Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I'm Not Worried (too much) ...

... about the election being postponed due to a terrorist attack. The idea has been floated out there, everybody knows about it, and everybody thinks it's a bad idea.

However, I am seriously worried about a terrorist attack. Al Qaeda favors Bush, for the obvious reason that Bush's policies have been totally ineffectual against Al Qaeda, and Kerry might actually do something effective, like find a way to put a decent number of troops into Afghanistan and lean on Pakistan to clean up their act in the "tribal" areas.

So how could Al Qaeda campaign most effectively for Bush? A nice big, messy terrorist attack, no more than a couple of days before the election would be ideal. The ideal date, IMHO, would be 31 October. Long enough for the fact of the attack to sink in and for people to get good and scared, but not long enough for rational thought to return. People will rally behind the President in times of high stress, despite the fact that Georgie failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks and will have just failed to prevent another attack.

Another scenario is that Kerry is ahead in October and Bush appears to be catching up. A postponement would then give Bush more catch-up time. Theoretically, it wouldn't even need a real attack; just a warning that an attack is imminent, coupled with raising the Terror Alert Level to Red. However, the Administration has cried "wolf" like this 'way too often for it to be effective.

The most worrisome scenario would be if Kerry has a huge lead, is pulling further ahead, and looks to have long enough coattails for the Democrats to take over at least one branch of Congress. The Republicans, with actions that range from thoughtless (NAACP, gutting environmental regulations, tax cuts for the rich) to out- and- out criminal (The Valerie Plame affair; "no bid" contracts for Halliburton), have made it very clear that they never expect to be out of power ....

Doesn't help that, from what I've seen, the "increased precautions" against terrorism that we've put in place seem to be pretty pathetic. Most of them seem to be press releases, bureaucratic shuffling (the "Department of Homeland Security"), and "terror theater" (airport search silliness).

Warning sign -- any significant diversion of effort from border security and "watch list" monitoring to "wild goose" chases like porn, pot, or protesters.

If I were a terrorist, I'd have had the explosives/ poison gas/ germs/ whatever stashed well in advance (months ago) -- putting up checkpoints now would be a waste of effort. All it'd need would be a phone call -- or just a wait for the timer ....

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