BACK TO ORANGE

The terror threat warning level will soon be going back up to orange, or "high" risk of attacks, MSNBC television reports. This is the third time that the level has been ratcheted up. But the increase still doesn't make the country much safer.As noted last month, local authorities and private businesses are the ones most directly responsible for maintaining security over our national infrastructure -- dams, power plants, and the like. And going to orange doesn't obligate these entities to change their security plans in the slightest.In his speech tonight justifying military action in Iraq, President Bush said Coast Guard patrols would increase, and so would security at airports. Terrorist attacks, he emphasized, were "not inevitable."THERE'S MORE: CNN reports that Operation Liberty Shield -- the Bush Administration's new homeland security push -- will include a number of defense measures beyond those dictated by the orange alert status."Security is being increased at chemical facilities, nuclear power plants, key electrical grids, bridges and subways," says CNN. "The Agriculture Department is alerting food producers to step up their security -- such as inspecting all vehicles and escorting all visitors -- and is helping monitor feedlots, stockyards, and import and storage areas. Imported food will also come under increased scrutiny by the Department of Health and Human Services, which is asking health departments and medical care providers to report unusual diseases or disease patterns."

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