in the aftermath of a terrorist hit, the only alternative we seem to be able to accept is a military strike. a key reason that bush & co. may have put the military in iraq was to have a perpetual front available just for this occasion. assuming that the next terrorist attack is inevitable, our being in iraq will at least allow us to take quick, impressive action against militants, even if they are the wrong militants. in this light, the iraq postwar strategy seems shrewd. bush & co. didn't go in because they thought iraq could be fixed; they went in because they knew it would stay fucked up, a hotbed for extremism. as long as there are insurgents in iraq we will have someone to punish. we can be blind to actual threats, but we won't appear blind. since terrorism is nothing but PR anyway, there is some sort of twisted logic to this.
this is how i would do it, though.
- force all airline passengers to wear nothing but soft, pajama-like outfits. no carry-ons.
- deploy an international system of tamper-proof cargo containers that cannot be opened between source and destination without a "seal" being broken. i.e. allow nothing to be snuck around by ship. Frame the goal of "cargo omniscience" the way kennedy fromed putting a man on the moon and fund international teams to solve the problem.
- tougher gun control laws at home and a comprehensive strategy for disarmament abroad. work towards total prohibition of assault weapons, everywhere, and be persuasive about why this is important.