Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 28, 2009

Thank you and rules-of-engagement

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 28, 2009

There is a lot of substance in the commentary on yesterday morning’s post (Our role…).  I appreciate the commentators generosity and expertise. 

There were lots of readers yesterday, our third highest recorded readership.  Some readers with expertise, others with questions, and still others with worries continue to write me privately.  Some suggestions and assurances:

1.  While there is an honorable tradition at Homeland Security Watch of posting using our names, we have always welcomed and respected anonymity. 

2. It is possible for me to find the email of an individual posting to the blog.  But until a reader asked about this, I did not know about this possibility.  I am not much interested in the identity of who is posting.  We are all interested in the quality of information and analysis. (If especially concerned, you could set up a temporary email account with yahoo, hotmail, google, etc. to further obscure your identity.)

3.  Asking questions is a fabulous contribution.  An authentic question is always helpful.   Answering questions in an informed and thoughtful way sometimes takes time.  If your question is not immediately answered, please do not assume it is being dismissed.

4.   Opinion can be spicy.  In small doses it humanizes what we write, signals individual biases to be filtered, and can be provocative to new thinking.  But opinion is easy to over-do.  Analysis differs from opinion by organizing evidence to support  judgment.

5.  Blogs are not books.   The posts that are read and seem to be shared the most are usually under 500 words.   The exception to this since I started contributing in February has been Chris Bellavita’s longer posts, but Chris is exceptional in many ways.

Some perceive that  Arnold, Chris T., Peter, Phil, and William — to choose five regular discussants — are old friends engaged in a long-running discussion.  You are hesitant to interrupt. Maybe the other four know each other, but I have never met any of them and have no connection with them other than this blog.   Please join us.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 28, 2009 @ 5:23 am

I live pretty much off grid Phil and really don’t know more about you and Chris and other post commentators except they seem very concerned, serious, and intelligent. I hope my comments live up to that standard. I do like it that you recognize the limitations and purposes of the blog. You don’t have to be the be-all and end-all on every subject.
One of the reasons the flu outbreak is of great interest to me is watching this very very significant test of the Administration and its operatives/appointees/ and Congress. As readers know I firmly believe Homeland Security is a much more cooperative and collaborative process than some and not a top-down command and control governmental activity. But a pandemic is an interesting challenge and based on open sources I believe WHO could have gone to Level 4 as early as April 10th. Hoping firm information comes out (WHO has formally announced NOT a bioterrorist event) that gives me complete confidence this bug not bioengineered (which would indicate accidental or intentional release.) My aim is to educate and enhance understanding of HS but not necessarily to be a principal factual contributor or to have this post worry about a news cycle. Thanks again for you post above because to me the first sign and indicia of competence is to know what you don’t know and always to be worried that what you think you know and don’t know is the worst of all possible combinations.

Comment by Arnold

April 28, 2009 @ 10:23 am

I began reading this blog (besides the topic) because I had met its previous administrator and we had friends in common.

I’ve kept reading it under the “new management” because I find it interesting and informative.

I have not met any of the contributors or discussants–so please join the discussion. If anyone ever is in the Boston/Cambridge area and wants to discuss homeland security issues over a drink, the first round is on me.

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