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Bush will observe "high alert" at...the World Series?
October 30, 2001 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Bush will observe "high alert" at...the World Series? Confirmed at the NY Times. Is this sort of mixed signal supposed to make us feel better about our safety? At least "officials disclosed that Vice President Dick Cheney [has] been taken to an undisclosed secure location." Let's review: we're on high alert; the President is going to a sporting event; the Vice-President is safe. Tom Toles got it right.
posted by precipice (28 comments total)

 
why is it always the *vice* president who is in a secure location?

I know, lots of you think that it's because he's really the decision-maker, and lots of you think that he's not there at all, but out somewhere making dirty oil deals, and lots of you can see how the president sort of is the one who has to make these gestures.....

but it still seems weird to me. that they keep saying that, I mean. it kind of seems to me like they're trying to hide where he really is, I guess, with their constant references to this "secure location".
posted by rebeccablood at 11:53 AM on October 30, 2001


According to the Times piece, Dick is being protected in order to safeguard the continuity of government in the event of an attack on President Bush. So I guess in a sense they really want to make sure they hold onto that election victory.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:07 PM on October 30, 2001


yeah, but presumably, they're *always* doing that, for both guys.

I think the government dost protest too much.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:22 PM on October 30, 2001


Mixed signals indeed.

So what the hell does "be on high alert" mean? Does it make sense to issue proclamations like this?
posted by preguicoso at 12:31 PM on October 30, 2001


Is this sort of mixed signal supposed to make us feel better about our safety?

What makes you think the government wants you to feel safe? It is in their interests to have a fearful populace.
posted by Neb at 1:06 PM on October 30, 2001


i still think Cheney's dead and that they just parade his taxidermied body out every so often to make people think he's alive. the 'undisclosed secured location' is actually the coat closet next to the front door of the White House. or maybe Bush, being the huntin' type, actually keeps Cheney's body mounted above the fireplace.
posted by tolkhan at 1:11 PM on October 30, 2001


It is in their interests to have a fearful populace

no it is not. a man who has nothing to lose is the most dangerous man in the world.

it is in the government's interest to have a populace who thinks they are both in a position to handle the situation, and that they are doing so. it doesn't matter that they be scared, but it matters very much that they have confidence in the government.

remember, there are more of us than of them; not only could we storm the whitehouse and take it over if we all got together to do it, we could also just ignore the rules, which would actually have more of an effect if we all started doing that at once. again, there are more average citizens than there are police.

in any case, a terrified populace is the probably even harder to control than an enraged populace.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:17 PM on October 30, 2001


Is Bruce Willis gonna be crawling around the basement underneath home plate, all sweaty and dirty, as he slowly clips the red(?) wire to diffuse the bomb - just as Jeter homers in the bottom of the ninth to win?
posted by davebush at 1:29 PM on October 30, 2001


... just as Jeter homers in the bottom of the ninth to win?

Good plot, but terrible ending.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:33 PM on October 30, 2001


oh for cripes sake, all it means is that they haven't finished legislating your freedoms away yet, so you need to remain fearful for a while yet, but not so fearful that you wont spend your money, because that could create a real problem for them. capice?
posted by quonsar at 2:02 PM on October 30, 2001


Actually, I like a happy ending like that. But I digress.

I'm not sure why there's any amount of confusion at all about Cheney's being shuttled about to secure locations. Would you prefer he be standing next to Bush so when someone takes aim at the Prez he can perish right alongside? That's not the way it works. Bush is the symbol of our United States Government and must be the one paraded about. It would do our morale a lot worse to see Cheney all over the place but Bush hidden away, not to mention how horrid it would be for his pollsters' numbers. Some may say it's because Bush is the figurehead and Cheney is the fire in terms of who really leads this country, but regardless, they have to keep them all separated in the event that one locale is attacked. For interesting reading on this subject, I point you to the fiction (?) work Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. Essentially, someone quite low on the governmental totem pole became the Commander in Chief because everyone else was wiped out.

