I hope Barack Obama is thinking about terrorism in the way that Brody, in the movie Jaws, thought about sharks, for Osama bin Laden appears to be targeting at least one high visibility tourist area in Europe for a terrorist attack, and according to AP:
The Obama administration is considering a broad warning for U.S. citizens to avoid public places in Europe due to new al-Qaida threats, U.S. and European officials told The Associated Press on Saturday.
What to do, what to do! Such a formal warning, of course, could hurt business:
Some U.S. allies in Europe have expressed concern about the proposed warning, saying it is an overreaction to the threat information, a position shared by some in the administration, the officials said.
Hopefully, these are not administration officials to which President Obama is inclining his ear too closely right now.
Oh, and what business might be hurt by such a warning, exactly? Here’s the AP again:
Such a move could have significant implications for European tourism.
So here we go. Time to watch Jaws:
Update: Have the business interests gotten to President Obama? AP’s update on the story now has the Obama administration just considering a vigilance advisory. Translation: the administration has caved. And if you’re in Europe, and a terror attack occurs, and you find yourself in a bad situation, don’t say we didn’t warn you. If you or your family gets hurt or killed, it will be your fault. You weren’t vigilant enough:
The Obama administration is considering telling U.S. citizens to be vigilant as they travel in Europe, updated guidance prompted by fresh al-Qaida threats, American and European officials told The Associated Press on Saturday.
This strikes me as a half measure (and perhaps symptomatic of President Obama’s governing style generally, splitting the difference). I generally think this is wise—to split the difference on complex matters—but not with something like this. If the threat is there, get people “out of the water.” That’s my view.