August 2, 2004

Terror Alerts

I'm tired of terror alerts.

The government has to warn us if they think something's afoot, obviously. The very fact that a warning is given at all may deter an attack in the works, especially in cases like the one over the weekend where specific buildings in Washington, New York, and New Jersey were singled out. Any Al Qaeda nut with a blueprint and a bomb is likely to hold off if a red flag is raised.

Still, every time a "false" alert goes out I'm slightly less interested in the next one. That's just the nature of these things, and there's not a lot the federal government can do to change that dynamic.

It would help, though, if alerts weren't raised based on information that precedes the attacks on September 11.

Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday.
Well, doesn't that just make the government look like an ass. Maybe, just maybe, they might have told everyone that in the first place.

Not only does this sort of thing make most of us shrug off the next warning, it encourages the less stable among us - like Howard Dean for instance - to pop off about "politically motivated" terrorist warnings.

If Howard Dean really thinks terrorist warnings are just thrown out there by the Bush Adminstration to keep all of us hiding under the bed and voting Republican, then Al Qaeda must not be much of a threat after all. And if that's true, the Bush Adminstration has done a pretty fine job beating it back, wouldn't you say? I'm sure that's not the point Howard Dean is trying to make, but it is a logical end point of such thinking.

Meanwhile, John Kerry dismissed Dean's ravings the way a picnicker treats a fly buzzing around his barbecued chicken.

"I don't care what he said. I haven't suggested that and I won't suggest that," Kerry said. "I do not hold that opinion. I don't believe that."
If John Kerry manages to pull off this election I'll be interested to see what Dean and his flock will do next. Will they accuse the Kerry Administration of creating a "climate of fear" whenever suspected terrorists are pulled off the streets and when alerts hit the papers?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2004 9:31 PM
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