By Michael Barkun
Even if a document via the congressionally mandated fee at the Prevention of guns of Mass Destruction, Proliferation, and Terrorism concluded that organic or nuclear guns have been potentially to be unleashed within the years quickly after 2001, what americans even have skilled are rather low-tech threats. but even below a brand new management, outstanding family and overseas regulations enacted through the U.S. govt within the wake of Sept. 11 stay unchanged. Political scientist and previous FBI advisor Michael Barkun argues nonrational, emotion-driven obsession with hazards that can't be noticeable has performed and maintains to play an underrecognized position in maintaining the weather of worry that drives the U.S. ''war on terror.''
Barkun identifies a spot among the realities of terrorism--''violence with out a go back address''--and the standard discourse approximately it between executive officers and most of the people. Demonstrating that U.S. place of birth safeguard coverage displays major nonrational considering, Barkun bargains new thoughts for effective--and rational--policymaking.
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Extra resources for Chasing Phantoms: Reality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11
Risk is a dicier matter. For most homeostatic, natural disasters calculations of risk can be made with a fair degree of accuracy, quite well for hurricanes, very poorly if at all for major earthquakes. In the case of metastatic, anthropogenic disasters— especially those likely to cause massive casualties, such as largescale terrorist attacks— calculation of probabilities is impossible. That is, in fact, true for virtually all events that are uncommon. Attempts to assign probabilities to extremely uncommon events are based on guesswork, often disguised by quantification that produces the spurious impression of precision.
It was assumed, too, that al-Qaeda had already secreted second-wave sleeper cells for post-9/11 attacks, a belief that only gradually dissipated. It in fact received pseudoconfirmation from the mysterious appearance of the envelopes containing anthrax spores in October, the origin of which was not determined until many years later. These circumstances led many Americans to believe quite suddenly that they were living in a very dangerous place. The danger was also mysterious. Although the connection of the 9/11 attacks with al-Qaeda was quickly established, the organization was known only to specialists before September 11th, and the organization itself remained silent.
Ironically, the optimism that flowed from science and technology did not take into account the fact that that same science and technology could also produce disasters, namely, anthropogenic disasters. The same power that might afford mastery over nature might also allow some human beings to impose enormous suffering upon other human beings. The doubleedged character of science and technology— its capacity to mitigate some disaster suffering while increasing other kinds— was not immediately clear but became so later, particularly in the twentieth century.