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I have been following the potential problems of Y2K since 1997, long
before Y2K became a noun or a boutique industry. I wrote my first Y2K
piece for WorldNetDaily in April 1998. I have interviewed the full
spectrum of Y2K doomsayers and critics from Dr. Gary North to assorted
government officials. I have contended for over a year that Y2K is not
an event but rather a process. Nevertheless, there are
those who are taking misplaced visceral satisfaction in chiding,
“Neener, neener. It was all much ado about nothing.” BULLFEATHERS!
One reader in Tampa Florida wrote,
B.C: “You promoted and offered an uncritical ear to the creators of
Y2K hysteria, but you’re about to discover the price.”
Me: Not true, I have been most critical of both the doomsayers and
B.C.: “Sure, you can defend yourself by saying that nothing said was
technically untrue. You can join in with all the other back-pedalers
and dismiss your warnings as better safe than sorry. You can even claim
that you did us all a ‘service’ by promoting preventive action.”
Me: Yeah, I could say all that, but I won’t. I am neither
back-pedaling, nor disappointed with a relatively uneventful New Year.
B.C.: “Today, Jan 1, 2000, is a milestone marking the beginning of
the solidification of doubts as to the trustworthiness of many
individuals that aggressively promote a wide range of conspiracies and
disasters. It’s the beginning of the end of success for many news
reporters and entertainers like yourself because you have too often
chosen expediency over honor.”
Me: What a crock of self-righteous arrogant bull.
B.C.: “I am more saddened to see all the valuable work that you and
other good people have done damaged in the fallout. So many important
open-ended investigations into real government scandals will be
tarnished by the impatience of those who couldn’t resist selling them
all out for a sponsor or an alliance.”
Me: Neither I nor WorldNetDaily has any proprietary interest in
Y2K. Frankly, the time, effort and attention we have devoted to the
issue will not only fail to negatively impact on our credibility or
ability to expose future controversial issues; it will actually enhance
our credibility — unless you believe that Ernst & Young, all the
government Y2K entities, scientists, experts and technocrats around the
world will somehow suffer reciprocal negative impacts to their
Meanwhile, for all those pretentious, self-righteous boobs on both
sides of the Y2K hoopla, here’s the reality check (especially for those
who don’t want to be confused with facts which contradict their
preconceived opinions). The following is NOT my opinion:
- Over a trillion dollars was spent to mitigate and prevent
serious Y2K problems. If it was truly “much ado about nothing” why did
the U.S. government spend over $8.5 billion to fix what was not wrong?
Why did the private sector spend over $100 billion?
- Despite the extraordinary effort and expense to prove that
technology can work, the Pentagon (although sandbagging
initially) eventually acknowledged a significant Y2K failure. Despite
telling the world everything was cool, the same officials (including
Deputy Director John Hamre), later revealed a major computer failure
occurred shortly after 7 p.m. EST (which is midnight Greenwich Mean
- Seven of the 103 U.S. commercial nuclear reactors had minor
- Gambia was the only country that has reported it was seriously
affected. Significant power outages threatened the Gambian energy
sector. Major and/or significant disruptions were expected in air and
sea transportation, the financial sector and government services.
- Banks and credit card problems occurred.
- Japanese nuke plants had problems.
- Thousands of minor problems occurred in systems ranging from slot
machines to taxi cabs to vending machines to websites.
- Andy Kyte, analyst with the Gartner Group, a U.S. information
technology research company says, “Unless purged, the bug will act more
like a debilitating disease which insidiously weakens computer systems
before finally toppling them.”
- According to Kyte, fewer than 10 percent of all Y2K-related
failures will happen during the two weeks surrounding Jan. 1, 2000.
Fifty-five percent of problems will hit over the balance of the year.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that this was not going to be a
pyrotechnic event,” Kyte says. “It is not about fireworks going off now
or a sudden explosion. It’s about the gradual degradation of the
efficiency of computer systems.”
- Year 2000 team leader at Ernst & Young, Nick Fitzhugh believes
(like most knowledgeable experts) it is too early for companies to lower
- The more serious Y2K hassles will take time to reveal
themselves. The full damage of Y2K will be mostly hidden until mid to
late January. Bruce McConnell, head of the International Y2K
Corporation Center, which is funded by the World Bank, says officials
probably won’t be able to tell the overall impact until the third week
Americans are so conditioned for instant gratification that we
become myopic (as well as deaf) to things subtle and/or complex. A
gaggle of experts (not me) are saying it is too early to claim victory
over the Y2K bug. Last week Massachusetts Institute of Technology shut
down all their 20,000 computers for the weekend. They were not the Lone
Ranger. Tens of millions of the world’s business systems will be
rebooting today. Canadian Y2K poobah Peter de Jager says, “It is very,
very premature at this point in time to declare victory. We expected
the infrastructure to be OK, but wait until next week to start drawing
conclusions about how successful or unsuccessful we’ve been.”
The list is long and I am confident others will be reporting on Y2K
ad nauseam. My concluding comments on Y2K are this: It ain’t over.
However, having survived the first hurdle, as life, inertia, and other
news cycles gain dominance, please consider the following:
- Despite over a trillion dollars to pre-empt or mitigate
Y2K-related problems, problems resulted across a wide spectrum.
- Virtually all the experts in government, industry, and academia
parrot the same line, “It is too early to tell. …”
- If or when problems do materialize, they probably will not be
catastrophic, but debilitating (and progressive).
- Much of the success in surviving the Y2K panic was a product of
government and the private sector compelling a pro-active approach.
Technology coupled with the sense of urgency worked marvelously.
- We have dodged a bullet, and survived a battle, but the war could
be longer than many would like to admit.
There are three basic dangers we continue to face
regardless of whatever does or does not result from the monumental
global efforts to “kill the bug.” First, the very real threat that all
the premature articulation claiming victory will overshadow or negate
all the remarkable work done by legions of nerds, who deserve but will
not receive commendation. Secondly, the unintended consequences of some
companies and countries failing to report (or acknowledge) problems.
Lastly, (and I think more significant) is the danger that if or when a
Y2K-related glitch does create a problem months or years down the road,
it may never be recognized or managed as a Y2K problem.
To synthesize the scholarly, diplomatic, academic and technobabble of
hundreds of assorted experts: It ain’t over.