Here's an interesting thought: Imagine if we time warped back to the early 90s and were in the company of George Bush Sr. and Dan Quayle, and were facing the same situation. How much more discomfort would you feel if Quayle were the one being moved from secure location to secure location to preserve his safety, and Bush Sr. were paraded about at World Series games? Presidential image aside, how much safer would you feel if Bush were the one being safely hidden around the country? I'd rather Cheney be safe and sound and able to give advice to the Prez at this point, because I think he really needs it. I mean, come on... Ridge? Please. I hear Ridge and all I can think of is The Bold and the Beautiful.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Go Yankees!
posted by evixir at 2:23 PM on October 30, 2001


Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Go Yankees!


and take the damn mets with you.


ot: they should be protecting cheney. obviously there are infiltrators in the u.s.; it's a legitimate threat. but why the govt. continues to announce that cheney has been taken to the 'USL" is beyond me.
posted by lescour at 2:32 PM on October 30, 2001



Rebecca, you're confusing fear with anger. When people are afraid of external threats, they look to the government for protection. Nobody storms anything when they're afraid, they just sort of cower and shake and wait for daddy to make it all better. Which has to be lovely, if you're the daddy. I mean, because of fear, we actually have people telling us we should all be united, and stand behind whatever our leaders do. That's a pretty sweet deal for them.
You're right about wanting to seem in control, and I think that's what all these warning are about. If another attack happens, the government wants to cover its ass and say, "We told ya so!" They know that they'll look pretty bad to the average person if there's another terrorist attack with no warning.
posted by Doug at 2:56 PM on October 30, 2001


I loved Alas Babylon and I happen to have it sitting within arms reach here. Great book.

Go Yankees!!!
posted by fooljay at 2:59 PM on October 30, 2001


Actually, if you're worried about some sort of attack at the game, look to this movie.
Where IS Reggie Jackson through all this?
posted by Grum at 3:16 PM on October 30, 2001


Rebecca, you're confusing fear with anger.

no I'm not. you're confusing insecurity with real fear. I meant exactly what I said. think about being really, really scared , as scared as you might be if aliens landed all around the country all at once, and guns had no effect on them, and they wouldn't talk to anyone.

and then think about how much regard you would have for traffic laws, for the directives of the government (especially if you thought they couldn't have any more effect on the aliens than the farmers who took shots at them could).

you'd only come running to the government as long as you thought they could keep you safe; the minute you thought they couldn't, all bets would be off.
posted by rebeccablood at 3:49 PM on October 30, 2001


What was that alert again? John Ashcroft Briefs the Press on the Terrorist Threat, a "free translation" by Slate's Timothy Noah of this transcript.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:11 PM on October 30, 2001


The FAA restricted the airspace around Yankee Stadium, to add another irony to the list.

I agree with your thinking, Rb, but the more interesting question to me is how much abuse and lies can the typical American take, even post-911? I'm mad at my goverment. And I think realistically the only thing that keeps me alive is the terribly long odds of being killed in a terror attack, not my friends at the CIA and FBI. But I'm in the extreme minority. Most people, as presented in, for example, the recent NYT/CBS poll, want the government to do more of what it is doing: Harrassing college students, profiling people with suspicious books and facial hair, "seucring the homeland," bombing Afghanistan. The whole idea of civil liberties just made a huge shift, and almost everyone has consented to it. Is this because they're angry, insecure, or really afraid? Or is it because their most fundamental assumptions about the role of government have finally come out.
posted by rschram at 4:24 PM on October 30, 2001


I dunno, Rebecca, what you're describing doesn't sound like fear so much as baseless, screaching terror. People in fear don't feel the same way as someone in a hopeless situation of imminent death. You can be afraid and act semi-rationally, which is very different than the anarchy in the streets model you present.
I dunno, I think it is in the governments interest to scare the population occassionally. Not terrify them in the "evil, unstoppable aliens are going to eat you," way, just a little bit of the old, "boy, you're screwed without us."
posted by Doug at 5:20 PM on October 30, 2001


What makes you think the government wants you to feel safe? It is in their interests to have a fearful populace.

Dear God. With paranoia like this, there's no way government can do anything right. If they didn't issue a warning and something happened, some asshole would dig up evidence that Al-Qaeda communications were up significantly last week and scream, "Why didn't they warn us?!" I would hate to be in John Ashcroft's position.

Better safe than sorry. If nothing else the public threat warnings signal to the terrorists that we're not sitting comfortably waiting to be surprised again. If the government thought these warnings were going to incite panic-level fear, you wouldn't be hearing them. Most people with a decent level of common sense understand that it simply means "be aware of your surroundings and note any suspicious activity", which, I for one think is good for the American public. Ignorance may have been bliss, but it was still ignorance, no matter how comfortable and appealing. This country has long been very vulnerable, and people are just now waking up to that, despite repeated assertions by various intelligence agencies over the last ten years that there were plenty of credible post-Cold War threats to U.S. security and repeated appeals *not* to cut their budgets. Most of the public's reaction before Sept 11th was "we're perfectly safe. Let's cut defense spending."

