"This public panic benefits the terrorists whose work is made easier by an overactive government response that magnifies their efforts. In an odd way this puts the government and the terrorists in league with one another," he said. "The main loser, alas, is the terrified public."Meanwhile, Republicans continue to block legislation that would secure chemical plants, despite the fact that as Amy Smithson of the Center for Security and International Studies says, "One of the hallmarks of al-Qaida is that they will use our infrastructure against us."
This is what James Inhofe (R-OK) sneeringly refers to as the security argument. In the looking-glass world of conservatarianism, wiretapping citizens without oversight is necessary because it might prevent a devastating attack, but enforcing chemical plant security is an intolerable infringement of fundamental American liberties.
As usual, the solutions of Sensible Technocrats tend towards appeasement. For instance, here's Daniel Prieto, director of the Reform Institute's Homeland Security Center in Washington, DC:
Let's say we'd offered $3 billion in breaks to companies so that they made decisions that protected major metropolitan areas from chemical attack. That's not a substantial amount of money, compared to our military budget, but it takes care of a major threat.True enough (as long as the threat is actually taken care of, instead of getting defined out of existence, or wallpapered over with pseudopatriotic PR boilerplate). The problem is, you shouldn't have to bribe American companies to make decisions that protect major metropolitan areas. Industries shouldn't be rewarded for clinging to shortsighted, antisocial behavior that effectively holds our cities hostage.
Joke about having a chemical weapon while you're in an airport line, and you'll find yourself in jail. Site a chemical plant in a densely populated area, and you can use it to extort "offers" from the taxpayers whose lives you're endangering. Perhaps it's unconscionably brutal of me, but my approach would be "Fix these problems immediately, or we'll revoke your corporate charter, use your assets to secure the facility, and then auction it off to your competitors."
Who could possibly oppose that idea, save for people who want the terrorists to kill us all?