The things that keep me awake at night: disease as a weapon, especially some sort of weaponized smallpox. I don't talk about it much, because frankly, it does bring people down. Most people I know don't really give such things a second thought, and probably think I'm a tad morbid for giving them as much thought, as much worry, as I do. I was pretty sure, when I was a teenager, that some bio-weapon would escape a lab and nearly wipe out the human race (rather like in the Brit series, "Survivors"). I used to plan in my head what I would do, how I would try and protect my family. Yes, I was a cheery child, huh? Now those dark imaginings are much more real to me. It would seem Peggy Noonan is having similar feelings:
.... Man has never devised a weapon he hasn't eventually used. When you live in the age of WMDs you have to assume they'll eventually be used. And if you assume that, then you have to take steps to keep people as safe as possible as long as possible, and you have to be thinking about how to help them if the next big bad thing happens. Right now, a wise man recently complained, we're essentially waiting to be attacked. Waiting does not seem prudent.Posted by Ithildin at March 10, 2005 4:04 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE
I am not saying nothing is being done. We are searching out the wicked in foreign lands; we are attempting to break terror cells; we are attempting to get imprisoned terrorists to talk. We have a Homeland Security Department but it is in a continual gearing-up stage, as new bureaucracies, as bureaucracies in general, tend to be.
As citizens I think we should ask questions every day. What is the status of vaccine production? Most of our children have never been vaccinated against smallpox. But we know smallpox is one biological weapon that terrorists may use against us.
To this day I don't think there is a politician in America willing to sound the gong consistently on civil defense, because to build up support for toughening our civil defense you have to tell people the facts, again and again. Politicians don't want to sound like fear mongers. They don't want to look eccentric or obsessed. And they don't want to be tuned out. I think the general feeling among political leaders on civil defense is they're afraid America will look at them and say, "You are ruining my high. You are so bringing me down." No one wants to hear again and again that you're a target. But we are a target.