June 9, 2004
And We're Worried About Box Cutters?
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Having just watched a riveting movie called Meltdown, I was struck with fear that we are not a secure nation. We are not secure because we have just wasted billions of dollars on an invasion that did nothing for us, using money that could have gone to shore up our defenses at home. We are not secure because this administration chose to give tax cuts to the wealthy, money that also could have gone to secure this nation.
Right now, according to a brief I just read coming from the U.S. Nuclear Power Industry, the USA has over 100 nuclear reactors providing 20% of its electricity. 100 potential targets and bombs, across our country, leaving me wondering just how secure they really are.
How much is your average security guard earning at these plants? Do you really trust the security of these potential targets when many of these employees are paid hourly rates? Also, deregulation of these plants means both ownership and operation are now concentrated within a few corporations. Should any of these plants be taken over by terrorists, disgruntled workers, or soldiers who know how to detonate and blow them up, are we that willing to trust these corporate heads to protect us from such a doomsday scenario? This is enough to make anyone's hair stand on end.
After watching the movie, I wonder if our new Homeland Security Agency is fully prepared for such a scenario. This is the same agency that secures our country by changing the colors on a day-to-day basis.
This should also serve as a warning to the many other plants around this country, such as chemical plants, water plants and the like. How well are they protected and by whom, as we spend billions on tax cuts and the war in Iraq?
In this movie Meltdown, a group of cancer-ridden ex soldiers, who were exposed to radiation (thanks to our government), posed as terrorists and took over a nuclear power plant. They did so not to blow it up, but to show our weaknesses to the citizens of the country. The take over also served as a message that there are true terrorists who would think nothing of doing this to us.
What was truly terrifying was that one of these ex soldiers was actually prepared to blow up the nuclear power plant out of anger towards our government. If you think this cannot happen, where an ex soldier has the will to do this, all I can say is "Remember Timothy McVeigh?" After all, he came back to this country after our military trained him in the use of deadly force, then discarded him. 168 people paid the price.
How many more Timothy McVeighs are just waiting and are they even on anyone's radar scope as we are concentrate on Al Qaeda and send thousands of troops over to Iraq? We have heard, all too often, of benefits being cut to those who have served our country. They are, most likely, angry. Can some of them be time bombs just waiting to go off?
I do not mean to say that only ex soldiers are capable of horrendous acts such as this, because any disgruntled worker who has worked at these plants and knows how to blow them is a potential problem. Who is watching them?
This should also serve notice to the corporate heads of these plants so that no one leaves such an employment disgruntled. Respect the worker, and secure our nation.
And what about our first responders, such as the police and firefighters who are not being adequately funded by our government, thanks to those tax cuts and billions spent in Iraq? Are they prepared to face any of these scenarios? Do they even have the necessary resources? If there are mass causalities, do we as a country have enough EMTs? With cuts to our hospitals and cost overruns causing lay offs, are hospitals ready for these kinds of scenarios and mass causalities?
As we check passengers at terminals for box cutters and other items, in an effort to secure our skies, which scenario has the possibility of taking more lives? If such a doomsday scenario were to happen at any of the plants I have just mentioned, the effects could last for years.
While I realize that the movie Meltdown is a work of fiction, it does bring up many questions that need addressing and are not being addressed by this administration. Are continuous troop deployments to Iraq and checking for box cutters more important than securing the many nuclear, chemical plants and water plants around this country?
The twist of this movie was that when the emergency ended, instead of telling the country the truth about who staged the take over, the government lied and stated that it was Islamic terrorists trained in the Philippines. Before finding out the true identities of the terrorists, they were prepared to use force against the wrong people.
Are we so trusting in George W. Bush that we would believe he is telling us the truth about who really committed acts of terrorism, when we know he has already lied to us, the congress and the world?
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
"US Nuclear Power Industry," UIC Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper # 58, March 2004
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