Sunday, January 3, 2010

Democrats Scramble To Do Damage Control In Wake Of Christmas Terrorism Attempt

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


A Democratic strategist appearing on CNN today argued against the firing of Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security secretary as a result of the nearly successful Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Detroit Metro Airport.

He rejected comparisons between the failings in preventing the attempt to the Bush administration's shortcomings following Hurricane Katrina. But - while they may be partisan in nature - those comparisons are fair.

Yes, there are differences. After Katrina, the government failed to respond properly to a disaster. In this case, the actual disaster - thankfully - didn't occur. But no thanks to the government apparatus that's supposedly in place to protect us.

But in both cases, ineptness in government is revealed. Common sense, it seems, has gone out the window in Washington. And apparently, it matters not the adminstration. As a candidate, President Obama promised us change. Well, in this, the necessary change hasn't occurred.

In both Katrina's aftermath and the Christmas Day failings, it was the Homeland Security Department, which was supposed to coordinate all federal agencies in times of disaster - man made or natural - that stumbled.

What seems to be lacking - with both the response to Katrina and the failure to prevent the Northwest Airlines attempt - is common sense. Too many agencies are still not sharing information. Too many governments are still not sharing information. Too many bureaucratic regulations and procedures are getting in the way of doing what's best for the public.

When I was covering Katrina for CNN, I remember seeing people taking refuge in structurally unsound buildings, and I asked on the air, "where are the FEMA trailers?" Bureaucratic regulations kept the trailers from being released from warehouses to get them to the people who desperately needed them.

Some kind of bureaucratic breakdown resulted - as well - in the lack of sharing of information about the suspect in the Christmas Day attempt. Even when his father went to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria to report his concerns about his son - it wasn't enough to trigger the sharing of information to place him on a no-fly list.

This is not the time for excuses, nor partisan politicking to excuse the failings. Now is the time to get professionals in place - making the right decisions - preventing screw-ups like these from happening again.

And if that means replacing the Secretary Napolitano and placing a professional in that position - so be it.

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