A Losing Battle

While I'm not in favor of going as far as John Woo and authorizing torture (mainly because torture rarely produces quality information), I've always believed that the freedoms that Americans love, so much a part of the nation, are the same things that condemn them to never winning the war on terror. Terrorists are often willing to die for their cause and don't care about things like the Constitution, the same can't be said (at least one would hope not) about the US police and FBI.

Why am I bringing this up? All these thoughts occurred to me when reading the recent "No shit, Sherlock" article in the New York Times on hotel security in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. The article is your typical, lowered standards at the NYT bs. It referred to the "fact" that hotels are "becoming magnets" for terrorist attacks, though it only refers to the Islamabad attack last month and Mumbai's recent troubles. The thing that really got me was this part:
Worse, hotel executives and security experts say that little can be done to stop
extensively trained gunmen with military assault rifles and grenades who launch
attacks like the ones that left this city’s Oberoi and Taj Mahal Palace &
Tower strewn with bodies.

Really? What makes hotels different than city streets, malls, train stations, stadiums, etc? The reality is that unless everywhere we go starts installing metal detectors, x-ray machines (and people trained to use them), and other security devices all over our cities, there is no way to stop these kind of terrorist attacks. Surveillance of suspected terrorists and other pre-attack measures are the best way to prevent these attacks. When attacks happen, a fast response from highly trained authorities is all that can be done.

It's sad, but if we don't want to live in a police state, there is little that can be done to completely prevent terrorism.

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