All this money and technology seems to have reduced the risk of future attack. But, of course, the system is bound to fail sometimes. Reality is unpredictable, and no amount of computer technology is going to change that. Bureaucracies are always blind because they convert the rich flow of personalities and events into crude notations that can be filed and collated. Human institutions are always going to miss crucial clues because the information in the universe is infinite and events do not conform to algorithmic regularity.
Resilient societies have a level-headed understanding of the risks inherent in this kind of warfare.
But, of course, this is not how the country has reacted over the past week.
2010 is only a few days old, but this may end up being the most important David Brooks column this year.