real terror attack lead to POTUS’ party being in power or a GOP House for sure? Dems are notoriously incompetent on foreign affairs and even a bogus terror attack could realign the voting in favor of the GOP.

    If POTUS wants to completely stop the democratic process, I suppose he could declare martial law with some bogus threat, but I do not think he really needs to concoct those. Not all terrorists are equal and some are smarter than others-remember the Shoe Bomber?

    The suspicious packages on the UPS planes from Yemen, and the bomb found on the plane in London from the same source, were headed to synagogues in Chicago. I can imagine a jihad website stating that these are all connected to a “Zionist Plot”.

  16. Ed the Roman says:

    When is the last time that federal martial law was declared?

    Who is going to actually DO it? Not the Army and the Marines – there aren’t enough of them. Same with the FBI.

    It’s not going to happen.

  17. Jim Dorchak says:

    Ed the Roman

    Yes I sure do agree with you.

    My family, back in the days, were wrong in Russia when those silly little communists threw thier revolt, becasue that could have never happened either. (that is why many Dorchaks are dead right now and the ones that are living thought better!) Sometimes chicken little is right and it never hurts to hid in the barn for a day or so. Afterall the communist we now have in power in the USA are new and improved, and yes look around there are enough of them. Approximtely 2/3 of the american people now are on the dole in some (even small) way, and those who are not are being forced to take what they niether need or want.

  18. catholicmidwest says:

    Good write-up, Fr Z. You are correct, in principle, about who might benefit, or not, from an international terror incident. The Democrats are soft (they’re oblivious!) on this and it is one of my big beefs with them. They, most egregiously, deny that there is something, this latest being just one more example of that something, we should be on guard against. This attitude is just idiotic and misplaced. *Never in the history of the human race has it been the case that there is no intrigue that produces mortal enemies. [ Or that there is intrigue and it does not produce mortal enemies.] Why should it be so now?*

    Life 101 for those who are bereft of sense or have had it schooled out of them: We have enemies. Everyone has enemies. Having enemies is normal. If you want to continue to exist, you have to hold enemies at bay. Even the worms know this.

    Moreover, it is demonstrable and evident who these enemies are, all political pandering aside. Those who want to destroy us or manipulate us are our enemies. Hello, good morning. The alarm clock has gone off.

    Now, as an aside, I have to tell you that the careless attitude about our foes is not limited to the Democrat side. All forms of modern political discourse have some problems in this regard, simply because they are all progressive in their own way by virtue of being modern. You do know, I trust, that conservatives are just progressives with regrets, meaning they do the same things only slower, and sometimes for different reasons, but they often get to the same place together anyway. To wit, conservatives have a pernicious and erroneous concept of globalism that is just as likely to destroy everything in sight too, if they are allowed to carry it off another day. BUT, don’t get me wrong. I think the Republican side is distinctly and clearly the correct choice this year because of things that are far, far bigger than party affiliation. But they aren’t some kind of “magic panacea.”

    Nevertheless, you are still correct. The Democrats only stand to lose amongst the many people who can still connect a few dots. And the dots are very easy to see this year so there are more people able to connect them. It’s a good consequence of a bad situation, I expect.

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Ed the Roman,

    Much of my family disappeared, and all our European property was taken by the Soviets. My great-grandfather, one of the signers of the Czechoslovakian Declaration of Independence, prophesied Hitler’s distruction, and very few people listened. Those who do not pay attention are doomed to suffer.

    Some of my friends got out of Serbia and Croatia, only after losing, that is, having seen killed, some family members, including a grandfather, who would not fight, dragged from underneath a bed where he was hiding. This was in the 1990s. Some left and are in Canada-the smart or lucky ones.

    The Munich Agreement can happen again, where territories not belonging to a country may be sacrificed for peace, and martial law merely takes one stupid thing to happen, such as an assassination attempt, or a terrorist attempt or event, in Washington, DC. or New York, or Chicago.

    If a president has relative values and manipulates information to suit his own regime, why not martial law? It always starts small. This is why POTUS wants his own civilian army, and all those college students who owned mega-bucks in loans, will be expected to fight or pay up, or go to jail.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    destruction-obviously. I am brain-dead this morning and forgetting my Latin roots.

  21. Kavi says:

    Most ethical extremes in modern politics (socialism, libertarianism, postmodernism, etc.) all come under the heading of what I like to call “reduced ethics” – that is, ethics which appeal to minority values (as opposed to human values or personal values). The lure of such ethics is that it tends to simplify moral dillemas – if one can introduce a premise such as “all Jews are wicked”, and establish this premise in an insular social community, any moral dilemma involving Jews is a lot easier to solve for such a community, and the resulting solution is more absolute.

