Terror Alert: Beige

This, on CNN.com this morning: Feds consider adding another terror risk level. According to the story, “U.S. government officials are discussing the current five-color terror threat alert system to determine whether a higher level of risk should be added before a possible war with Iraq.”

“The debate is not over whether to add a new color, sources said. Instead, a slightly higher warning level may be added within orange.” No, I’m not making this up. The Saturday Night Live skit with Darrell Hammond playing Tom Ridge and describing the five levels of the system – taupe, beige, off-white, etc. – doesn’t seem nearly so ludicrous all of a sudden.

What’s driving the desire to add a darker shade of orange? “There is fear that raising the risk to the ultimate warning level would do serious harm to an already-shaky economy, the sources said.”

Uh, okay. What’s hurting the economy is the color of the warning. Investors must be dumb as grass, I guess. We’re ramping up for war, and financial pros are making their buy/sell calls based on the color of the threat warning. Because they don’t read the news section, and their only source of information about whether they should be leery of investing is the color of the threat level. And if we march off to war and the gubmint raises the threat level to red, it will kick Wall Street into a panic, while if you only raise it to burnt sienna the markets will continue to clip merrily along with the same unbridled optimism we’ve been seeing throughout the Bush administration’s unrelenting campaign for peace.

Now I get it.

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