Everything the administration said in the beginning - "this is going to be a long war; much of it will, by necessity be covert; and we can't explain everything we do without compromising our sources" seems to be conveniently forgotten now that people are realizing they weren't kidding about the "long war" part.
posted by lizs at 7:06 PM on October 30, 2001


This country has long been very vulnerable, and people are just now waking up to that

This is exactly the point I was trying to make, lizs. You thinking that you and the country are somehow vulnerable makes you that much more likely to give up your freedoms to the government so that they will 'protect' you from those vulnerabilities. You are handing power to the government by blindly trusting them, and they profit greatly from the people's blind trust.

I, however, do not feel vulnerable, and do not feel the need to have the government protect me.
posted by Neb at 7:35 PM on October 30, 2001


You are handing power to the government by blindly trusting them, and they profit greatly from the people's blind trust.

You think this is about blind trust? How unbelievably presumptuous. You don't even know me and you understand my motives?

I think I can pretty well distinguish credible threats from bullshit propaganda (and I'm not denying that our government ever puts out bullshit propaganda) having studied international security, military history etc., formally and having done some professional advisory work on chemical weapons issues. many of the threats we're facing now existed long before the Bush administration and 9/11. *non-governmental* experts have been talking about them for years in the private sector and in academia. You're only hearing about them from the government now because politics and budget allocations for various functions such as defense are driven by the public agenda. The public's agenda, in turn, is driven by issue attention cycles that are usually initiated by some major event (i.e., 9/11) and last as long as the public's attention span and the media's willingness to cover it (and corollary ability to make money off of it), which tend to be interdependent. I find your manipulative-government (as if it were a *homogenous* body) man-behind-the-curtain theory entertaining, but in it's not news that the various players - including th media and the private sector - act in their own self-interests. What you're neglecting is that it is entirely possible to act in your own-self interest and do it in an ethical way that does not include intentional manipulation, which you deny that the government is doing. Even if by some stretch of the imagination your theory was right, you haven't produced any concrete evidence to support your argument. Show me some proof that the goverment is fabricating security threats.

The next time you read an article or book purporting to expose some sort of government conspiracy or corruption i would highly suggest you ask yourself what the author or media conglomerate that produced the book or article gets out of painting themselves as the arbiters of truth by self-righteously "exposing" government corruption. If there were no "truth" to "expose", it would be a pretty slow news day.

If you don't think we're vulnerable, you're either ignoring history or in denial. you don't have to have access to classified information to understand that if we weren't vulnerable, 9/11 would have never happened. (try this - name one reason why we *wouldn't* be vulnerable.)

I'm by no means advocating that we live our lives in fear; only that we be realistic about the circumstances, and the reality is that there are a number of people in this world that have a *vested interest* (to use your languange) in the destruction of the United States and/or whatever hegemonic influence we have. A few of these parties get more daring as they get more desperate, and the more daring they get, the stronger the immediate threat to the U.S.
posted by lizs at 9:19 PM on October 30, 2001


> Vice President Dick Cheney [has] been taken to an
> undisclosed secure location.

Wrigley Field.
posted by pracowity at 12:04 AM on October 31, 2001


I heard that Bush threw a nice cut fastball with some movement on it.

Heard the sports radio folks (here in Boston) this morning discussing how the president has a stronger arm than our BoSox' Rod Beck or Frank Castillo. Probably true, but until Bush grows a mullet the size of Beck's, there's no discussing this.
posted by tpl1212 at 4:54 AM on October 31, 2001


"While the alert was not specific about location of possible attacks, they may be linked to the American Midwest, the Independent has learnt."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:12 AM on October 31, 2001


With paranoia like this, there's no way government can do anything right.

You think this is about blind trust? How unbelievably presumptuous. You don't even know me and you understand my motives?


lizs, you call my opinions Paranoid, but get offended when I comment on yours?

The whole point here is that I don't feel threatened by these 'threats' that you keep talking about. Terrorists are not going to attack me in my home. Therefore, I don't feel I need any extra protection/warnings from my government. But, that is just me.
posted by Neb at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2001


Would you prefer [Cheney] be standing next to Bush so when someone takes aim at the Prez he can perish right alongside?

well, given that he only has two possible options, between hidden away at an undisclosed location or holding hands with the Prez while skipping merrily down Pennsylvania Avenue, i guess i'd have to pick the latter, just because that image in my mind makes me happy.
posted by tolkhan at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2001


OKOKOK, I'm a Democrat, voted for Gore, would do so again. But I have to admit that I was very impressed by Bush's solo walk to the mound last night. Very good political move, showing the world that he's unafraid to stand alone in the midst of a crowd, at least 50 feet away from any direct physical protection. Yes, I know there must have been 500 snipers all around, security cameras on every seat, etc. But, still, it was quite impressive. He looked positively Presidential.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2001


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