I watched the President's speech tonight. I can't help but think about the historic significance of our stance here. I have been following the Iraq issues closely for several months. The definitive book about Iraq and US Policy is "The Threatening Storm: the case for invading Iraq" by Kenneth Pollack It is a must read if you want to understand the history of Iraq under Hussein, attrocities that have been committed there, US/UN policy, and insightful discussion about alternatives towards dealing with Iraq. The book was published late last summer. Pollack was the CIA analyst who predicted Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and is probably the leading US expert on Iraq.
The thing that struck me about tonights speech is a new idea (to me) that because of WMD, we have to think about our security differently now than we ever have in the prior history of the world. It is no longer safe to ignore weak third world countries that are on the other side of the world.
Today I had an interesting meeting today with a very small company who is building a solution for the FBI in support of Homeland Security. Specifically this solution ties in local police, hospitals, critical infrastructure (water, power etc) organizations. It includes an incident tracking capability where any citizen can submit an incident and have it immediately reviewed 24x7 by the FBI. If it is a real incident, the system can send out email/pager/voice alerts. One cool capability is that the system can automatically dial every phone in a given area - example: call everyone within 4 blocks of this address and tell them to leave their house immediately. Unfortunately, this system is only being used today in one small area of the country. Also I have learned that many of the local law enforcement agencies are not amiable working with FBI. As is so often the case, the technology is the easist problem to solve. The cultural and political barriers are the major cause of our lack of a nationwide system for first responders. I hope that DHS will fix that quickly. Maybe once the politics and cultural bullshit is addressed we can entrust the safety of our nation to XML and Web Services :-)