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A Worldwide Travel Alert Is Pretty Useless

The State Department today issued a world wide travel alert that will last until August 31st.

Apparently there is concern al-Qa’ida and its affiliates are potentially planning terrorist attacks in the Middle East or “beyond.” What might be a possible target or means of attack are also equally vague:

Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

Well that is sure helpful. I will make sure to try to avoid “official and private” places everywhere on the planet. I will now simply reschedule my vacation for the moon.

I get that if a terrorist attack happened and the State Department didn’t publicly warn about some vague intelligence then it would be a real political headache, but this warning reads more like intelligence community ass covering/reminder we are important than anything useful. The warning provides no useful information besides the idea I should feel a general sense of dread. If you can’t be more specific than “worldwide” you are not giving regular people much to work with.

On a practical level this warning is no different than the same “be alert” message our government has been spreading regarding terrorism for the past decade.

Photo by Herkie released under Creative Commons License

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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