Thursday, January 08, 2004

Costs Mounting From Terrorism Alert

A couple of days ago I referenced some news material that talked about the costs associated with the radical U.S. Foreign Policy and the consequences of a never-ending War on Terror. I was alarmed when I saw that an oil shipping port (or similar) had been temporarily closed in Alaska due to some terror 'chatter'. I don't know much about the oil/shipping/refining/distribution business, but it doesn't take a genius to figure out that costs associated with shutting down *any* operation for a day or so is going to cost a lot of money. I figured the delay of planes might not be too costly because mostly planes were just sitting on the runway and the overhead of running an airport had to be dealt with regardless of whether planes landed on time.

Here's a snapshot of some of the figures being thrown around:

The overtime bill for New Orleans police the week of the Sugar Bowl — where federal officials had specific worries — could reach $300,000. Protection for Las Vegas celebrations rang up more than $400,000 in bills.

"We've always heard freedom isn't free. No kidding," said Jerry Bussell, Nevada's homeland security adviser.

Some smaller cities, too, said stepped-up security would hit their bottom lines. Portland, Maine, spends $5,000 a week for each alert, said Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

The AP article has some other pretty scare quotes, from a civil liberties point of view. George Foresman, Virginia's special deputy for preparedness, talks about the normalization of security procedures.

"As a nation, we're developing a good battlefield tempo," Foresman said. "We've taken the time, we've done deliberate planning, we've done training. ... We call it the new normalcy."

Ladies and germs, welcome to the West Bank.

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