AOH :: ISN-1124.HTM

Comment: We Still Lack Protective Imagination

Comment: We Still Lack Protective Imagination
Comment: We Still Lack Protective Imagination

Forwarded from: Richard Forno  

The London bombs went off over 12 hours ago.

So why is CNN-TV still splashing "breaking news" on the screen?

There's been zero new developments in the past several hours.  
Perhaps the "breaking news" is that CNN's now playing spooky "terror
attack" music over commercial bumpers now filled with dramatic
camera-phone images from London commuters that appeared on the Web
earlier this morning.

Aside from that, the only new development since about noon seems to be
the incessant press conferences held by public officials in cities
around the country showcasing what they've done since 9/11 and what
they're doing here at home to respond to the blasts in
London.....which pretty much comes down to lots of guys with guns
running around America's mass transit system in an effort to present
the appearance of "increased security" to reassure the public. While
such activities are a political necessity to show that our leaders are
'doing something' during a time of crisis we must remember that talk
or activity is no substitute for progress or effectiveness.

Forget the fact that regular uniformed police officers and rail
employees can sweep or monitor a train station just as well as a
fully-decked-out SWAT team -- not to mention, they know it better,
too. Forget that even with an added law enforcement presence, it's
quite possible to launch a suicide attack on mass transit.  Forget
that a smart terrorist now knows that the DHS response to attacks is
to "increase" the security of related infrastructures (e.g., train
stations) and just might attack another, lesser-protected part of
American society potentially with far greater success.  In these and
other ways today following the London bombings, the majority of
security attention has been directed at mass transit.  However, while
we can't protect everything against every form of attack, our American
responses remain conventional and predictable -- just as we did after
the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and today's events in London, we
continue to respond in ways designed to "prevent the last attack."

In other words, we are demonstrating a lack of protective imagination.

Contrary to America's infatuation with instant gratification,
protective imagination is not quickly built, funded, or enacted. It
takes years to inculcate such a mindset brought about by outside the
box, unconventional, and daring thinking from folks with expertise and
years of firsthand knowledge in areas far beyond security or law
enforcement and who are encouraged to think freely and have their
analyses seriously considered in the halls of Washington.  Such a
radical way of thinking and planning is necessary to deal with an
equally radical adversary, yet we remain entrenched in conventional
wisdom and responses.

Here at home, for all the money spent in the name of homeland
security, we're not acting against the terrorists, we're reacting
against them, and doing so in a very conventional, very ineffective
manner.  Yet nobody seems to be asking why.

While this morning's events in London is a tragedy and Londoners
deserve our full support in the coming days, it's sad to see that
regarding the need for effective domestic preparedness here in the
United States, nearly 4 years after 9/11, it's clear that despite the
catchy sound-bytes and flurry of activity in the name of protecting
the homeland, the more things seem to change, the more they stay the


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