Cutting Through The Crap

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Terrifying

Here are a few things I believe about terrorism:

1) The danger is real, and potentially devastating.
1a) Absent a nuclear attack, the devastation will be, to a very significant degree, self-inflicted: political chaos, psychological mayhem, panic, fomented strenuously by the RWS™.2) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have done nothing to lessen the threat.

3) Money spent at home, to beef up security, is of immeasurably greater value than that spent on wars.

4) We can't eliminate the threat with armies (cf: Yemen, Sudan, the next after them; and, of course anywhere in Europe, Asia, South America, Mexico, the US, to name a few.)

5) So far, our response to 9/11 has given al Queda everything it could have hoped for, and more.
5a) That means we're doing much of their work for them, by way of tearing ourselves apart politically, tossing out the window the very values that have allowed us to succeed as a nation, bankrupting ourselves fighting shadows.


Assuming the above thoughts are even partly true, it follows that we'd be much better off ending our wars and spending our manpower and treasure on such things as border security, increased personnel devoted to intelligence gathering and analysis, body scanners, and the like. Money well -- and much better -- spent, far as I can tell.

Amid the recriminations, reasonable and otherwise, following the underwearer, the difficulties have become pretty clear. It's been said (by David Brooks on PBS Newshour, matter of fact, source not stated) that our intelligence services collect, DAILY, as much data as there is in the Library of Congress. DAILY. Our desire to assign blame notwithstanding, searching prospectively through that mass is daunting, nearly impossible. Brooks blithely said we need more of a human touch, more gut instinct, to turn those data into actions. Probably true. But how do you do that when no one is willing to spend (and pay, and collect) the money it would take? How many more people than we currently have are needed for such a task? Specifically, of those happily blaming everything that ever happened or will happen on Barack Obama, how many would be willing to pay the extra taxes, okay reducing our wartime commitments, stop the inflamed rhetoric, address the real issue rather than the politics?

My guess: few enough that it rounds off to none. After all, they just elected another tax-cutter to the Senate. Reduce government. Lower taxes. And, while you're at it, keep us safe.
.


2 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Ahh the Irony's so delicious Domino's should make "Irony" a new Pizza topping...
Democracy Sucks doesn't it??? Too bad they changed the law on Massachussetts Senatorial Succession a few years ago...Damn 17th, or whatever Ammendment that was that actually lets voters choose instead of the State Legislature...
And the President(Peace be upon Him) oughta give Brown his Nobel Prize...gettin the Healthcare Abortion scuttled just might let his Mullato-ness squeak by in 0-12.....
Frank

Sam Spade said...

Frank: it's spelled 'mulatto'

Sid:
Don't know that I agree with all that. First, the intelligence community did a somewhat reasonable job anticipating 911. Second, whatever success we had against the DC sniper, 911, underwear bomber, and shoe bomber was due to alert citizens, not intelligence or TSA. The underwear bomber had no luggage and his father warned our intelligence community about him beforehand.

In short, I don't think money is the bottleneck. Certainly police work and intelligence are crucial, but I see no indication that the huge surveillance efforts are paying off.

There are some security experts who are good and recognizing people who act 'hinky'. That's exactly the sort of thing we need. It's not expensive, but on the other hand doesn't meet the theatrical and CYA aspects of security that our politicians uniformly want to give us.