Where's the Orange Crush?


Excuse me for interrupting the victory laps over aircraft carriers, but shouldn't Tom Ridge have raised the terror threat level to orange right about now? We've got seven dead Americans in Saudi Arabia from a daring attack by al Qaeda, staged just hours before Colin Powell was due to be in country. More attacks may be in the works.

The last time we went orange in March it was in expectation, in part, that U.S. action in Iraq would spur ad hoc attacks at home and/or on American interests abroad. Now we have the reality of a serious, well-planned attack and nada. The color-codes always seemed like a cheap propaganda device, now it is hard to see what other purpose they might have.

The threat level was reduced to yellow in mid-April just as the U.S. was trying to show to the world that the situation in Iraq was under control. Then came all the self-congratulations up and down the U.S. chain-of-command about "turning the tide" against terrorism. Going orange now would remind the American public that occupying Iraq has more or less zippy to do with reducing the terrorist threat America faces.

When it is time to take out Syria, Iran, or the Sauds themselves, there's your next orange moment.