#26: We actually missed a rain last night. I am not making this up.
#27: Safety from submarine attacks
Is it expensive to sink your own sub? Not if you're a drug lord. Each sub costs about $1 million to produce. The crew gets $500,000 or less. A recent 6.4-ton payload of cocaine was worth more than $100 million. As a percentage of the gross, subs are so cheap that they're routinely scuttled anyway.
That's the genius of submersibility. Several months ago, during the Israeli invasion of Gaza, we explored the terrestrial underworld of the Gaza tunnels. The tunnelers were developing a three-dimensional way of thinking about land: While one side built walls and stationed soldiers above ground, the other side went down 60 feet and dug past those barriers.
The nautical underworld is even better. You don't have to dig. You just glide. Even the semisubmersible crafts built by the drug lords are low enough to evade radar. And underwater, you can do something else that can't be done on land: dump your contraband and let gravity take it beyond your enemy's reach. No evidence, no conviction.
To stop this tactic, Congress recently enacted the Drug Trafficking Vessel Interdiction Act of 2008, which declares that anyone operating "any submersible vessel or semi-submersible vessel that is without nationality ... with the intent to evade detection, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both."
Maybe that law will deter submarine drug commerce. But what about submarine terrorism? Ultimately, "U.S. officials fear that the rogue vessels could be used by terrorists intent on reaching the United States with deadly cargos," the Post reports. In fact, "Colombian officials say some former military personnel might be helping to design, construct and direct the vessels" used by the drug lords. If so, all that's needed is a financial lure from al-Qaida to build a vessel for a different mission.
It might not be a suicide mission, either. Drug submersible builders are "trying to develop a remote-controlled model," according to officials contacted by the Post. Two men were arrested last year, apparently while peddling this technology. No crew necessary. Just pack the radioactive bomb aboard your craft, slip it underwater, and hit any coastal target.
Think about that the next time you take off your shoes at an airport security gate. If we expect the next 9/11 attack to come from the sky, we may be looking the wrong way. [More]
While my history (I served aboard USS Seahorse SSN-669 back when subs had sails) predisposes me to find this threat credible, it does seem to make sense. It also points out one more thing that is wrong with our drug policy (it makes drugs so lucrative that any cost is feasible for drug dealers) and also that if terrorists are the "Lex Luthors" Gitmo fans make them out to be, they probably are not planning a duplicate of 9-11.