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Chasing PhantomsReality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11$
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Michael Barkun

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834701

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877692_barkun

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Making the Invisible Visible: Reverse Transparency and Privacy

Making the Invisible Visible: Reverse Transparency and Privacy

(p.37) Three Making the Invisible Visible: Reverse Transparency and Privacy
Chasing Phantoms

Michael Barkun

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses why decision-makers can scarcely remain passive in the face of a landscape of fear. As the strategic theorist Colin Gray observed shortly after September 11, decision-makers must be seen to be acting even if what they do does not constitute an intelligent response. If the adversary is invisible, then a key element in the response is to bring the unseen to a condition of visibility. The enemy must be forced to reveal itself, an enterprise which requires that the means used to achieve invisibility be neutralized or penetrated. While this applies primarily to terrorists themselves, it may also apply to weapons smuggled into the country, particularly those that act in invisible ways, such as biological, chemical, and radiological devices.

Keywords:   decision-makers, landscape of fear, strategic theorist, Colin Gray, intelligent response

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