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[Ben]:Damned if you do... No discussion found
An awful lot of politicians (mostly Democrats looking to harm Bush's chances in the upcoming election) have been extremely critical of NORAD, not shooting down the aircraft used in the September 11th, 2001 attacks.

This seems silly.
Would any one of these gentlefolk have given the order to fire on the aircraft knowing only what they knew then? Up until that point, hijackings had been relatively harmless affairs resulting at worst in the deaths of those aboard the aircraft which isn't exactly prevented by a volley of cannon fire from the US Air Force. For these arguments to make any sense whatsoever, the advocates would have to claim that someone in a position of power knew in advance how the aircraft would be used in this specific case.

Now, assuming that Bush or one of his staff did know for a fact exactly what the aircraft were going to do, another thing has to be considered - the use of information obtained through inside sources can eliminate the very sources that produced it.

During WWII, the Allies broke the Axis codes through a huge expenditure of manpower and hardware (see the previous article on the Collosus project). Among these broken codes was the Nazi U-Boat fleet's triple-rotor Enigma code machines. Still, even though we often knew the exact position of U-Boats, we couldn't just run out and sink them. A few U-Boats lost without reporting an apparent sighting might be passed off as luck, but if we'd sunk every U-Boat that reported it's location to the Milchk├╝he (literally "Milk cows", the submarine tending vessels that resupplied the U-Boat fleet), they'd quickly realize that their codes had been broken and therefore causing them to change the system. So, even after we knew the location of a U-Boat, we often had to send out a spy plane or a fishing vessel or something to let them know they'd been seen, wait for them to report back to Berlin that they'd been seen and then send Navy vessels out to sink them. This resulted in waiting until U-Boats had already sunk quite a few merchant vessels before we could get them without revealing that we'd cracked their codes.

This also applied to other parts of the war, and applies today to our intelligence gathering services. Even if Bush & Company knew about September 11th beforehand, the very act of stopping it (or stopping more than a part of it - recently it came out that plans were made for 10 aircraft, not just 3) or warning people to avoid target areas at a given time could destroy a valuable intelligence source that might be used to prevent an even more horrible attack in the future.

A couple planes smashing into buildings isn't the worst possible thing that they could do, you know.

I don't like Bush, but these sorts of attacks on him are just silly.
  2004-06-18
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