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The CYA Europe terror alert

The State Department issued a travel alert on the weekend to Americans visiting Europe, warning of a possible terrorist attack. But what's the point of it?

I'm not saying an attack won't happen. But what use is a vague warning? Europe is a huge territory - can they be a little more specific? The State Department recommends that travellers take "every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling." What are people supposed to do with that information?

It seems pretty clear that the US government is engaging in a big CYA exercise - as in "cover your ass". If it so happens that an attack takes place, they can say that they were pro-active. In reality, the terror alert does nothing but whip up aimless fear.

And here I was hoping that the Obama administration was going to be adopting a new policy of resilience. I based that hope on a quote from Obama in Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's Wars, in which he says:

We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever, that ever took place on our soil, we absorbed it and we are stronger. This is a strong, powerful country that we live in, and our people are incredibly resilient.

Great quote. Of course, Obama was roundly criticized by conservatives for this statement, but that only proves that Republicans are bigger wimps than the Democrats (as I argued here). Unfortunately, the State Department did not receive the resilience memo from the White House.

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