being proactive in preventing terrorism

25 10 2006

Recently I came across something written Sept. 12, 2001, right after 9/11.  Someone made it into a partial paraphrase to put it in context, and I don’t know where it’s originally from, but it’s interesting to think about.

What the terrorists have done is taken the initiative, so that the only thing the American psyche is capable of is reacting to events; it is the terrorists’ game and the Americans are now playing by their rules.

The best response would be to do something outside the world view of their attackers.  Usually one only gets outside a world view by being outside the times: this is “the historical perspective” and it is easy to be wise after the event.  But we are IN these events and the only thing that will work is something the terrorists do not expect, but I do not believe that the U.S. is capable of doing that.

Is that what’s happening?  Our government has taken some proactive steps to try to prevent more terrorist attacks on our country, and we have foiled some attempts, but most everyone agrees we’re not making much progress.  Are we possibly in the rut described in that quote, where we have stalled in our preparation for possible tragic events and we won’t make more significant progress until something big happens and we are forced to react?  I don’t know if that’s fully accurate or not, but it seems to fit, at least on first thought.

I think one area where this applies is the open border between the U.S. and Mexico.  I wrote on this recently, because it’s an issue of national security, but the government sure is taking its time to do something about it.  I suspect we won’t make much progress on it until something tragic happens that’s due to our lack of border security.  Then we would certainly react to it.  But we should take it seriously now, before something really bad happens.

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