The Cover-Your-Ass approach to Terrorism

Wired: “Much of our country’s counterterrorism security spending is not designed to protect us from the terrorists, but instead to protect our public officials from criticism when another attack occurs.”

The idea that the political approach to disasters is to create excuses for the inevitable failure rather than the more costly effort of avoiding the next one is hardly new. What else can we apply this analysis to?

  • FEMA: Let’s spend billions on the last disaster, since we can’t predict what next one might be.
  • The War in Iraq: We don’t have a strategy for success, so lets advocate politically unfeasible measures so we can blame the other party for blocking our “solution.”
  • Iran/North Korea: We tried to stop them with sanctions. It’s not our fault that the world wouldn’t cooperate and an American city is a ruin.

Contrast the political process to the market: an insurance or security company is held accountable for results, not appearances and excuses.

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