The Scripps Washington Bureau

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A reliable, honest and entertaining podcast about Washington D.C’s people, culture and politics.


105: Terrified of terrorism

September 10th, 2015

Episode 173 of 262 episodes

This week’s podcast challenges a political sacred cow. In fact, it might be the mother of all sacred cows. It is the belief that foreign terrorism is one of the most serious threats to the safety of Americans and the security of what since 9/11 we have called the “homeland.” That belief is deep. The facts supporting it are thin. But it is a premise so fundamental to our post-9/11 worldview that is rarely debated, challenged or reexamined. No one has tried harder to unsound the alarm, to show that the sky is not falling, than John Mueller, our guest this week, a political scientist at Ohio State University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington. In a book coming out in the fall, “Chasing Ghosts: The Policing of Terrorism” (Oxford University Press), Mueller and co-author Mark G. Stewart take a hard-boiled, empirical look a the politics, phobias and failed leadership that feeds the sacred cow of counterrorism at any cost.

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