Monday, May 20, 2002

OH, NOW THAT'S AN IMPROVEMENT: The Bush administration, having been beaten about the ears by the Democrats and press for not publishing general intelligence it had in August 2001 of a possible hijacking plot, is now publishing general intelligence that -- you'll never guess -- another terrorist attack
is "almost certain" and "could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year." (Washington Post)
This kind of general warning might be useful if given to remind us that we're at war, that it's just begun, and that the enemy will try to kill many more of us before we defeat him; in an unconventional war against a mostly hidden enemy, periodic reminders that we are indeed at war are probably necessary to maintain morale and political support. But as a warning per se, it's absurd and its repetition could be dangerous; creating a cycle of warnings followed by never-materializing threats, however sincerely, will dull the senses and create an illusion of improbability, and is no better than crying wolf.

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