Chasing Phantoms: Reality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Apr 25, 2011 - Political Science - 208 pages
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Although a report by the congressionally mandated Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism concluded that biological or nuclear weapons were very likely to be unleashed in the years soon after 2001, what Americans actually have experienced are relatively low-tech threats. Yet even under a new administration, extraordinary domestic and international policies enacted by the U.S. government in the wake of 9/11 remain unchanged. Political scientist and former FBI consultant Michael Barkun argues that a nonrational, emotion-driven obsession with dangers that cannot be seen has played and continues to play an underrecognized role in sustaining the climate of fear that drives the U.S. "war on terror."

Barkun identifies a gap between the realities of terrorism--"violence without a return address--and the everyday discourse about it among government officials and the general public. Demonstrating that U.S. homeland security policy reflects significant nonrational thinking, Barkun offers new recommendations for effective--and rational--policymaking.

 

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Contents

INVISIBLE DANGERS
1
DISASTER AND TERRORISM
19
MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE Reverse Transparency and Privacy
37
HURRICANE KATRINA UNSEEN DANGERS AND THE ALLHAZARDS POLICY
55
THE IMAGERY OF THE LANDSCAPE OF FEAR
68
UNSEEN DANGERS AS DEFILEMENTS
82
TWO MODELS OF NONRATIONAL ACTION
96
EXPERTS NARRATIVES AND THE PUBLIC
119
Epilogue
140
Notes
155
Bibliography
167
Index
181
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About the author (2011)

Michael Barkun is professor emeritus of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and is a former FBI consultant in domestic terrorism cases. He is author of five previous books, including Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement.

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