Thursday, January 27, 2011

The End of Siege?

Today, the color coded "threat level" system being used by the Department of Homeland Security begins a ninety-day phase-out program.

Walk down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House on any given day. Indeed, a one-block area around the White House has become a sort of walk-through fortress, prohibiting vehicular traffic, and with Secret Service Uniformed Division officers -- the White House Police, they are often called -- occasionally directing passersby, without reason, to walk on the other side of the street from the White House. (You don't argue with them; they often do not know the reason themselves.) Part of the discipline of the profession is to be able to maintain a consistent state of heightened awareness. This is more effective when the threat is imminent, or at least plausible. It is less effective when such awareness is maintained over a sustained period of time without incident.

It is the price of being the world's watchdog, that one is in need of knowing of any threat, to any nation, at any time or place. It will now be maintained without appearing to scare the bejeezus out of the general public.

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