The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 12, 2007 1:50PM

2007_7_scared.jpgIt's no secret that Chicagoist is interested in global politics. In the wold-wide checkerboard of cities, we love knowing that our little City by the Lake is quickly becoming a global destination, for business, people, education, and life. That's why our ears perk up a little bit when some national or international figure pays us a visit; even more so when Chicago is used as a platform for some sort of important announcement or drama.

Unfortunately, the last 7 years haven't been good times for the nation on the global stage, and Chicago has played it's role in that drama as well. Tuesday was no exception, when Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board "I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk," adding "summertime seems to be appealing to [al-Qaeda].... We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities." Chertoff, of course, offered no specifics, no intelligence estimates that would indicate increased vulnerability. No nothing really, just a "gut feeling". In essence, Chertoff has told the nation, through the Chicago Tribune, to be afraid, not of anything specific, but just in general.

Of course, no tale emanating from the Bush administration would be complete without a further, more confusing wrinkle to the plot. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long for that. Yesterday, Tony Fratto, deputy press secretary at the White House announced that "there continues to be no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an imminent threat to the homeland." Making this episode even more embarrassing is that Fratto indicated that Chertoff had not shared his "gut feeling" (is he sure it wasn't just a bad snack at The Taste?) with the man in the White House. Tuesday we hear about "gut feelings", and Wednesday we hear about no credible intelligence (something that has been severely lacking in this Administration since the beginning). Perhaps communicating with each other at a high level, ostensibly the whole purpose of DHS, rather than trying to relay secret communiques to one another via the national media might be more effective in preventing another terrorist attack.

From our vantage point here in the Chicagoist offices, we can see creepy Be Ready campaigns, pointless "security sweeps" on the CTA, and Code Orange (whatever the hell that means). None of this makes us feel any safer, or even that the guy at the wheel is awake and trying. In fact, the only thing that we can see at this point with any clarity is that a loyal Bushie is doing his job, and using a famously conservative media outlet as the tool of his work. Sadly, what should have been a system for aggregating military intelligence with national security and police work has become so politicized, it functions instead to scare us, only to have "Our President" step forward and reassure us that everything is OK.

Image via Transportation Security Administration