In the two weeks since an alleged terrorist tried to detonate an explosive device on a flight bound for Detroit — in what has become known as the Christmas Day bombing attempt — there has been no shortage of finger-pointing in Washington about who is to blame for a very close call.
So there was President Barack Obama with his stern face, telling the world still again that the system failed, trying to assure one and all he is serious, “less interested in placing blame than I am in correcting these mistakes.”
But isn't a little blame in order? The one thing the "Underwear Bomber" accomplished with his inept attempt to cause calamity is that his blundering was easily matched by those whose job it is to see these kinds of things coming. They are, after all, in charge of the sprawling, gazillion-dollar apparatus that is supposed to "connect the dots.”
Enough is enough. There was a time when the amateur hour that has characterized the behavior of the staff in the Obama White House over the past year could be chalked up to innocent inexperience. Now that behavior is nothing short of dangerous and President Barack Obama is being ill served by those by those closest around him: Mr. Cool must lose his cool and fire those staff members who have failed their president and failed their nation.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, al Qaeda brazenly declared its goal of building an Islamic empire that would wipe out the “infidels” (read this as you and me).
Since then, there have been at least 29 foiled terror plots against the United States.
The terrorists intend to destroy us. They will strike again. They have told us so — most recently with the botched attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight.
It took former Vice President Dick Cheney mocking President Barack Obama to fire up the stoic, no-drama, vacationing White House last week and provoke the ultimate response — sending John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, out to the Sunday shows to hit back at Cheney. It was the exactly the kind of response they should have used out of the box.
To be sure, the signals coming from the president and his administration in the days following the attempted terrorist attack on our soil Christmas Day have been both muted and mixed. First, press secretary Robert Gibbs and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano sought to assure us that the "system" worked following the attempted murder of hundreds of Americans aboard a jetliner on final approach to Detroit. The only thing that worked was that the would-be terrorist martyr was able to elude scrutiny and place himself aboard a flight to the United States after (1) purchasing a one-way airline ticket to America after (2) his father had warned American officials as to the "radicalization" of his son and (3) said terrorist was placed on a watch list by American authorities. The system worked, indeed.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) may have become one of those 50 monkeys at a typewriter who has actually come up with something. Usually he just spews out garbled slime that serves no other purpose than to add to the highly partisan incoherence. This time he may have landed on a valid target: Errol Southers.
As galling as it may be, perhaps he's actually correct when he says there should be no rush, that senators need to think a little bit longer before they decide whether to confirm Southers as the best person to head the Transportation Security Agency. Not that he had nailed the correct reasons. DeMint's motivation, after all, was blatant obstructionism of the most Republican kind. He claimed it had to do with the possibility that Southers might allow TSA employes to unionize, which, to the GOP base, is akin to Satanism.
If Janet Napolitano should be fired for her role in the Christmas bombing plot, George W. Bush should have been impeached for being warned about planes flying into buildings in New York and ignoring those warnings, and Dick Cheney should have been impeached for his role in the CIA leak case and prosecuted for his role surrounding torture.
No, the cheap, partisan attacks should stop. Republicans should be far more modest about their own responsibility. Of course, Napolitano could have handled this better, but the consequences of her mistakes are nothing compared to the consequences of mistakes by Bush, Cheney, Alberto Gonzales and many others.