Monday, December 28, 2009

Victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan

There will be lots of blame to go around when al Qaeda succeeds where Abdulmutallab failed and brings down an airliner, or commits an even more heinous atrocity. (Wager: Obama and Napolitano will blame Bush.) Here are my two chief culprits:

(1) The Flying imams and their attorneys. Removal of six Muslim imams from US Airways Flight 300 at the Minneapolis airport on November 20, 2006, resulted in a lawsuit against the airline and the airport, and a 2009 out of court settlement. This effectively stopped any initiative by American airline employees to exercise judgment and common sense, and deny a boarding pass to someone, who, say, had an Islamic sounding name and paid cash for a one way ticket from Amsterdam to Detroit, with no checked baggage. Twenty quatloos says the airlines have all established corporate policy: Do not risk a lawsuit because of a passenger’s ethnicity, country of origin, or assumed religious faith. If TSA does not flag him, let him board.

(2) DHS. Yes, Napolitano is an easy target. Political correctness does not begin to describe the sheer obtuseness of the redefinition of terrorism as “Man caused disasters.“ It’s not just a euphemism, it’s a state of mind. In November 2009 I heard a senior DHS staffer describe the Department’s mission as preventing and responding to natural disasters, like earthquakes and hurricanes; and man caused disasters, “like a dam break.” With that perspective, the 2800 deaths in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 were the result of poor engineering design. It’s no wonder Secretary Napolitano’s initial reaction to the attempted Christmas bombing was “the system works.”

President Obama has gone out of his way to avoid any associations with President G. W. Bush's war on terrorism. Obama doesn’t want to talk about terrorism, any more than he wants to make decisions about Afghanistan. As Dan Riehl notes about Obama’s statement today (emphasis added):

This has to be the most perfunctory speech the orator in chief has ever given. He's literally reading a press release and it shows. It's as if the issue doesn't even interest him at all.

The people who write rules for TSA have far more knowledge about terrorist threats, motives, and methodologies than will ever become publicly available. Given that, I still can’t comprehend the ban on in flight GPS systems, nor the prohibition on holding anything in a passenger’s lap for the last hour of the flight. If you’re on a nine hour trans-Atlantic flight, eight hours have passed, you see land out the window that is definitely not Greenland, and the plane is starting to descend, doesn’t that give you a clue as to where you are? For that matter, why not simply wait to ignite the explosive device in your underwear until the flight attendant asks you to hand over your blanket and pillow?

Al Qaeda's hallmark, from 9-11 to London to Madrid, has been multiple simultaneous attacks. One bomber who gets through security is like one cockroach in your kitchen: there are plenty more that you haven't noticed.

I see a bad moon rising.

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