Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lessons From Christmas and Delta 253

One of these days Al Qaeda will get it right. They will succeed in blowing up an airplane in midflight.

At least President Obama almost got it right earlier today when he called it a “catastrophic failure” and a “systemic breach.”

Of course, neither the President nor his Administration use the phrase “War Against Terror.” Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security refers to terrorist acts as “man caused disasters.” Her initial response to the failed attack was that the system worked. Yesterday President Obama referred to the attack as an “isolated incident,” and spent more time talking about Iran. None dare use the word terrorist, not even against the Fort Hood shooter.

The attacker is being treated as a criminal. Thus, he gets his Miranda rights, an attorney, and the ability to clam up.

The Bush Administration would have sent him to Gitmo, water boarded him to secure valuable information about future attacks, and then sent him before a military tribunal.

Actually they wouldn’t have, because he was arrested at Detroit Airport rather than seized overseas.

President Roosevelt would have tried him before a military commission and then had him hung. That was World War II when the Supreme Court was less squeamish.

The initial response that we are now to sit with our hands folded together on our lap during the last hour of the flight with nothing else on our lap is utterly stupid. Any bomber could easily set off the bomb in mid-flight, shortly after takeoff, or in the bathroom.

We were told years ago that suspicious activity includes buying a one way ticket for cash without checked baggage. That didn’t raise any alarm bells this time.

I can understand a Muslim flying to Detroit to see relatives in Dearborn, Michigan, which has the highest Arab population in the United States. The Dearborn Muslims though are mostly from Iraq. A Nigerian Muslim flying to Detroit should raise alarms.

He should be profiled.

Did he or did he not have a passport? Some confusion exists on that point.

I flew through Amsterdam last summer, and was impressed with the professionalism and comprehensiveness of the security.

However, no system can overcome human error, poor judgment, and complacency.

Our homeland security apparatus is still a bureaucratic nightmare, seemingly having learnt little from 9/11.

The terrorists will always be testing our security.

As for an isolated instance, let’s look at the history. Mideast terrorists have a history of hijacking and blowing up airplanes.

On December 11, 1994 Ramzi Yousef (Yes, that Ramzi Yousef) placed a bomb on Filipino Flight 434. The bomb blew up on the next leg, killing a passenger and blowing a hole in the fuselage. The plane made an emergency landing.

On January 6, 1995 a fire in a Philippines apartment drew emergency responders. They discovered advanced plans to blow up 12 airplanes over the Pacific.

Let us not forget the goofy looking Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Ahmed Ressam, the Millennium Bomber. Luck stopped those attacks.

Let us also not forget that the terrorists are patient and learn from their mistakes. Why we therefore revealed that the Christmas bombing failed because of a faulty detonator makes no sense. Luck stopped the attack on Delta 235.

Full body scans are better than luck.

After his arrest in Pakistan, Ramzi Yousef said about the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing “This is only the beginning.”

They only have to succeed once; we must be eternally vigilant as they continue to test our defenses and fortitude.

We cannot rely upon luck to defeat these determined, smart terrorists.

Neither can the democrats. Ever since Vietnam the American public has not trusted the Democrats on national security. The Democrats failed this small test. The next one may be truly tragic.

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