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John Brennan missed the point with his comparison of terrorism to criminality. If people miss the higher symbolism in his comments, they risk missing the bigger point as well.

People within political circles continue to hammer away at the comments made by Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan in an op-ed piece published with the USA Today. Since Tuesday, many have been dismayed about Brennan’s comments that compared the recidivism rate of terrorists to rates of domestic criminals.

Those that make the argument that comparing the repeated criminal acts of common criminals throughout the nation to repeated offenders (attempted or otherwise) acting against the United States is not appropriate, especially considering the risks involved with repeated attempts at terroristic acts.

It is obvious that the stakes are not as high for community safety or national defense.  Recidivism involving the neighborhood thieves such as Sammie the Shoplifter or Michael the Mugger is not the same as dealing with someone that may have trained halfway around the world with a lifelong dedication towards imposing one’s philosophy via a world-renowned attack.

However, thinking that Brennan’s comments are nothing but a misstep by a Washington insider that may end up costing him credibility, status, and/or his job minimize the symbolism of his sentiments.

His words offer a glimpse into the Obama White House as well, one that adds fuel to the fire that is former vice president Dick Cheney’s criticism of the current administration.

Using recidivism rates among United States criminals to justify the performance of the federal government in keeping terrorists away from the general public merely takes the “act of war vs. criminal act” argument to another level of understanding. Believing that Sammie the Shoplifter or Michael the Mugger – though tragic and horrific as their acts may be – have the same national impact on our security (and thus requiring the federal government to take notice) is wrong, yet it comes from the same vein of reasoning that allows for terror suspects to receive American due process rights after being caught red-handed (or bomb-laden, as was the case for Abdul Mutallub in Detroit) or campaigns for (but has fail to complete at this time) the close of Guantanamo Bay without a clear-cut alternative to place terror conspirators. It is the same vein of thought that believes that the likelihood of another 9/11 attack is low despite the foiled plots in Dallas, New York, and Detroit in 2009. It is the same mindset that sees terrorism in much the same way as did the Clinton Administration after the 1993 WTC bombing.

And it is the same mindset that allows the former vice president to have a forum of supporters and a debatable amount of evidence to uphold his claims.

The lame comparisons between the Bush Administration during the early stages in this war on terror and the current moves of the Obama Administration flies directly in the face of the old axiom, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” even as the current folks have had the luxury of time and analysis. Those comparisons amount to the same faulty crux as comparing criminal acts by Sammie and Michael to war crimes by the “Shoebomber” or KSM (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.