Jan 01 2010

Are We Finger Pointing Or Correcting Mistakes?

I have zero tolerance for whiners who take on huge responsibilities and fail. Too many people think every other job in the country is a cake walk.  Busy bodies are quick to sit in judgement of others, most times based on incomplete information and from a perch of total ignorant bliss. This combination of ignorance and arrogance is one of humanities worse failings, reminding us why humility and grace are indicators of wisdom and strength – not the tart tongues of the naive and noisy.

We clearly require a litmus test, or a definition of a minimal capability, for national security. The failed attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day is such a test. It represents something we should have detected and stopped easily. Our failure to do so shows our system has atrophied and is now broken.

To find out what went wrong means placing blame. It means people will be responsible for the near miss of Flight 253. They will have failed their duties, responsibilities and oaths. In 2009 there are no excuses for this result. Anyone trying to make up excuses otherwise is working to the wrong priorities.

9-11 was a wake up call that all those backwards religious zealots playing army in the desolate areas of Afghanistan were indeed a serious threat. At that time we gave our defenders more benefit of the doubt because we had not seen such bloody gall before.

That leeway does not apply today. This happened on the Democrats’ watch, under their liberal policies, and may easily be tracked back to their policies. But whatever the outcome, stop they need to stop whining about being held accountable for the responsibilities they took on.

Personally I think much of what went wrong was due to the tone set by the incoming administration. This new, liberal leaning administration took the high tempo of a heated war against a dangerous, evil enemy and turned into a cautious criminal investigation of ‘extremists’ who cause ‘man made disasters’. This change had consequences – intended and otherwise. War means ‘whatever it takes’, crime investigation is slow and cautious and shrouded in personal protections for the ‘accused’.

They also legally threatened those who were tirelessly defending this nation 24×7. Where people were once willing (and rewarded) to go the extra mile, make personal sacrifices, spend the extra time to ensure a lead was not the next 9-11, the new administration deflated that drive and made our defenders more concerned with their own security than national security.

Leadership style and focus have huge implications, as any sports fan knows when see their team turn their situation around by replacing a failing head coach. We are not there yet, but we need to shake up the management team – and fast.

We have growing evidence Team Obama made changes in our national security posture which could easily have resulted in the Nigerian bomber getting through our defenses. First from a career  State Department source:

This employee says that despite statements from the Obama Administration, such information was flagged and given higher priority during the Bush Administration, but that since the changeover “we are encouraged to not create the appearance that we are profiling or targeting Muslims.

And then there were these massive organizational changes to a system that was protecting us:

Obama fundamentally altered the culture and risk-taking incentives of the intelligence community with policy and personnel changes. The sense of urgency is gone, and he’s made it uncool to call the war on terror a war at all. If he wants to treat terrorism like a criminal act, rather than an act of war, we should not be surprised when the results look a lot like the bureaucratic foul-ups that happen all the time in law enforcement. He gutted the Homeland Security Council coordinating role, he diluted the focus of the daily intel brief, he made CIA officials worry more about being prosecuted for doing their jobs than capturing terrorists. … He’s made it his business to turn much of the national security apparatus set up by Bush and Cheney upside down and has succeeded …

Someone needs to remind liberals of the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Especially if you have no clue as to why it was working in the first place.

This pattern fits the mentality of the liberal leaning Obama administration. They openly opposed the post 9-11 changes enacted by President Bush. Simple and obvious changes, such as the oft misrepresented fixes to FISA laws that, prior to 9-11, restricted leads about terrorists in the US detected by the NSA from being passed to the FBI to investigate. Today, when the NSA detects someone in the US communicating with a known or suspected al Qaeda ally overseas, the FBI and others are warned immediately.

This is how two terrorism task forces were initiated to investigate US Army Major Nidal Hasan, who went on to massacre 13 people, and unborn child and injure 31 others at the Ft Hood Army Base. One reason Hasan slipped through our defenses was because the terrorism task force investigations into his situation were suspiciously shut down around the time the new administration would have had to renew them. They were a lot of glaring dots in that incident as well.

Is it finger pointing to note Attorney General Holder’s views on those Bush FISA changes when we try to understand how Hasan got through our defenses? I’ll let Holder’s own words do the talking:

Stop domestic search and seizures without warrant and end wiretapping of citizens.

“We have lost our way before,” Holder told the 350 attendees at the Friday evening session. “Now we must step back into the shining path envisioned by our founding fathers in such icons of liberty as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

Just connecting some dots here, which Holder thinks is unconstitutional. Letting Americans die when a terrorist could be stopped is unconstitutional – and dereliction of duty.

