Thursday, March 19, 2009

CYA security

I read this article when it came out a few years back;

Really good coverage on why the existing security measures where ineffective against the threats encountered until *after* the threat had already been encountered, which is too late.

reading this article now:

reminded me of it, especially this bit:
"In the final three months of last year, (AIG) lost more than $27 million every hour. That's $465,000 a minute, a yearly income for a median American household every six seconds, roughly $7,750 a second. And all this happened at the end of eight straight years that America devoted to frantically chasing the shadow of a terrorist threat to no avail, eight years spent stopping every citizen at every airport to search every purse, bag, crotch and briefcase for juice boxes and explosive tubes of toothpaste. Yet in the end, our government had no mechanism for searching the balance sheets of companies that held life-or-death power over our society and was unable to spot holes in the national economy the size of Libya (whose entire GDP last year was smaller than AIG's 2008 losses)."

So ok, terrorists haven't managed to fly anymore planes into buildings since 9/11, thats a good thing. In the meantime personal liberties in western countries have been eroded by an enormous degree, the US has invaded a country (that still shocks me!) on false pretences, and become a party to illegal detention and the use of torture. What price your soul?

At the same time, the greatest threat to US (perhaps the world?) National Security since the end of the Cold War has been brewing, in the form of the current freeze-up of the financial markets triggered by the sub-prime mortgage collapse. So we successfully defended against future repeats of the last threat (arguably some might say), while completely missing the next great threat. If you tally up financial cost and increased mortality due to financial-related suicide & murders during this period, I dare say the cost in dollars and human lives will outstrip 9/11.

Yes we need to guard against attacks similar to what's been encountered in the past, but we also need to have open eyes in seeing dangers from new and unexpected directions. Prior to 9/11 there was intelligence about a potential attack using planes that was ignored, leading up the current crisis there were warning signs that were ignored. We need to stop ignoring good intelligence just because we haven't seen it before.

1 comment:

Sam Hall said...

I read that magazine article, it wasn't bad, but nothing eye opening. You could learn more from a 20 year old Chomsky book about what's happening here today.

I think the war on terror achieved many of it's goals, and those goals were all about gaining tighter control over the population by eroding away freedoms. The US have been using fear to isolate their population and keep them all in psychological prison cells for longer and more successfully than any other nation in the world. Still articles like this keep giving them the benefit of the doubt. Like the richest nation in the world is just stupid or something.

Ignorance seems to be the best defence in this era when you get caught profiting big time by screwing people. Back in the old days people like that would have copped a bullet before long, and I think that's all these cappo bastards are really worried about, hence the need to tighten security.