Friday, July 08, 2005

Yay Slate!

I saw this really neat article on Slate today. Here are some of the highlights, and my commentary on same.

"Instead of ratcheting up the threat level and along with it public fears, Chertoff should have told Americans what he most certainly knows: that national security officials and local police have been worried about a subway or train attack since last year's bombings in the Madrid transit system, and that they have little reason to be more worried now."

Yup. (I realize that's not much commentary. Live with it.)

"Look at how the British are handling these attacks. Their endurance of the Irish Republican Army's 30-year terror campaign has made them masters at picking up the pieces after an attack and moving on. Did they institute a national alert today? No. Did they close down the subways indefinitely? No. Some theaters canceled shows scheduled for tonight, but that was a small and sensible measure taken to lessen the pressures on London's transportation system as it stretched to the limit to get people home from work. Could we possibly expect this sort of sane moderation had Los Angeles been the bombers' target rather than London?"

Nope. All air traffic into and out of the West Coast would likely have been stopped, Congress would have gone into special session and Tom DeLay would probably have called for Arab-American internment camps.

"In addition, the attack revealed the limits of the terrorists' technical capabilities. The bombings involved relatively crude and conventional weapons. They were no more sophisticated than the twin African bombings of 1998 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which suggests that for all their claims, the jihadists don't yet have weapons of mass destruction."

And yet in America the very word "terrorist" prompts people to yank their kids out of school, give up their constitutional rights, and vote Republican. Personally, I'm more worried that the jokers working the TSA security line at the airport will put me on the do-not-fly list because they take a dislike to me than I am that a terrorist will try to blow me away. After all, my chances of running into a terrorist at the Philadelphia International Airport are almost zero, whereas I am 100% certain that I'll have to deal with the TSA.

By overpromising security—and implying that Democrats neither understood terrorism nor were prepared to fight it—the Bush administration has given itself little choice but to overshoot in response to any terrorist attack anywhere. Chertoff's response today was about one thing: cover. If there is an attack on the Washington Metro tomorrow, the federal government will be able to say to commuters, "Well, we warned you."

I'm sure glad that our government is engaged in a game of cover-your-ass. Next they'll call the Democrats poopyheads, or Bill Frist will challenge Harry Reid to a fight in the schoolyard at recess. Mother of all creatures great and small.

By the way...for what it's worth, a big "yay!" to the people of the city of London, who showed maturity and grit in response to these dreadful bombings. I only know one Englishman well, but I see that his levelheadedness is not uncommon among his countrymen.


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