    This kind of ethics tends to be characterised by moral absolutism for the community to which it applies (such as Islamic ethics), consequentialism (the end is always justified by the means), and occasionally legalism (the law determines what is moral). It is a form of relativism but avoids absolute relativism (which really has no unifying social application, and is thus hard to apply in politics or law).

    The common compensation for this is to avoid absolute statements entirely, which is a hallmark of modern moderate liberalism (and politics at any level since time immemorial). The lack of absolutism feels “safe” to a natural law ethicist – which I think most of us still are, at heart – since one can think “well, at least he has considered x even though his position is y”. Young voters are attracted to liberalism for this very reason. Put simply, politicians favour liberal dialogue as a way of seeming to promote natural law when they really seek to promote as little as possible so as not to offend the manifold pockets of reduced ethics – hence the reliance in liberal American dialogue on sympathy and “human factor” examples which serve to narrow the perameters of an argument (cf Health Bill debate).

    Voters, however, are increasingly absolutist, and fall into these pockets with greater alacrity and persuasion, so much so that the liberal compromise is increasingly ineffective. The inevitable return of absolutism to politics will, in fact, favour Republicans, or any conservative party. When push comes to shove, most people will seek absolute “American” values rather than the absolute values of minority groups. There is no reason why conservatives should not (as indeed, they are) take advantage of this situation to promote value-based ethics – and provided they do not fall into the much-hated nationalism, they will be successful.

    As long as terrorism – of word or deed – is in the news, reduced ethics will be preferable to liberalism and relativism as well as the ultra-broad, almost metaphysical view of Christian Natural Law ethics.

  22. JuliB says:

    I don’t think that any Admin would stage any attacks – that sounds similar to the notion that Bush was behind 9/11.

    I do think certain Presidents who are believers in black liberation theory would use such attacks to his advantage, but I do think this is the result of fringe groups. But, I don’t see this helping any President in any way.

    BTW SuperTradMom – glad to hear it wasn’t your curry making them sick! ;)

  23. Microtouch says:

    Everything I needed to know about Islam I learned on 9-11.

  24. BobP says:

    Well, the way I see it, as long as we have either Republicans or Democrats in power, the U.S. won’t be outsourcing its military like they do with everything else.

  25. catholicmidwest says:


    Do you really believe any of that actually goes through the heads of any sizeable fraction of the population on a regular basis? I’m fairly sure it doesn’t. It’s fairly contrived, if you want to know the truth.

    What actually does happen is much more simple. People have gotten used to the “good life” that has come from generations of decent living in a stable society, and simply and naively believe that a) they deserve what they were born into just because they exist, b) all people mean well and are the “same under the skin,” c) that they don’t owe anyone anything because they are “superior” to their forebearers. All of these ideas (a, b, and c) are bogus.

    People don’t attribute the peace of the last few generations properly, and that’s the key to understanding the whole thing. That peace and order came straight out of the Christian cultures of Europe in a golden age which is now passing. Once this passes, it will be ever easier to see the real truth: People haven’t really changed from the very beginning. Evil exists. Some people have evil motives, and not all points of view are equal.

    We’ve just learned a few more technical tricks and that’s good as far as it goes. But the tricks we learn make us potentially both more benevolent and more dangerous. Without the veneer of civilization, people will be more dangerous than benevolent. New tricks are always a double-edged sword. It always has been so and always will be so.

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    Democrats, Republicans, minority groups, nationalists, relativists, absolutists, la la la. These are all artifacts of the culture. They’re there to be manipulated just like all the artifacts through the ages before them. Whoever can get their hands on the levers of government, has to run it with those handles no matter what year (decade, millenium) it is and what government there is. This is because a modicum of government is a necessity of human existence and helps to keep the wolf away from the door and the mutiny out of the neighborhood. Too much government and it becomes the enemy; not enough and it can’t manage the other enemy, the one outside the gates.

  27. Supertradmum says:


    I know Kavi. He is 22 years old. He and his seminarian friends are trying to look at the roots of the problems. His generation thinks differently than Gen X, or the Baby Boomers. Most of them are not cynical, yet, and see things with the eyes of the young-hoping for people to think through the serious turn in our political events. More than us older ones, they are aware of the fragility of their existence, and the danger of big government. Many voted for POTUS hoping for change, which they did not quite understand (not Kavi and his close friends-many of whom wanted Ron Paul or Fred Thompson over McCain). And, this Millennial Generation tends to be more extremely conservative or more extremely liberal than the rest of us. The conservative group hopes for the “Rational Age” of Pope Benedict XVI, and they are learning to deal with the death-throes of liberalism in the Church, at their own peril in succeeding to become priests. Remember they were three or four or five when 9/11 happened and grew up in the era of terrorism. They desperately want reason to prevail over raw, violent emotions.

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