HOMELAND SECURITY SITE DOESN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT

HOMELAND SECURITY SITE DOESN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT It's better than a hysterical call for duct tape. But Ready.gov, the Homeland Security Department's new website to help the public prepare and deal with the aftereffects of a biological, chemical or nuclear terrorist attack, still ignores an obvious truth: that such strikes are nearly impossible for al Qaeda-like groups to pull off.Take biological weapons, for example. As previously noted, there's only been one successful biostrike in the history of modern warfare. All other attempts have fizzled.Why? First of all, smallpox, anthrax, and the like are hard to spread effectively. There are only so many mysterious packages you can send out. Second, the weapons are pretty fragile. This week's blizzard on the East Coast would have wiped out just about any biological agent.But there's no mention of this at Ready.gov. Instead, families are told:If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious release of an unknown substance nearbyd Quickly get away. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help. Wash with soap and water and contact authorities. Ready.gov has a measured tone notably lacking from many of the Bush Administration's panting homeland defense pronouncements. But the site still isn't leveling with the anxious American public.

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