Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jump (For My Love)

When I first heard about the failed terror attack upon an international flight from Amsterdam, my first thought wasn't political, "Hell, Bush, couldn't y'all put together a better airline security system?," nor did I panic, forswearing never again to fly. My first thought wasn't: "I want to see the president on television. I want to see him now. I want him to reassure me, and the flying public, that we're going to be secure if we take a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit." That just wasn't my first thought.

My first thought was: "How did this guy manage to get pass security with explosives?" The thought really took flight when I learned that Amsterdam has one of the most probing airline security systems in the world. And then I learned that the terrorist was treated as an "inflight passenger," and was screened with the assumption that he had been searched previously, and didn't warrant a thorough, more exhaustive, one.

Couple that with the reality that airlines are profit-driven, and more cost conscious than security and safety would dictate, this was a sure prescription for a disaster waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, there will be other events. Terrorists are intent on striking us again, possibly with a mortal blow. When they do, Obama can't jump each time the Republicans, by way of their criticism of him, egg him on to do so. He has to use his own judgment. If talking to the American people immediately seems warranted, then speak, otherwise hold your peace. It took Bush six days to speak out about Richard Reid, who was tried, and convicted, in our criminal court system, just as the "underwear bomber" will be, despite calls to try him before a military tribunal. Peter King shouldn't be allowed to set your agenda, nor any other Republican. Republicans get as much mileage from making you jump on cue, as they do from their criticism.

The real story is not that a terrorist attempted to attack us, but that he got as far as he did, using a low-tech method--explosives in his underwear, for crying out loud. First, it was Richard Reid, stashing explosives in his shoes, and you know where that led: The flying public having to remove their shoes to fly. Now with the underwear guy, will that call for the removal of our pants, and a close examination of what might be sewn in the lining of underwear?

Perhaps all airlines should convert to flying nudists only, or those willing to convert to nudism for the extent of a flight. If people don't have clothes on, they can't tuck something away. