We Are More or Less Secure

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Republicans and Democrats are bickering over whether, because of U.S. actions taken in the War on Terror, we are safer.

The problem with this argument should be obvious to everyone: the answer is unknowable.

There are two things to measure: how safe we are now, and how safe we were "before." "Before" can be defined in two ways: how safe we were prior to action being taken, or how safe we would be now without any actions being taken.

But none of those three things can be accurately measured. Of course, we obviously cannot know how safe we would be today if things had been different, since that requires speculation on what these past five years would have brought us, which is just impossible: I can just as easily argue that we would have been hit again, as I could argue that nothing more would have happened.

The other two are in theory possible to measure. But if we really had a good idea of how safe we were before 9/11, then I think we would have actually been able to stop 9/11. We didn't have the intelligence at the time, so I am highly sketpical that we can look back now and gain significantly more intelligence about that time than we had then.

And that brings us to how safe we actually are today: and again, we simply don't know. We may think we are in danger, and then nothing ever happens, and maybe it's because of precautions, maybe it is because we thought we knew something we didn't. Ask Americans on September 10, 2001 how safe they thought they were, and the answer is clear: they thought they were a lot more safe than they actually were.

I am not trying to scaremonger here. I think it is simply obvious fact that we don't know a lot more than we do know, and both sides are full of crap when they try to tell us categorically we are, or are not, safer. slashdot.org

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on September 6, 2006 12:27 PM.

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