Letter from the Editor 

I'm just the editor of a Memphis newspaper and by no means an expert on foreign affairs. But I read a lot, and what I'm reading lately has me nervous.

On Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show Countdown last week, Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit, said the following: "These people [al-Qaeda] are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States ... and we're going to have no one to blame but ourselves."

I've been reading article after article citing terrorist experts here and abroad who are worried about increased "chatter" concerning new terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Remember the infamous August 6, 2001, White House briefing paper entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S."? It was, of course, ignored by the Bush administration, which decided the matter could wait until after cabinet members finished their summer vacations.

Terrorist expert Richard Clarke testified before Congress in 2004 that his warnings to this administration had been summarily ignored, even though he famously was "running around like a man with his hair on fire" trying to get someone in power to take him seriously.

I'm not trying to be alarmist here, but our national security is in the hands of the same incompetents who brought us the Iraq war and the Katrina response. It's the people who have been wrong about almost everything it is conceivable to be wrong about -- from "we'll be greeted as liberators" to "Mission Accomplished" to "we'll get bin Laden, dead or alive."

They've stretched our military to the breaking point and taken them away from the very real threat to our homeland. And in spite of the open resistance to such insanity from our own generals, this administration continues to make warlike moves toward Iran.

I fear dark days may lie ahead if we don't get our priorities straight -- and very soon. We can't afford to ignore the warnings again. I wish I had more confidence in the president to do the right thing, to have competent people in place to counter the threat. But I don't.

I hope I'm wrong.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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