Friday, February 15, 2008

Could we be doing this wrong? The abridged version.

Sooner or later, I'll post a more comprehensive version of this, but I've got a bug up my ass today for some odd reason. So, here's the quick "pull it out of my ass" version.

The object of Terrorism is to...terrify; to make your victims react to the fear that it will happen again by changing how they go about their daily lives. I'm not sure if the Terrorists have achieved their goals, but if not, our own government sure did pick up the ball and run it into the end zone.

Here in NY, every bridge and tunnel has multiple police cars parked on the approaches watching traffic 24 hours every day. Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal all have National Guard troops patrolling. NYPD has spent millions to run ads saying "If you see something, Say something." (Have they actually ever found something?)

Air travel today makes you long for the days when complaining about tiny bags of pretzels was the big complaint.

Civil Liberties become more eroded on a seemingly daily basis.

We're bogged down in a war in Iraq that was sold as a response to terrorism and is pretty much established in everyone's mind as never having been about terrorism at all.

We're mostly ignoring the conflict in Afghanistan that should have remained the first priority all along. And things continue to be pretty messy over there.

Remember daily anthrax scares? God forbid someone spills any sugar in the breakroom.

The thing is, are any of these measures actually achieving anything? What's preventing a terrorist from boarding the train in some suburb and then riding it into Manhattan? Will the guy patrolling Penn Station have any effect on that? Why the hell should I get used to seeing soldiers and police patrolling civilian spaces with M-16's?

The Administration likes to preen about the fact that there hasn't been another attack on US soil since 9/11. Maybe I don't know because its all a big secret, but can anybody tell me of one attack all this money, effort and fear has prevented? If I recall, Richard Reed failed because he wasn't a very good bomb builder and his fellow passengers didn't take kindly to a guy trying to light his shoes on fire at 30,000 feet.

When I lived in Israel in 1978, the reaction to a bombing at a movie theater would have go see a movie. You defeated terrorism by refusing to be terrified.

I'm not saying we should be doing nothing, but I think there's a serious case to be made that we've reacted in a knee jerk fashion that doesn't serve us or anyone else well. Like I said, this is the "pull it out of my ass" version, so its probably got some holes in it. But then again, I think this Administration's version of Homeland Security may be their "pull it out of their asses" version.

Might be some holes in there too.


Random Michelle K said...

1) A agree completely

2) Two quotes:

Inter arma silent leges

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin

I agree with the second, but find the first to be unfortunately true.

Random Michelle K said...

Oh, the first was Cicero

MWT said...

This was my version of it back last Sept 11:

"Six years ago today, a bunch of mean people flew airplanes into buildings. They were terrorists. They successfully terrified the American people. The U.S. was so terrified, in fact, that it flattened Iraq. I suspect this wasn't the result they [the terrorists] were hoping for. To date, it's unclear who's winning and what they're winning."

Tom said...

Homemade Security hasn't done much except provide jobs for a whole bunch of people. We are less free than ever before, and it keeps getting worse. Surveilance, searches, and oh yeah, the overreaction to the Mooninites in Boston. Instead, bridges go unmaintained, school shootings are the new fad, stupidity in politics goes unremarked, energy costs keep rising, and nothing gets done that would help everybody.

Surely we aren't all stupid enough to let this keep going?

Steve Buchheit said...

Security Theater keeps on making wonder where I can get my money back for the tickets to the show.