Off-ense and Dee-fense

Atrios quotes Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and gets all smug ‘n stuff:

On NPR today:
But that’s why as we manage the most serious risks, we drive down the consequences of an act. It’s not terribly different from what we do with organized crime in this sense. When we attacked organized crime at law enforcement community, we didn’t eliminate crime, but by targeting the high-priority elements of where they were causing the greatest damage to society, we drove the risks down, we drove the consequences down to a level which was still bad but was not as bad as it had been. Likewise, in the era of terrorism, what we seek to on the way to eliminating terrorism is drive down, again to protect the most important, most valuable things against the greatest risks so that the consequences of an act are less serious a year from now than they would have been, let’s say, a year ago.

Gee, that reminds of something someone said once… maybe during a political campaign or something… can’t quite remember…

Dude, it’s like this. As the Lakers are belatedly discovering this season, the game is played in two spheres: offense and defense. No defense is perfect, nor can it be. That’s why you have an offense.For the Homeland Security Secretary to say something like this is not only appropriate, it’s smart. He’s dealing with half the equation – fielding what’s incoming, preparing for the worst, and minimizing the damage. For a President to say something like this is stupid and wrong because it’s his job to stop it from coming in the first place.

By, say, triggering civic revolutions in the countries likely to attack us or support those who would. Sadly, the guy Atrios liked in November was more concerned with opening more fire stations here in the U.S. and getting the troops home soon, with honor.

7 thoughts on “Off-ense and Dee-fense”

  1. Yet the whole Kerry quote brouhaha was centered around an intentional misinterpretation.

    Kerry presented a reasonable goal in the war on terror. We should reduce the threat of terrorism to that of a nuisance crime. The Bush campaign used his proposal to say Kerry misunderstood the threat of terror.

    All the while, Bush has similar sorts of goals. For instance, presumably he wants to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists. This is the sort of threat reduction Kerry meant.

    By the way, in the world of sports cliches, defense wins championships.

  2. bq. _”All the while, Bush has similar sorts of goals. For instance, presumably he wants to keep nukes out of the hands of terrorists. This is the sort of threat reduction Kerry meant.”_

    It’s not Kerry’s stance on defense that’s the problem. It was Kerry’s stance on _*offense*_ that’s the problem. His vision was to let someone else deal with the offensive position and we’ll follow their lead. Somehow given MSM’s portrayal of the hated America I quickly came to the conclusion that someone else dealing with the offense concerning our personal protection was not in my best interest.

  3. talboito,

    I believe you mean “revolve around.” After all, ask yourself, “How does something ‘center around’ a center?”

    ____________________________________________

    As to whole “organized crime” analogy, note that much of “organized crime” largely exists because of the incentives associated with criminalizing say certain classes of drugs. Anyway, the whole “whack a mole” strategy associated with attacking “organized crime” has merely the locus of control from one group to another.

  4. Kerry’s other problem was he said in connection with his nuisance crime comments: “We need to get back to the place we were…” In other words, Sept 10. But terrorism wasn’t a “nuisance” akin to prostitution then: the “minor” incidents such as the Cole, Khobar towers, embassies (and even the Beruit barracks: Reagan screwed this up, too) were not “nuisances,” they were the opening shots in a war that we ignored or misunderstood.

    “Getting back” to the world where we don’t understand or take seriously the threat is not a good idea.

  5. Do you think the Iraq war has increased or decreased the chance of a mass-casualty attack in the United States? What about the chances of mass-casualty attacks in other countries (e.g. Europe, India, the Middle East itself)? If you think the Iraq War has made us safer, roughly how much safer do you think it has made us?

  6. Do you think the Iraq war has increased or decreased the chance of a mass-casualty attack in the United States?

    Decreased – a mass-casualty attack may happen but it is more likely to come from the hardcore of the organization. The fact that we now have A.Q. and others on notice and have begun to break their strangle hold in the ME also puts these organizations in a defensive posture. The security measures and intelligence changes that we have implemented also make it more difficult for these organizations to operate within our borders.

    What about the chances of mass-casualty attacks in other countries (e.g. Europe, India, the Middle East itself)?

    I can’t say. What I will say though is if these organizations believe it would be in their best interest to cause such damages no country is safe (not even Switzerland). I also believe these areas are much softer targets though due to access and location. I have no reason to believe that the intelligence in Europe is lacking from any information that we may all have and share. That’s not to say that all intelligence is available but I do believe intelligence of utmost importance is shared across the board. Given that I would hope that Europe / India and some ME countries are taking precautions and actively pursuing potential threats. Other countries in the ME seem much more susceptible to attack mainly because of location. Iraq more so mainly because the country is still being contested. Not contested in the sense of US intervention as much as contested in these organizations breaking the will of the people to fend for and govern themselves. The Iraqi people as well as US / foreign troops and NGO’s are prime targets. The reasons each are targeted is different in the sense that the goal would be to break the resolve of troops and NGO’s whereas the Iraqi people are targeted in the hopes of turning them against the troops and NGO’s. (Iraqi people blaming the troops and NGO’s for their losses and then forcing them to leave.)

    If you think the Iraq War has made us safer, roughly how much safer do you think it has made us?

    That’s a relative measure that requires some starting point. If I look at it from the security in place prior as compared to the security in place today yes we are safer and the changes have made a difference. Does this mean we are completely safe? No. Does this mean what we have in place can’t be compromised? No. Concerning matters of everyday activities where we would not have given a second thought, we are in my opinion more vigilant and proactive in monitoring, accessing, reporting and acting on potential or perceived threats.

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