Rope-a-Dope

By Bill Maher

One month ago, on September 12, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audiotape -- with an accompanying video of him swinging naked on a wrecking ball -- calling on terrorists to launch smaller attacks that would provoke the United States into over-reacting. I don't know where he got the idea we'd fall for that.

Al-Zawahri said, "We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure."

Al-Zawahri's message, according to a Reuters report, was that "keeping America in such a state of tension and anticipation only required a few disparate attacks 'here and there.'"

Did you ever see a prizefight where one fighter assumes a protected stance on the ropes and lets the other fighter wail away on him, causing the aggressor to become so tired that he "punches himself out?" Muhammad Ali, a Muslim, shocked the world when he did it to George Foreman, a Christian. I believe they called it "rope-a-dope."

So, we've kind of seen this before. We know it's al Qaeda's plan. Here's a crazy idea: what say we not keep playing right into their hands?

Conservatives' big, trump-card putdown in national security debates is to accuse their naïve, liberal opponents of wanting to "return to a pre-9/11 mentality." And liberals are so terrified of this label they're often more than willing to keep our war-on-terror machine at full throttle. 

But isn't it time we considered returning to at least somewhat of a pre-9/11 mentality? I'm not talking about sticking our heads in the sand and assuming oceans can protect us. But can't we keep a reasonable level of enhanced intelligence and security measures and start scaling back the bloated, wasteful security/war industry that's bleeding us economically?

I'm just saying there are more prudent, cost-effective ways to respond to a spider in the bathroom than calling in Terminix to tent the house.