Monday, October 24, 2005

Looming Evil, Flaming Death, Yeah, Whatever
You may remember the speech He Who Shall Not Be Named gave earlier this month in which he spoke of 10 terrorist plots that had been foiled. Oooh, very scary. The list of actual plots was released last week--and it's not quite what was advertised.
Intelligence officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the White House overstated the gravity of the plots by saying that they had been foiled, when most were far from ready to be executed. Others noted that the nation's color-coded threat index was not raised from yellow, or "elevated" risk of attack, to orange, or "high" risk, for most of the time covered by the incidents on the list.
So they exaggerated. Yawn. What's weirder is that several famous foiled plots we know about, including shoe bomber Richard Reid, and whatever led to the famous Christmas orange alert of 2003, are missing from the list.

It's one thing to screw up the big stuff, as I believe I have noted before. Anybody can screw up the big stuff. It's another thing entirely to be unable to get smaller things right. Surely, assembling a list of high-profile terror alerts, even if it's hot air deployed in the service of public relations, is a small thing that should be easy to do. Unless you really don't give a damn anymore--or didn't give a damn to begin with.

Recommended Reading: In a wired world, everyone's a critic. Over at Amazon.com, everyone can be a book critic. A website called The Morning News was inspired by Time's recent list of the 100 best novels to cruise the Amazon user reviews of some of those books, and put together what it calls "a compilation of the best of the worst . . . about the best." I found it highly educational. I learned that Harry Potter is irrefutably better than George Orwell, that four pages of Henry Miller is enough, and that at least one reader thinks Slaughterhouse-Five is nonfiction.

PS: Comments are working again. Or so it seems.

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