Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them By John Mueller Free Press, 272 pp.
With public alarm over terrorism still running high in America, and with media outlets such as the Drudge Report and Fox News continually stoking such fears, one might be forgiven for overlooking the fact that the United States hasn't experienced an attack on its own soil since 9/11. Despite initial fears that more than 5,000 operatives and sympathizers were active within our borders, the government has not identified a single cell, nor have its comprehensive visitor- and immigration-screening programs discovered many suspects trying to get in. Of course, it could be that al-Qaeda is too sophisticated for our defenses. Terrorist methods, we have been led to believe, often outstrip the sophistication of the world's best intelligence agencies.
Or maybe we're simply not as endangered as we feel. That's the case that Ohio State University political science professor and noted contrarian John Mueller sets out to make in Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them.
Overblown is a polemical, sometimes tedious, but important book that delights in the same exasperated enthusiasm in busting up conventional wisdom about homeland security that …