Michael Chertoff, director of Homeland Security, back-burnered, yesterday, the task of protecting mass transit from terrorist strikes, saying the onus falls on local government. Chertoff’s reasoning? A plane-as-weapon might kill 3,000 people, whereas a bombing in a subway car would kill “only” 30.
Now, while I recognize that government officials perform a complicated calculus when setting national priorities, and that sometimes that calculus seems cold and cynical, I still think Chertoff’s full of shit.
First of all, you send four suicide bombers into the public areas of Penn Station or Grand Central, and you’re gonna kill more than 30 people. But what he’s also failing to consider here is the economic impact that coordinated transit attacks would have on New York or Washington. I don’t know about D.C., but knocking the MTA, LIRR, NJ Transit, and MetroNorth offline for days after an attack would temporarily cripple the city.
Perhaps that would be okay if New York were just a wretched hive of scum and liberalism, but it’s the financial center of the nation, you idiots. How can that not be a federal priority?
Oh, but look here. Joe Lieberman seems to agree with me: “This has to be, in part, a national responsibility.” Really, Joe? Is that why you voted to reduce the share of security funding that goes to major cities, in favor of helping rural-state senators win pork for back home? You really think Sam Brownback will support your next loserific presidential bid?
*I know, I know. I’m pretending to be the Post this morning.