Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security
President Obama, she said, has been very forceful "about seeing the threat of terrorism in all of its complexity, and in bringing all of our resources, not just the federal government, to bear against violent extremism."
She said, though, that the danger has not diminished in the eight years since 9/11.
A month ago I heard a think-tank expert flatly predict that there will be a major al-Qaida attack on the U.S. this year, "probably nuclear." I've been hearing that from his group since 2003.
Secretary Napolitano recommended that Americans do more to make their counter-terror approach "a shared endeavor, to make it more layered, networked and resilient, to make it smarter and more adaptive, and to make sure that as a country, as a nation, we are at the point where we are in a constant state of preparedness and not a state of fear."
She cited, as good examples to citizens, the alert store clerk who three years ago reported men "trying to duplicate extremist DVDs." That led the authorities to men planning "to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base."
Just last month, she said, a vigilant traveler spotted two employees exchanging an unscreened bag at the
She advised her listeners to make emergency plans for their families.
They can go to the "www.ready.gov" site on the Web or consult their local "
Eight years after the al-Qaida attacks do Americans need such reassurances?
Since 2001, there has been no actual terrorist attack reported inside
So far as terrorism is concerned, such episodes as have been disclosed by the government have nearly always seemed farcical affairs, involving guys with a grudge hanging out, usually picked up by semi-professional provocateurs lingering around mosques or Muslim neighborhoods, asking disgruntled guys if they wouldn't like to blow up the tallest building in America. The guys say, "Sure, where is it, how do we get a bomb, and will you loan us the money to go there?" -- and they end up in a Federal Pen. This is not serious.
Professional estimates are that when the casualties of war in
A well-known estimate in the journal Terrorism and Political Violence in 2005 was that more are killed by severe allergic reaction to peanuts, or bathtub drownings, than by international terrorists.
Terrorism and political violence can be big, big problems today if you live in
The newspapers I read today reported that in the last two days two family barracks of the Spanish Civil Guard, the paramilitary police, have been blown up, presumably by the Basque separatist ETA -- which over the years has killed 825 people in
There is a lot of need around for homeland security. You'd think America has more than its share.
Secretary Napolitano might relax and think of ways to distribute the surplus.
In Iraq, tension was reported to be increasing between the Americans and the Iraqi military and security forces, who were supposed to take over the Americans' responsibilities. Move to another front: Pakistan-Afghanistan. Here there was also supposed to be a straightforward job to do: drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan, into the Tribal Areas of the Pakistan border. There, the Pakistan army, with American urging and help, would defeat and disarm them.
A once-fashionable subject in America's think tanks was futurology. It worked by projecting what were thought to be plausible developments in the situation of a given subject that would lead to a series of 'branching points,' expected eventually to lead the analyst to unforeseen conclusions about what could happen.
However, unexpected developments actually were fairly uncommon, since nearly everyone started with a bias toward one or another desirable outcome.
Flamboyance of the Latin kind gets you into the newspapers, but for bad reasons as well as good. Nicolas Sarkozy of France is not a man noted for charm but for his unchecked energies and the restless activity. Italy's Silvio Berlusconi is another matter entirely. He is a success in politics apparently because the majority of Italians like him. Indeed, sometimes pays to be a nondescript politician like Gordon Brown of Britain.
Obama, Solana Mean Business About Two-State Solution
by William Pfaff
The Israeli press reports with alarm that the United States has threatened to reduce by $1 billion the guarantee the U.S. Treasury customarily provides for Israel state borrowings, which assure them the best commercial terms. This is evidence that the Obama government is serious about halting Israel's colonization of the Palestinian territories -- and about imposing, rather than merely inviting, a two-state Middle East solution.
(c) 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.