the cost and the impossibility of completeness are evident, given the vast movements of people and things that global commerce and tourism entail.
The attractiveness of the end-of-the-line strategy is the promise of direct security, but the multiplicity of possible targets (and the adaptive capacity of terrorists to shift them under changing circumstances) also raises the issues of cost and the impossibility of completeness.
Considerations of strategic prudence and the force of public opinion will probably dictate that the country pursue all three lines of prevention, albeit imperfectly, and settle for as much reduction in the probabilities of attack as possible. This will come at great cost to the nation. Prospects for continuing governmental budgetary surpluses over the next several years have all but evaporated, and even if assisted by other nations, the United States will likely bear the greatest part of the economic burden.
Within the United States, the question of who pays will be a continuous one. Even under normal circumstances, U.S. politics is fraught with ambiguities and conflicts over the respective costs to be borne by federal, regional, state, and local authorities. The defense against terrorism promises to make the uncertainties even more salient. Furthermore, while the fight against terrorism is manifestly a public and governmental responsibility, many if not most of the targets of terrorism are in the private sector. Given all these intersections, who prepares and who pays? More rational and less rational solutions to these dilemmas can be designed, but the nation must expect a significant residue of tugging and hauling, jockeying for position, and resentments over perceived off-loading.
Two other sets of derived consequences, also of uncertain dimensions, lie on the horizon. The first is the effect of a continuous, quasi-wartime effort on the balance and strength of the U.S. economy. Such an effort will involve significant reallocation of public expenditures and capital among different industrial sectors (especially those connected with defense), the prospect of governmental budgetary deficits, some impact on the pattern of imports and exports, and perhaps a greater sensitivity to inflation.
The second is the prospect of giving lower priority to some expenditures for programs in education, health, welfare, environmental protection, and other areas in the face of more urgent demands for military and homeland and defense expenditures. War efforts typically slow the progress of social programs (demands for which often follow wars in a flurry). The quasi-wartime exigencies associated with counterterrorist activities promise to be no exception.
The natural history of recovery from disaster involves a diminution of emotional responses, a denial of the possibility of recurrence, and a return to routine activities, events, rhythms, and conflicts. These are, by and large, reasonable and