Thursday, June 05, 2003

Taste the Rainbow

Ridge: Color-Coded Alerts Have Drawbacks

"State and local government officials chafe at the cost of paying police and emergency personnel so much overtime, particularly in parts of the country where terrorist attacks don't seem likely."
If an overtime issue costs lives in a terrorist attack, I'll personally go down wherever it is and bust some heads. Overtime, geez. Not to mention that any place with a human population nearby is fair game. Except for the middle of the desert, nowhere in America are we truly "unlikely" in this context. Less likely? Yes. Not likely? No, unfortunately. And it's those less likely places that are more lightly guarded. While a dirty bomb in Seatlle gets more press, a dirty bomb in Billings, Montana or Dubuque, Iowa or Brownsville, Texas or Dyersburg, Tennessee would be just as devastating to the American psyche and morale.

"Others note that during the four orange alerts, no attacks have been attempted, leading them to question whether the intelligence used to guide them is reliable.
While it would be of comfort to me to be confident that no attacks were attempted during these orange alerts, I have to be skeptical. First of all, there may be things that Intelligence is not going to admit - a plane diverted here, a bomb-in-a-bag defused quietly there, these stories may be being contained and not released to the public. Secondly, and more importantly to say that since no attacks were attempted, the intelligence recommending the alert raising was unreliable does not take into account attacks that might have been thwarted simply by the increased security and vigilence. Who's to say a guy planning to walk into a mall the next day strapped with dynamite decides not to due to an increased security presence. While we complain about the anxiety level (and I do), the very presence of increased security and awareness may be an invisible deterrant that has saved lives.

(Hat Tip: SKBubba)

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