Monday, December 22, 2003

I hate orange alerts

Once again, there are vague and mysterious threats to our national security, so once again we're on orange alert thanks to the DHS. While the news stories tell of al Qaida operatives disguised as foreign pilots and dirty bombs inside the US, Tom Ridge tells us to go about our business: travel, shop, enjoy the holiday. Meanwhile, we'll be at orange until the end of January. I'm supposed to be calm with all this madness going on? It's enough trouble for me to finish preparing for the holidays; I don't need to worry about whether Manhattan will still be here next week. I wish that DHS would either tell us exactly what the threat is, or not tell us about the orange alert status in the first place. If we can't be trusted with the details of the threats, then we shouldn't need to know that they exist. If there's an attack, it won't make much different if we knew that we were at a greater risk before it happened. One news story mentioned that al Qaida detainees have said that increased security discourages planned attacks, so I guess that's why DHS bothers to tell us about these threats at all. Even so, I'd rather not know about the threats or the alerts. I guess my only option is to stop reading the stories. Just note the orange alert, get more bottled water and canned soup, and go about my daily business.

And if we have access to all this e-mail and cell phone traffic, why are we not arresting more al Qaida operatives? If we're listening in on their communications, it would seem we know who these people are. Our government hasn't shown much reticence toward arresting people on mere suspicions before now, so what's the holdup?

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