Liberal Grace

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Let Dubai Run Homeland Security -- we'd be safer



My opinion during the Dubai ports "scandal" was so out-of-the-mainstream that it didn't even register.

I believe that Dubai might actually do a better job in counter-terrorism than the Bush Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

The story this week about the Department of Homeland Security identifying a kangaroo farm and some place called "Nix's Check Cashing" as prime terrorist targets proves my point.
Kangaroos pop up on list as terrorism target


Most of us living in this region know a thing-or-two about terrorists and terrorism. I am sure Dubai-based security experts know a whole lot about it.

To effectively do counter-terrorism, you have to first know who you're fighting against. The Bush Administration doesn't seem to know very much.

Let me tell you what I know about terrorism.

1) Anything is a potential terrorist target... even a kangaroo farm in Georgia. So is every Walmart, every bus, every movie theater, your favorite coffee shop... literally every place with people.

You can't harden everything, so compiling a list of 77,000 "prime" targets makes our government seem hapless and ineffective.

This seems to be what Homeland Security has done with this current list.

2) There is a shorter list of prime strategic targets
that both kill people and disrupt society. Public transportation in major cities is an example of this. So are power plants and airplanes... but not kangaroo farms.

Paying special attention to these prime targets is hugely expensive but still money-well-spent. So a list of these is good idea.

3) By far, active terrorists are the shortest list. They are a relatively small group... probably less than one-tenth of one-percent of even the most disgruntled population.

The smart-money is spent on identifying, infiltrating and stopping these guys.

This is where I think Dubai security experts could probably do a better job at keeping us safe than the Bush Administration.

Over here in Dubai, we know that the vast majority of guys names Mohammed are just plain folk and it would be a huge distraction to screen them all.

Compare this to the Bush administration who thinks that Quaker pacifists are worth spending precious money and valuable personnel to watch!

[Quakers] Say Surveillance of Peace Groups is "Outrageous"

PS: I should add, I believe the way to stop terrorism is to fix the social conditions that breed extremism. This also seems to be so out-of-the-mainstream that it doesn't register.

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