Sunday, October 26, 2008

Australia ups Indonesian threat level

Australia doesn't have America's silly color-coded terror system, which assigns threat levels based on shades from yellow to orange to red to a really nice chartreuse (sorry, I made that last one up).

But it does have a system, which has just been raised to the equivalent of Defcon 4, one spot removed from the top (which is reserved for standout basket cases like Iraq and Afghanistan). The reason: The imminent execution of the Bali bombers, which many fear will invite retaliation from the likes of Jemaah Islamiyah.

If you've been following the saga, the Indonesian government response has been almost comic, delaying the sentence countless times already ... presumably in fear of just such an outcome. You can tell they just wish the situation would go away, and I don't blame them, since they're between a rock and a hard place. Carry out the law of the land and risk revenge, or commute the sentence and give terrorists fresh hopes about the lack of government backbone.

Meanwhile would-be tourists (and the poor 'Visit Indonesia' bureaucrats) don't know what to think, since the U.S. itself recently eased its travel warnings about Indonesia in recognition of beefed-up security. Mixed messages, all. But then, no one ever said our post-9/11, terror-paralyzed world would be an uncomplicated affair.

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