Saturday, November 3, 2007

JMO - What level of risk is acceptable

All the while during George Bush's administration after September 11, 2001 and especially the attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq, and really a good bit of it is Dick Cheney's administration, I keep hearing about 100% protection from terrorists. And through all this I hear from the specialist who say this isn't achieveable, let alone realistic or even reasonable. It's about what level of risk we're willing to accept in the world versus keeping our civil liberities and human rights.

And that is the issue. Every thing in our life has risk, it's the reality of being alive and living in today's world. The statisticians can provide you all the numbers of your chances with anything and everything. You simply and almost unconsciously decide to go through life with the risk. Starting with where you live, and also where you work, the transportation you take, the places you go, the food you eat, the products you use, and on and on in your life.

It's simply what we do. So why not just accept the level of risk with terrorists? We do that too, but we haven't given it much thought. Did those people who worked in the federal building in Oklahoma City think about the risk of a bomb exploding outside the front killing and injuring all those people? We know they didn't even know about terrorism from one of our own citizens. And there have been other acts of violence throughout our history that could easily be called terrorism.

And we all know the risk of flying. We all read about plane crashes. Yet we still fly. We still plan our trips around flying. We go through the long and stupid airport and airline security procedures to sit and wait, and then we board the airplane to fly somewhere we want to go (ok, our luggage goes elsewhere). We don't think about the risk of airplanes with weather and other conditions which could cause the plane to crash.

So why would we not accept the risk of terrorists? Because we know the risk is so small as to be the last think we think about. And we know it's not about all the FBI's work finding terrorists' plans and threats, about the airport and airline security, or about any other aspect of the aftermath of 9/11. Simply put, we know it's small because we accept it. We want the freedom to travel and the freedom of how we get there.

So why is our government demanding more and more "tools", meaning laws, which take our civil liberties and rights in the name of perfection for protection from terrorists when we all know it's not doable. In the struggle against terrorists, it's the back and forth effort with them, and in the work, people will die or be injured in attacks, whether it's a bomb somewhere or an airplance hijacked. So why can't our government be truthful with us and also accept the realization, as we already know, it's part of the risk of life today?

If I had to vote on it, I would vote for the restoration of civil liberties and rights from what we lost and vote against giving our government anymore. We know in hindsight, the FBI had all the information they needed to hinder if not stop 9/11, but they simply didn't have the communications to get it done. It was a problem of laws or technology, where new "tools" wouldn't help, but of simply human beings. They had and could still have all the tools they need, they just need to use them.

More is not better, risk is real, so live with it.

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