Saturday, January 2, 2010
So here's the thing (Happy New Year, by the way):
That failed bombing of the plane to Detroit was most certainly the result of screwups. Janet Napalitano did herself and her president no favors by initially claiming that the system worked (even if she was, clumsily, referring to the warnings disseminated after the incident became known.) Clearly, we have a long way to go to make ourselves as safe as possible. But I find the response of the RWS™ and their Republican lickers putrid, if entirely predictable.
Recently a friend sent me a link to a very representative sentiment: Obama gets "an F" on protecting us. (I ain't providing the link: why should the author get traffic for such slime.) Whereas the writer of said screed listed the obvious concerns, he emphasized, in perfect RWS™ mode, on the fact that Obama was on vacation. He dredged up the time it took for Obama to speak about the incident (overlooking the fact that Bush took two days longer to address the issue of the "shoe bomber." He decried the idea that the failed bomber was arrested and remanded to Federal Court (exactly as was Richard Reid.) On it went, in that vein.
To my friend I sent a link to another article which correctly listed the concerns any reasonable person would have, but which didn't see the necessity to make some sort of perverse political hay over it by implying it shows Obama is somehow a failure.
Of the greatest concern, to me anyway, is the fact that there seems still to be the communication problems that characterized the pre-9/11 intelligence. But how is that strictly an Obama problem? George Bush had seven years to fix it, and didn't. (This was after, in order, opposing the DHS, privatizing the TSA and grudgingly federalizing it only after it became a monumental private failure, opposing the 9/11 Commission, and failing to put in place approximately 85% of its recommendations.) So, if there's blame to go around, isn't it proportionally more at the feet of the guy who had that seven years, as opposed to the one that had closer to seven months? Just asking.
To his credit, President Obama has stated that the incident demonstrates failures at several levels, in a way Bush never did. He's calling meeting to address them. Call me crazy, but I trust Obama actually to look into it and demand changes; Bush, as we saw, had no interest in such mundane matters. If you couldn't invade it, he'd rather ignore it. I suppose we can blame Obama for not going back in time and preventing the Bush State Department from granting the bikini bomber's visa. Indeed, maybe, before having been elected to the Senate, President Obama should have seen to it that the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission were followed, and that money was allocated to higher level screening. (Interestingly, unsurprisingly, the very senators now blaming Obama for his "weakness on terror," voted against funding airport security a few years ago.) Who'd have guessed, huh?
The friend who sent the link that annoyed me so much has, shall we say, certain reservations about President Obama's intentions. Yet in our conversations he acknowledges that there is literally no way to prevent certain kinds of terrorist attacks in this country; most especially at places not generally suited to (at least for now) the sorts of screenings that are routine at airports. So when the unavoidable next happens, let's remember this simple rule: whatever it is, and wherever it happens, it's always the Democrats' fault, whether they're in power or not. It makes things a lot simpler and easier to understand.
Finally, this: the most important indicator, evidently, of Obama's commitment to fighting terrorism is his use -- or lack thereof -- of the word "war." Never mind that he has, in fact, used the term; or, for that matter, that he has escalated (wrongly, in my opinion) the military presence in Afghanistan. Because he early eschewed the term "war on terror," which is one of the stupidest phrases ever invented to give an incompetent president war powers, Barack Obama is, according to Dick Cheney and the entire cadré or RWS™, failing to keep us safe. It is to laugh. Or cry. (I seem to be doing the latter, mostly.)
Finally finally, this: the panty-bomber came, evidently, via Yemen. Joe Lieberman, predictably speaking for all the deep thinkers on the right, is all tumescent for the next war there. The idea that disproves itself. Invade Iraq to prevent terrorism. Escalate in Afghanistan to prevent terrorism. Invade Yemen to prevent terrorism.... Anyone begin to see a certain logical flaw?
Happy New Year.