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BlueWolf's Howl

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June 15, 2002

Preventive Medicine

I spent quite a few years in Preventive Medicine. It was a thankless field. Doctors and nurses get thanks all the time. They heal the sick. It was my job to keep you from getting sick in the first place. When was the last time you thanked someone for what didn't happen? Never. But screw up once and it's obvious to everyone and heads are going to roll. This is much like the FBI and CIA.

Iím not defending the FBI and CIA. They probably did drop the ball on preventing the September 11th attacks. They had the information. Someone could have put 2 + 2 together and gotten 4. And they didnít. It wasnít prevented. It happened. And now heads are going to roll -- just like in Preventive Medicine when groups of people come all come down with the trots (or worse). This was much worse. And heads are going to roll farther and faster.

Knowing this, I have to ask ďwhy?Ē from a different angle. Iíd like to know about the other (more dangerous) situation that demanded more of their attention. Why were they too busy (presumably with bigger fish to fry) to focus on the developments that lead to the attack? We know what we lost. What didnít we lose?

Knowing what did happen has demoralized us. People are scared (some more than others). That is the aim of terrorists. And even if we donít let our fears deter us from our normal routines, the fear exists. Courage Ė not the lack of fear, but the ability to continue with a task despite the fear. We are courageous. We have moved beyond the shock and fear to a place where we are in an active ďdetect and deterĒ mode. This is good. Now what about the emotional factor?

I think thereís more fear and worry in our hearts than necessary. And I donít think itís because weíre safer than we believe. Itís because we donít have any perspective. We canít place this against the background of the Total Picture. Did we miss one out of one or one out of four? Maybe this was one out of ten? It could even be one out of one hundred. We donít know. And we canít know for sure. Prevention is a hard thing to quantify. We know how many lives were lost in the attacks. We donít even know the intended target of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, much less the number of potential casualties.

And on top of that, the information is CLASSIFIED. Weíll never know. I wish we could. I bet the FBI and CIA wish we could too. It would probably help their image right now to be able to produce some sort of batting average. And it would help our hearts.

Posted by BlueWolf on June 15, 2002 10:26 AM