"Never again." It is as simplistic as it is absurd. It is as vague as it is damaging. No two words have provided so little meaning or context; no catchphrase has so warped policy discussions that it has permanently confused the public's understanding of homeland security. It convinced us that invulnerability was a possibility.
The notion that policies should focus almost exclusively on preventing the next attack has also masked an ideological battle within homeland-security policy circles between "never again" and its antithesis, commonly referred to as "shit happens" but in polite company known as "resiliency." The debate isn't often discussed this way, and not simply because of the bad language. Time has not only eased the pain of that day, but there have also been no significant attacks. "Never again" has so infiltrated public discourse that to even acknowledge a trend away from prevention is considered risky, un-American. Americans don't do "Keep Calm and Carry On." But if they really want security, the kind of security that is sustainable and realistic, then they are going to have to.
-- Juliette Kayyem
The Sept. 11 memorial’s designers hoped the plaza would be “a living part”
of the city—integrated into its fabric and usable “on a daily basis.” I
thought that sounded nice, so I asked [Bruce] Schneier one last question. Let’s say we dismantled all the security and let the Sept. 11 memorial be a memorial like any other: a place where citizens and travelers could visit spontaneously, on their own contemplative terms, day or night, subject only to capacity limits until the site is complete. What single measure would most guarantee their safety? I was thinking about cameras and a high-tech control center, “flower pot”-style vehicle barriers, maybe even snipers poised on nearby roofs. Schneier’s answer? Seat belts. On the drive to New York, or in your taxi downtown, buckle up, he warned. It’s dangerous out there.
-- Mark Vanhoenacker
The combination of expansive content rights with automated content analysis systems -- unable to really deal appropriately with public domain materials and fair use -- has created a tightening noose that could ultimately squeeze much of the life out of ordinary user-created video content. Even if we stipulate that the current apparent skewing of these systems toward the powerful content giants is the result of practical and technical considerations, rather than any particular policy imperatives, such a viewpoint doesn't help us escape from this rapidly coagulating, stultifying dilemma.
-- Lauren Weinstein
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