Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 15 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

The failed Christmas airliner attack is inspiring a lot of bad thinking across the political spectrum.

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Gregory Paul

The right is trying to leverage the incident to discredit the security credentials of the Obama-Biden administration. The attempt would be more credible if this was 2012 or if the current administration had dramatically altered the security complex since it took office. But it is still early in the Obama era and the system in place is a bipartisan arrangement inherited from well back in the Bush-Cheney years. The UmarAbdulmutallab affair is to a remarkable extent a repeat of the failed RichardReid attempt back in 2001. All the more so because intelligence warnings about Reid were not addressed until too late. Same for the 9/11 plot. Ergo, when the right goes after Obama they are de facto going after their own boy. Nor is there reason to think that if McCain-Palin were in charge events would have been different. The mainstream press has failed to better explain the continuity for better or worst of security policy and operations.

The not particularly adept political comments by JanetNapolitano have been taken out of context. She stated that they system worked in response to the event, not in preventing it. The mainstream press is again not better explaining this fact. In political terms the president should have been more out in front by Sunday, going on the air to explain that he had concerns that the bipartisan security system was not adequate and he would take action as more information became available. That it took Bush nearly a week to get around to mentioning the Reid attempt while he enjoyed his winter solstice vacation exposes the hypocrisy of right wing critics of Obama, but it is no excuse for the current president who should always strive to do much better than the chronic slacker Bush.

If Obama and company are to be criticized it is for not reforming the obviously flawed security complex Bush-Cheney left behind. The question is how to reconfigure the system.

The proposal that the Abdulmutallab affair should lead to the wide use of whole body scanners sounds like a bad proposition. There are all too obvious ways to defeat them and the terrorists will take the steps needed to do so if the machines come into widespread use. The limited protection they offer is not worth the virtual strip tease they inflict upon the average traveler.

Which brings us to the point that many conservatives who happily denounce big government worming its way into the lives of Americans seem to be OK with the same big government using X-rays to strip Americans naked on a regular basis. A number of Republicans have vigorously denounced body scanners for that reason, so reluctance to use the machines is bipartisan, it is not Democratic liberal thing.

Devices for sniffing explosives are potentially superior to body scanners, but from what I understand they are not sufficiently reliable, and are prone towards false positives.

It is pertinent that both Reid and Abdulmutallab were pathetic dolts. Neither was expert and/or composed enough to properly detonate their device. Abdulmutallab did not try to set off the explosion at the most opportune time, when the liner was under maximum structural stress flying at high speed and altitude over the ocean, far from a place to land if damaged. He may have balked at self-destruction, only working up the nerve when the flight was approaching its end and his last chance was slipping away. If so he was not reliable. Important terror missions have been assigned to pathetic losers suffering from suicidal depression; in other words they are mentally unstable -- injuring the credibility and effectiveness of the supporting organizations. This suggests the responsible groups are being sloppy or are finding it difficult to recruit skilled self killers who can be relied upon to know how to get the job done. These examples of ineptness may discourage some who would otherwise join the Islamic brand of terrorism.

Another really bad notion is profiling, especially of the ethno religious sort. What if Islamic terrorists recruit white converts to Islam with names like Smith or Jones? What if the attacker is a female eco-terrorist? Or a right wing Aryan militia member trying to match the deeds of the Islamic extremists? Nor is profiling for young people reliable. The conspirators may use older folks to get around that.

What is needed is better intelligence, the ability to gather the pertinent information and then do something smart and effective about it. The nearly fatal flaw in the Bush/Obama system was the failure to take immediate action when the father of Abdulmutallab took the amazing (and profoundly decent) step of personally warning US officials that his son posed a danger. Such an extraordinary denouncement should have quickly led to Umar's visa being suspended or revoked until he could present his case to American authorities if he wished to do so. Lacking a valid visa, Abdulmutallab would probably not have been assigned the mission and would not have been able to carry it out it out if he had. It is becoming apparent that the intelligence sharing and coordination of the Bush-Cheney security complex is structurally defective. This is not surprising since the Repub administration was notoriously incompetent when it came to intelligence on so many levels and a report back in April noted intelligence processing defects in the system they constructed. What is surprising and disappointing is that the new administration did not presume that everything they inherited from Bush-Cheney is suspect and probably needs an upgrade.

Rate It | View Ratings

Gregory Paul Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Gregory Paul is an independent researcher interested in informing the public about little known yet important aspects of the complex interactions between religion, secularism, culture, economics, politics and societal conditions. His scholarly work (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Can We Please Stop Pretending that Christianity is Anti-Socialism? Please? Pt 2

Libertarian America: What the Ayn-Rand-Paulian Wing of the Tea Party Really Wants the USA to Become

The Understold Story: The Vatican, the Mob, Super Ponzi Schemes and MORE

At Long Last the Catholic Church Must Be Destroyed

Can We Please Stop Pretending that Christianity is Anti-Socialism? Please? Pt 1

Why Clint's Speech Tells Us That the GOP Chastity/Anti-abortion Platform Is a Great Big Scam

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend