Friday, July 18, 2008

The quixotic quest for invulnerability

Bruce Schneier points out a wonderful paper from Prof John Mueller on the futility of much counter-terrorism activity:

This paper attempts to set out some general parameters for coming to grips with a central homeland security concern: the effort to make potential targets invulnerable, or at least notably less vulnerable, to terrorist attack. It argues that protection makes sense only when protection is feasible for an entire class of potential targets and when the destruction of something in that target set would have quite large physical, economic, psychological, and/or political consequences. There are a very large number of potential targets where protection is essentially a waste of resources and a much more limited one where it may be effective.

Footnote 18 is especially amusing!

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