suppose we were serious about fighting terrorism

I haven't seen a more sensible and economical description of what is ultimately the only way we will be able to successfully oppose and minimize terrorism than that contained in these few paragraphs by sciminc which appeared yesterday as a comment on a Daily Kos post. The item was actually about ACT UP's appearance yesterday on the Convention floor, and pparently some people were upset that the AIDS activists invaded the Republicans' party. Sciminc has a different take and he establishes it with great common sense, but his larger argument is about how we should deal with terrorism, and the italics which appear below [they're mine here] represent his specific prescription. Again, it's just common sense, but that's a quality not seen much these days.

The Act-Up [sic] protest was very small and not intentionally violent. Most reporters will probably treat it as a colorful addition to the big convention story, or maybe as the lead item in a roundup about the various protests of the day.

If the protests stay at about the same reasonable level that they've been at so far, then, of course wingnuts will froth at the mouth, but everyone else will shrug and say, "Eh, kids."

* If protesters came up with some dignified way to get into the conventional hall and protest the war, or maybe just to honor the war dead, that might be a little bit more effective.

* I think that Kerry's supporters who aren't connected with Kerry's campaign might be able to get some mileage out of this by pointing out that, in the long run, the secrets to fighting terrorism are diplomacy, education and efforts to create goodwill in the world.

There is really intense security around Madison Square Garden, yet these protesters got in. It seems as if Al Qaeda terrorists who got onto the convention cleanup crews probably would have just as easy of time getting in, and they might have done something a lot more violent than just chanting anti-Bush slogans.

Moral: it's important to have the best security that you can afford, but you never can afford enough security to handle all possible contingencies. You can't even imagine all possible contingencies. So, you damn well had better create enough goodwill in the world that decent people around the world who notice suspicious activity will report it to the police.

Good people who sympathize with the conspirators will keep their mouths shut.