Is the Obama administration as incompetent with national security as the previous administration? In a word, yes. Let's count the ineptitude.
1. The U.S. has now revoked the traveling visa for the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Of course the U.K. had refused to grant him a visa to travel there because of security risks but we thought he'd be alright to come here.
2. The president said he will stop sending Guatanamo Bay prisoners to Yemen. Gee, what were we thinking transferring dangerous jihadists to an unsettled Middle Eastern country.
3. All the missed warning signs before the bomber got on the plane, such as a heads up from the bomber's own FATHER, one way plane ticket bought with cash, and NO passport. Now the president said we failed to connect the dots in intelligence. Hmm, you think? This is the exact same excuse used by the Bush administration, "It's not our fault we went into Iraq, intelligence failed us on locating WMD's."
4. The president now wants all of us to be vigilant for suspicious activity. If we are all supposed to be watching out for our own safety then maybe we can stop spending billions of dollars on dubious screening protocols such as patting down four year olds and octogenarians at the airport. Though politically incorrect, a little profiling might be in order to reduce the inefficiency of screening every person that travels through the airport, no matter how unlikely they are to be suspects. That's what the public will do if we are supposed to be looking out for ourselves.
Yes running a country is hard, especially when you have crazy nutballs trying to blow themselves up in your territory every chance they get. But you would have thought this administration had learned some lessons from the previous one. Despite all the rhetoric during the election about how he would run the intelligence community differently if he became president, there doesn't appear to be any difference in security threats to the U.S. The public is still aggravated by all the same nuisances when traveling, the increasingly bloody and quixotic foreign wars, and the billions of dollars spent on security with no discernible difference in our safety. This is some change.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The U.S. and U.K. are now preparing more antiterrorism activity in the country of Yemen. That is supposedly where the underwear bomber got his training. Does anybody else get the feeling we are just following the terrorists from one country to another? First it was Kenya. Then after 9/11 Afghanistan was the center of terrorism activity. We went in there and pushed the bad guys out to Pakistan, where bin Laden supposedly still props up his feet. Now we are chasing them down in Yemen. This reminds me of the old carnival game Wack a Mole. We push them down in one area and they pop out somewhere else. And like that game, victory is elusive.
There is also more grumbling about the TSA's new too little too late rules for flying. It was bad enough after 9/11 that you could no longer park next to the curb at the airport to pick up grandma for the holidays without some security guy harrassing you to move on. Or that you had to lug your heavy bags from the check in counter to the TSA screening machine when you check your luggage. Or that after the shoe bomber you had to take your shoes off at security and walk on those disgusting seldom cleaned airport floors. Or that you couldn't accompany a relative to the terminal for takeoff or wait for them there when they arrive. (The airport scene in Sleepless in Seattle seems quite quaint now.)
Now read about all the ridiculous new rules the TSA has imposed on travelers flying into the U.S. Are we really safer when we can't use our electronic devices one hour from landing? Or use the bathroom? Or being frisked by some total stranger who probably got his TSA job because his parole officer knew somebody at airport security? When the underwear bomber was able to get on an airplane in Amsterdam without a passport, paid for a one way ticket to the U.S. with cash, and checked in no luggage for an international flight and still wasn't stopped by security, how are these new rules supposed to make us safer? If President Obama could somehow make flying more civilized again, he would see an immediate 10-20 point boost in his popularity, guaranteed.