In which the author predicts an attack in or near Las Vegas.

A few weeks ago I made a few optimistic predictions and a few pessimistic ones. My optimistic ones tend to be about how even semi-free markets will solve what otherwise could be big problems. My pessimistic ones tend to about how out-of-control governments mad with power will create or exacerbate problems. The pessimistic prediction I’m about to give is squarely in the latter category. Here it is:

Sometime in the next five years, there will be a terroristic attack in or near Las Vegas.

The reason? Creech Air Force Base, near Las Vegas. That is one of the places from which Air Force employees operate drones that are making life a living hell for a number of people in the Middle East. It seems unlikely that people in the countries whose people are attacked will simply sit back and take it. You might argue that there’s a big moral difference between what the U.S. government does and what the putative terrorists will do. First, there’s not as big a difference as you might think. Read this article by Glenn Greenwald to see why. Second, to the extent there is a difference, it’s because of the huge amount of capital and labor that the U.S. government devotes to this so that it can target possibly guilty people. The terrorists are not so capitalized. So they try to terrorize people.

I don’t think it works for them with Americans. Americans have tended not to ask why terrorists “hate us” or have asked but accepted glib answers like that of that noted Middle East scholar, George W. Bush, who said within hours of 9/11 that they attacked our “freedom.” Condi Rice, as National Security Advisor to Bush, didn’t help when she persuaded the networks not to show the complete videos in which Osama bin Laden explained why he was attacking.

So I’m not predicting that the terrorist attack(s) will necessarily work. I’m simply predicting that there will be such an attack or such attacks.