Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The team at Democracy Arsenal has a great catch on a minor detail from the most recent DNI Threat Assessment.  In short, it notes that Hizballah is not actively planning terror attacks against the U.S.

While this would normally fall in the domain of my esteemed colleague, "Angry" Jeff Schneider, the Czar of Terror and Intelligence (like Mike Fratello, but even better with the Telestrator), it's simply too juicy for me to pass.

Too often we just talk about "terrorists" and the presumed existential threat they represent.  Not only is it foolish to describe a group solely with the term terrorist (it's a tactic, not an ideology!), but the connotation also lumps together disparate groups, many of whom actually hate each other.  By recognizing that Hizballah has not engaged in attacks against the U.S. in 13 years, and confirming that intelligence indicates no future attacks are forthcoming, DNI is taking a small step towards eliminating our over-reliance on a nonsensical term which obscures our understanding of the actual threats we face.

I'm not attempting to rationalize or excuse past actions of Hizballah - there is no way to justify atrocities they have committed.  However, recognizing that organizations change and evolve and that Hizballah no longer represents a direct threat to the U.S. means that we can better allocate resources and focus on those groups that do still actively seek to harm us.  Good for DNI to have the courage to make that differentiation.


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