One benefit to living in DC is that the lunchtime professional /civic group rubber chicken meetings tend to have more interesting speakers than in , say, Topeka. Last week at an engineering group, the guest speaker was in charge of new construction for the Department of State. "I try to protect our employees from incidents like this", he noted. (1998 US embassy bombing, Nairobi.)
Later on he said "this is wartime." I had heard the same statement a week before from the Director of Public Works at one of the large Army bases near DC. He could not understand why local transportation and environmental agencies were not more cooperative with the Army.
From their perspective, they are right. I have to disagree.
If we were really at war we would be rationing gasoline and tires.
We' might be rationing meat and sugar.
We'd probably be rationing computer chips.
There would be a draft.
We'd have secure borders. There would be still be a lot of resident aliens working here but we would be keeping track of who and where they are.
Taxes would be a lot higher; government services, for most of us, would be a lot lower. Few would complain.
Bipartisanship would mean something. Politics really would stop at the water's edge.
The State Department employee made another comment, in passing, that makes me
wonder if he had heard something recently that stuck with him, or if he had
just been to one too many security briefings that week.
We need to prepare the American people to respond to chemical and biological attacks. The government has not done a very good job of that and we should. It 's
going to happen.