PolySciFi Blog

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Substantive Debate

Bruce Schneier has an interesting essay on Katrina in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Excerpt:
Funding security based on movie plots looks good on television, and gets people reelected. But there are millions of possible scenarios, and we're going to guess wrong. The billions spent defending airlines are wasted if the terrorists bomb crowded shopping malls instead.

Our nation needs to spend its homeland security dollars on two things: intelligence-gathering and emergency response. These two things will help us regardless of what the terrorists are plotting, and the second helps both against terrorist attacks and national disasters.
Our government's ineptitude in the aftermath of Katrina demonstrates how little we're getting for all our security spending. It's unconscionable that we're wasting our money fingerprinting foreigners, profiling airline passengers, and invading foreign countries while emergency response at home goes underfunded.
You can agree or disagree with Schneier about whether the money spent on invading foreign countries is wasted, but that's not really the focus of his main point: we need to re-evaluate how we're spending our security money. This is the conversation that I am hoping we can have as a nation because of Katrina. It should be as free of political fingerpointing as possible, because it affects both sides of the political divide equally.

Or we could yell at each other about wedge issues until the next city gets wiped off the map.


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