Richard Clarke was a thorn in the side of President Bush for years after 9-11. He was in the Clinton Administration on the National Security Council. He is also quite accurate in his assessment of what happened inside the Obama Administration that led to these incidents (Ft Hood Massacre and Flight 253):

“It points to something fundamental,” said Richard A. Clarke, a former top counter-terrorism official in the Bush and Clinton administrations. “No matter how good your software is or how good your procedures are, at the end of the day it comes back to people. And if people think that this is a 9-5 job and they’re not filled with a sense of urgency every day, then you’ll get these kinds of mistakes.”

That is the distinction between fighting a war and the job of investigating crime. That is the difference between being rewarded for extra effort instead of scrutinized and threatened for it. Same tools, different attitude. Are we surprised in the different results?

There are other indications Democrats are not going to stand by this administration’s failures:

Some Democrats have joined in calling for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to step down following the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight a week ago.

New Jersey State Senate President Richard Codey, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Napolitano this week calling on her to step down. He said Napolitano, an attorney and former Arizona governor, does not have the experience for the post she is in.

Codey said a candidate “well-versed” in intelligence should step into the job.

Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein also said Napolitano’s response to the incident should be the last straw.

You also have Senator Feinstein (CA-D) also breaking ranks with the administration and opposing the transfer of any more GTMO detainees to Yemen.

The reaction by the administration to all this scrutiny and questioning is just another sign they are in over their head:

“Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer,” Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog.

Solutions that include fixing mistakes by the new administration are not out of bounds. If the finger is pointing to a serious problem then it is doing its job to make our country safer.

The bunker mentality has slammed in place once again for this inexperienced White House. Their ignorant arrogance is on full display. They cannot seriously think America did not get the point of changing the war on terror into criminal investigations of man made disasters. We all got it, apparently better than the fools that instituted these very changes.

Now that is scary.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Are We Finger Pointing Or Correcting Mistakes?”

  1. Mensawarrior says:

    Janet Incompetano and Botched Butt Bomber have both been caught with their pants down. Her incoherent response about the “system working” is one more piece of 1984 rhetoric in action. The system works only if terrorists are incompetent and passengers are proactive.

    Your blog is very interesting.

  2. AJStrata says:

    Thanks Mensawarrior – and I agree. Feel free to check out the categories which I suspect may have some topics of interest.

  3. kathie says:

    As I said in an earlier post, Chertoff said that Bush issued a directive that no more Americans will die on American soil. Pretty clear. And he was willing to stand behind those who carried out their mission. That was also clear.

    Moral rhetoric is lovely, “Now we must step back into the shining path envisioned by our founding fathers in such icons of liberty as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” said Holder. Bush knew that we have killers hiding among us, disguised as moral citizens, who are taking orders from a group or groups outside the United States. These people are hell bent on our destruction and that outside group has declared war on us. He knew that those citizens were traitors to their country and must be weeded out and treated as traitors. It has always been that in a time of war extraordinary measures have been taken to protect the population. When the war was over those measures were rescinded and the innocent were compensated. We have an enemy living among us and if we deal with them as criminals, many Americans are going to die. Obama will be pushed into rethinking his strategy with a catastrophe, maybe.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has flown into Venezuela and Bolivia many times in the last few years. We must assume with a full airplanes. We know that Iran supports Hamas, Hizballah, and has other government killers in various countries. How easy would it be for Iran to target the United States through our Southern boarder. Especially with immigration reform on the table for next year and the eagerness of the Democrat party to get the Mexican vote. The scenario is so obvious. DHS is even more lax on the border then Bush. This is serious stuff. Is anyone watching out for us?

    Obama’s approach to this situation as “civil disobedience” is dangerous on so many levels, it is mind boggling that so many supposedly brilliant people can’t figure it out.

  4. kootenaybob says:

    Agreed – just a thought – we need to be careful about referring to the attack as “failed” – it was successful in almost every respect except body count.

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Connors, AJ Strata and topsy_top20k, topsy_top20k_en. topsy_top20k_en said: new: Are We Finger Pointing Or Correcting Mistakes? http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/12107 [...]

  6. [...] This post was Twitted by bobc_mass [...]

  7. >They cannot seriously think America did not get the
    >point of changing the war on terror into criminal
    >investigations of man made disasters.

    AJ,

    They are Chicago Hyde Park Leftists.

    They do seriously think that.

    And they bureaucratically knee cap anyone who disagrees with them, just like Chicago.

    The problem is that Outside Reality is beyond the reach of the both the Chicago municipal bureaucracy and the larger Washington DC/TSA variety.

  8. [...] Interesting witness list for Congress, and at least 2 (Holder and Napolitano) are of the far left ilk who have been trying to dismantle what President Bush had put in place for domestic threats (see here for some idea of the changes made). [...]

  9. [...] A.J. Strata argues that it was not just random luck that nobody did anything to stop Major Hasan before the Fort Hood massacre and not just one of those things than Abdulmutallab was given a US VISA and never promoted to the no-fly list, counter-terrorism effort has been slackened by the current administration and liberal pieties prioritized above saving American lives. [...]