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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

a model of homeland security

i just couldn’t resist the timing of these two events.

yesterday, on august 18, the World Markets Research Centre released their Global Terrorism Index 2003/4. i haven’t read this report (i don’t have $1500 burning a hole in my pocket at the moment), but, some other people have, and they reveal an interesting tiny bit of information. The author of the report is cited in this AP story (courtsey yahoo): “The report says the country least likely to be attacked by terrorists is North Korea.”

today, attorney general john ashcroft kicked off his campaign to “clear up some myths” about and build support for the usa patriot act with a speech before the american enterprise institute. this is apparently the first stop in a three-week, 18-city tour, but the details are being kept quiet. (the ACLU apparently thinks this is to discourage protest).

“If we knew then what we know now, we would have passed the Patriot Act six months before Sept. 11 rather than six weeks after the attacks” — ashcroft, AEI, August 19, 2003.

i guess the usa patriot act has worked so well that we are so “secure” that our attorney general can take a few weeks off to make some speeches. ashcroft apparently also cited today’s bombing of the un hq in iraq as evidence of a continuing threat. and that gives me an opening….

i observe that with 146,000 [heavily armed] soldiers on the ground, full military “control” of the country, 10,000+ dead iraqi soldiers, 6000+ dead iraqi civilians, 200+ dead american [coalition] soldiers – that the un headquarters in iraq wasn’t “safe from terrorists.”

iraq is roughly the same land area as california, with about 70% of the population (almost 33.9 million california residents, compared to about 24.6 million iraqi residents).

let’s return to our model of homeland security for a moment. north korea has about 1 million troops for about 22.5 million residents, and, according to the WMRC, is the safest country in the world (from terrorism). so about 1 soldier for every 22.5 people is “safest.”

extrapolating, maybe we can “secure” iraq with 1.1 million troops, and maybe we can “secure” california with 1.5 million troops (it’s a regime-change thing), and the whole united states with 13 million troops. then again, maybe not.

that’s not the kind of security i want, no matter how many cities ashcroft visits pitching expanded police-state powers. i appreciate the best intentions here, but this is the road to hell.

update: surprisingly, there is a flaw in the logic. israel has 550,000 active servicemembers “protecting” 6.1 million residents, and is most assuredly, “not safe.” so, a 1-to-11 ratio of troops isn’t adequate. i guess you can’t beat the terrorists with an army.

posted by roj at 5:17 pm