Monday, August 09, 2004

Another theme of the 9-11 commission is to gloss over the President's resistance to hold the hearings in the first place. The truth is that the hearings would not have occurred had it not been for the insistence of the family members.

On page xvii "We thank the Congress and the President..."

Only at the end of the thanks..
"We conclude this list of thanks by coming full circle: We thank the families of 9/11, who persistance and dedication helped create the Commission."

Since the report starts off skirting the truth about the formation of the Commission and the President's reluctance and stonewalling what is the reader to infer about the rest of the report?

9-11 Commission Report
One disturbing theme is emerging from 9-11 report, I am on page 50 or so.

"There was no training for this type of attack."

In warfare the "element of surprise" is understood to be something that is desirable to achieve. Should "this never happened before" be an excuse for failure to protect? Consider that there are an infinite number of ways for us to be surprise attacked. If we can only defend against attacks that we are trained for then we can never be safe.

Also, there are basic failures in communication and responsiveness that would seem to apply in any kind of attack, regardless of how well trained for a specific attack.

Maybe the training needs to become more generalized. Start with the assumption that the attack will some kind of a surprise that we are not prepared to handle, and go from there.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

New York City is under an organge terror alert, the Republican convention is less than two weeks away. I am in Binghamton, NY this weekend(August 8th, 2004) in the Embassey Suites(Vestal) hotel where middle American is being fed a diet of terror warnings and terror arrests by Fox cable news network. It seems like the Republicans are raising the terror ante just in time for their big show. Wouldn't be surprised in Osama shows up as captured, any day now.

Apparent political strategy: Scare people with the warnings and comfort them with success stories.

Does it work?
In middle American, the threat of a terrorist act is remote and life is good. Judging by reactions of the casual glances at the television most are getting message or could care less, too busy chatting and enjoying their continental breakfast and tending to children scampering about.

The Demograhic: For this slice of America that can afford a $90/night hotel room life is very good and the promise to preserve what they have will win their vote. They are 95% white. America works well for these folks. Everyone looks clean and well pressed with the latests shorts and sport shirts from JC Penny. You've got the occassional obese person. The kitchen helper is African-American.

"Harlem" Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun.
Or fester like a sore and run
Does it sink like rotten meat
or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load
Or does it explode?