When Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said that he had a “gut feeling” there would be terrorist attacks in the United States this summer, I knew the jokes would be on the way. It wasn’t long before there was even a new Chertoff terror alert chart drawn up:
A government official with a “gut instinct” is often a bad thing because it usually leads the rest of us to reach for Pepto Bismol, but just because Chertoff’s statement was extemporaneously silly doesn’t mean a threat doesn’t exist, whether it’s this summer or not.
There are those who mock the anti-terror efforts and statements thereof as fear mongering. Is it? In a way, I do find it humorous to see people tell us “there’s nothing to worry about, go on with your day-to-day lives” and then jump back into a concrete bunker, but some critics are a bit over the top.
Consider writings such as this column by Keith Olbermann, who I’m guessing is the first one under the desk when a car backfires but nonetheless believes that terror threats have been vastly overstated for political purposes. If the administration can overstate the threat for political purposes, why can’t Keith Olbermann can also understate the threat for political purposes? Where’s the truth? Probably somewhere in between, in the valley of common sense.
Here’s the baffling part: Shortly after the next terrorist attack in the United States, people like Keith Olbermann will aim rabid criticism at Chertoff and Bush for not doing enough to protect Americans. But that’s just my gut instinct.