Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Managing Risk

I don't envy Tom Ridge or covet his job for even a brief nanosecond. He's been assigned with managing a risk where there is no upside involved. All of the risk he manages is negative in nature. He constantly mulitiplies the likelihood of a bad outcome by its severity to derive a level of hazard.

Unfortunately for We The People, he has color-coded these hazard levels in a manner that sometimes defies eay comprehension and then tells us all to go forth be vigilant. In doing this, Secretary Ridge sets himself up for political failure.

If he raises the terror warning on insufficient or sketchy info, he empties the piggy-bank in every municipal police and fire department. If he decides to ride one out and roll the dice, and if five or six anthrax letters reach destinations in and around DC, it's hello Kerry/Deadwards . If Secretary Ridge decides to stay in Siesta Mode and Al Quaida pops about ten suitcase nukes in major US population centers, Charles Krauthammer gives up very realistic speculation as to what the negative effect would be.

There is no gradualness and there are no countermeasures to a dozen nuclear warheads detonating simultaneously in American cities. Think of what just two envelopes of anthrax did to paralyze the capital of the world's greatest superpower. A serious, coordinated attack on the United States using WMDs could so shatter the United States as a functioning, advanced industrialized society that it would take generations to rebuild.

What is so dismaying is that such an obvious truth needs repeating. The passage of time, the propaganda of the anti-American left and the setbacks in Iraq have changed nothing of that truth. This is the first time in history the knowledge of how to make society-destroying weapons has been democratized. Today, small radical groups allied with small radical states can do the kind of damage to the world that in the past only a great, strategically located industrialized power such as Germany or Japan could do.

It is a new world and exceedingly dangerous. Everything is at stake. We are now deeply engaged in a breast-beating exercise for not having connected the dots before 9/11. And yet here we are three years after 9/11, the dots already connected themselves, and we are under a powerful urge to ignore them completely.

Therefore, when a candidate for President shows the level of prioritizing that Senator Kerry displayed yesterday, this worries KotM.

KING: News of the day, Tom Ridge warned today about al Qaeda plans of a large-scale attack on the United States. Didn't increase the -- you see any politics in this? What's your reaction?

KERRY: Well, I haven't been briefed yet, Larry. They have offered to brief me. I just haven't had time.

Kerry certainly had time to join the Hollywood B-Side in a large kitty fundraiser that same day. He's prioritized the War on Terror and protecting the country or managing the risks that the US now has to live with are not up there with raising campaign bucks. This is earily reminiscent of the last President the Democrats elected who considered getting campaign donations from the PLA worth trading our nuclear weapons blueprints for.

The KotM bottom line, Risk Management is a political loser. Every time Ridge calls out the National Guard and nothing goes awry, he's the little boy crying "wolf" for political gain. Every time Secretary Ridge decides not to spend the cash necessary to jack up the threat level, he's crossing both fingers and toes that AL Quaida doesn't do to a US city what Tom Clancy's terrorists did to Denver in "Sum Of All Fears".


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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