Fort Dix and Colorado: Pre-emptive Pre-emption in the War on Terror

Ian Lustick

fort_dix_1222What is wrong with these two pictures?

Picture 1: In Colorado in August, shortly before Barack Obama was slated to accept the Democratic nomination for President in Denver, three men were arrested. One wore a ring with a swastika insignia. At least two were known to have expressed white supremacist views. The three were in possession of two high-powered rifles, two wigs, camouflage clothing, a bulletproof vest, walkie-talkies, drugs, and false ID’s. Among themselves they talked of killing Barack Obama to prevent an N-word from living in the White House and planned to find “high ground to set up and shoot.” Shortly after their arrest prosecutors decided not to charge any of the three with conspiring to assassinate Obama or with any other national security related crimes. The explanation offered was that “an assassination attempt was unlikely.” According to the U.S. Attorney in Denver, the talk was, “more aspirational, perhaps, than operational…A bunch of meth heads get together, we don’t know why they do what they do…People do lots of stupid things on meth…If you’re talking about a true threat, there has to be some evidence they’re not just talking about it or thinking about it, especially in a drug-induced state.”

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