03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Janet Napolitano Eats Her Words


Like this wasn't predictable.

Can't wait to hear our government's newest knee jerk rules to be set in place to combat the threat of loaded underwear. (The picture above compliments of ABC News.)

Napolitano's quick CYA as predictable as this opening paragraph in the Wall Street Journal.

A U.S. government that has barred the phrase "war on terror" has nonetheless acknowledged that a failed Christmas day bomb attack on an airliner was a terrorist attempt. Can we all now drop the pretense that we stopped fighting a war once Dick Cheney and George W. Bush left the White House?

The instant I heard Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano utter the words, "the system worked," I've waited for the ass covering that was bound to come. Today it arrived.

When you're talking about "context," you're screwed. Why don't smart people ever learn that lesson? Easy. They think we're stupid.

The statement Napolitano made on Sunday was not only counter-intuitive, but something any civilian, even one not usually following national security and terrorism threats, could deduce was utter crap.

Let's see, a young Nigerian male, whose flight originated out of Lagos airport on the continent of Africa, a notoriously iffy security proposition to begin with, reportedly buys a one-way ticket, paying in cash, with his father (chairman of Nigeria's FirstBank, the oldest bank in the country, with offices in London, Paris and Beijing), notifying the U.S. embassy in Nigeria that his son has been radicalized, warning the U.S., with the young man attempting a terrorist attack that was foiled by sheer sweet luck, but "the system worked."

Excuse me if I'm a bit queasy over this whole incident, but folks, our government is incompetent and it doesn't matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge, even as the latter circle the wagons. This many years after 9/11 and we still can't get it down that someone on a terrorist watch list should have extra screening?

And how dare I suggest that behavioral profiling might be something we should adopt. Never mind it actually works; see Israel and France. But in the U.S. profiling is only seen through the prism of race. So, how wingnuttery of me to be so cool headed as to ponder the notion that some of what Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab exhibited through his behavior might have been a flaming red flag.

"No one ever went broke under-estimating the stupidity of the American Public." -- H.L. Mencken

For all the blathering about national security, we're not very serious in this country about actually providing it. Even as I support Pres. Obama's mission in Afghanistan, even if he won't say it's humanitarian when it is, the people against it have a good case to make when our own national security still appears like a sieve.

It would take tens of millions of dollars to secure every airport, including surveillance on baggage handlers. However, international flights or connecting flights could possibly be a first start.

But in this juvenile nation, a place where we secure our safety in fits and starts and only in the aftermath of a threat, our eyes are continually turned beyond our borders to the world. Changing the world by policing it, something we still do well (war and weaponry actually the only thing we still produce and can sell), while we crumble at home.

As for our own soil, using the term of the day, let's be honest, the pure luck reality that we haven't been hit again looks like it will be the case until it runs out, which it will eventually. (God help the poor sad sod of a politician and political party that happens to be at the helm when hell comes visiting again, because the foreshadowing is already 9 years long.)

But maybe I'm not being fair. After all, you can't expect mere humans to be able to handle this gargantuan task. There is just too much information out there.

"It's got to be something that causes the information to sort of rise out of the noise level, because there is just so much out there," one intelligence official said.

Isn't this what we heard from Bush-Cheney after 9/11? You know, after tales of CIA director George Tenet's "hair on fire" warnings during the summer of 2001, when that now famous PDB was read by George W. Bush on vacation, not spurring any action at all. Revealing that Rep. King's outlandish pronouncements that the latest near catastrophe in midair is why we need Gitmo and interrogations, even if those never helped George W. Bush avert Richard Reid just months after 9/11 happened on Bush's watch; even as Mary Matalin spins the fantasy that 9/11 was what Bush inherited from Clinton.

The U.S. can't possibly stop terrorism attempts because we can't tell what's real and what's not, because the flood of information is just too much. Yeah, because stupid is the thing.

Bluntly, this latest terrorism attempt reveals our governmental incompetence inaction.

Then again, maybe the problem is us. Reader and commenter "Marie205", 27 December 2009 at 1:53 pm

I hate to say this but "You can have all the security in the world to stop terrorist like this guy, and in the end one of his terrorist friends will make it through" I know that might sound crude to some people. I was in London during the train bombings a couple years back, it was my very first trip over seas and I remember being terrified the day the bombs took place. However, when I looked around at the face coming up out of the damaged subways and on the streets I noticed a difference culturally with the English and Americans. The folks I was around that day didn't become hysterical at all they were upset but kept there cool. There media didn't go overboard about the London bombings and everyone around me handled it with an adult manner. Once I made it back to the State, American media was is in overdrive as if our country would be under attack soon. People around me here was walking around afraid of there own shadows, it was pathetic to witness. Here I was returning from almost losing my life in the London train bombings renewed with the strength I got from English men and Women, who refuse to be afraid or let the terrorist ruin their lives to my home country of frighten children. I really do believe Americans have a lot of growing up do we seem to think of ourselves as if bad things are never suppose to happen to us. After we suffer from the best nation on earth attitude; but were not just like other countries we will be attacked.

The "Department of Homeland Security" is a joke, a waste of money we don't have, a redundant department of massive irrelevance, not to mention a public relations nightmare, as Mr. Tom Ridge, followed by Ms. Napolitano, have both conclusively proved, with duties that could be performed by another agency or better yet, shared.

Anyone laughing?

Taylor Marsh, with podcasts available on iTunes.