Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Point Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero One Percent Doctrine

Ron Suskind has a new book called The One Percent Doctrine that is causing many people to take another look at how the War on Terror is being waged. The book takes its title from a statement by Vice President Dick Cheney that "if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction -- and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time -- the United States must now act as if it were a certainty." Frankly, I was shocked when I read this. Is the Vice President actually saying that if there was a 0.1% chance of a terrorist attack, we would do nothing? What if there was a 0.01% chance? Or a 0.001% chance? Nothing? No Response? This is outrageous.

I thought that the Bush Administration was doing everything humanly (and even inhumanely) possible to protect us from a terrorist attack and now we discover that in fact they have left a gaping loophole in their strategy. What kind of a message does it send to terrorists that we are ceding them an entire percentage point? I would be able to sleep at night much better if Cheney had proposed, say, a Point Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero One Percent Doctrine. That would at least be better than a One Percent Doctrine. It wouldn't be perfect, however.

If you doubt that one percent is a large number, think again. One percent of the U.S. population is almost 3 million Americans, about the population of the city of Chicago. Apparently, the city of Chicago was just ceded to the terrorists. One percent of the area of the United States is 59,000 square miles. That is the equivalent of the size of Georgia. Under the Cheney Doctrine, goodbye Georgia! One percent of eight years is 29 days. So for nearly a month of President Bush's term we are completely unprotected from terrorist attacks.

It makes me wonder what kinds of things we weren't prepared to do to prevent a terrorist attack under this doctrine. According to Suskind's book the Bush Administration tortured a mentally ill man, bombed Al Jazeera headquarters in Afghanistan, tracked the credit card purchases of Americans that went through First Data the largest processor of credit card transactions, used evidence they knew was untrue to drum up support for the War in Iraq, marginalized the CIA when it failed to present adequate evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and kept information from President Bush to give him "deniability." Now we find out that a lot more could have been done, but Cheney's One Percent Doctrine has severely limited us from doing whatever was possible to prevent even the most infinitesimal chance of a terrorist attack. I think all Americans are entitled to ask: Why aren't we being protected from a .000001% chance of a terrorist attack?

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mistah charley, ph.d. said...

I hear what you're saying, Jon. Still, even if the terrorists DO kill three million Americans, chances are good it won't be you or me. Don't worry so much. Have a beer and watch some tv.

OutOfContext said...

I'm surprised to find you are part of the "Blame Cheney First" crowd. There is a huge flaw in your argument. You accept,prima facie, something you have read in some book. Did you know this guy Susskind, at some point, actually worked for Ted Kennedy (or somebody like him)? I know in my heart Dick Cheney would not be irresponsible enought to make a statement like that. And if he did, I know in my heart he is too clever and patriotic to explain, in public, his true meaning. Let the terrorists try and figure it out on their own. I even get nervous talking about it myself.

benmerc said...

One thing for sure...Cheney's got his "bunker" well stocked and supplied.
I am not, nor will I ever be impressed with the likes of Dick Cheney and his brand of "patriotism". He showed his hand back in the 1060's, I don't need to read some god damn book to know that one.

Kel said...


You mustn't worry. You must remember that when Bush said he was only listening to terrorists he was actually listening to all of us.

Cheney is obviously playing this card to keep the human rights whackos at bay!

They'll be going after everyone no matter how slight the percentage.

Sleep well on that news.

Anonymous said...


you play the fool so well. you don't think they thought about the .000000000000001% doctrine? the problem was that there was no more to milk after 1%. duh.

nice post!

fish said...

The point zero zero zero zero zero one percent doctrine still leaves 300 unprotected Americans! You need three more zeros to achieve the desired level of safety.

Anonymous said...

He showed his hand back in the 1060's,

Wow... proof that Dick Cheney is, in fact, undead.

Fredric Dennis Williams said...

What about a terrorist whistle? We give one to every American, and they must blow it constantly. If no one dies at the hands of a terrorist, it must be working.

The one-percent doctrine is a license to do whatever you feel like, at any expense, without any analysis before or after. And, since you really can't prevent a determined enemy (or a crazy guy at Virginia Poly) from killing people, it is all B.S. -- expensive, foolish, bloody, pointless activity.

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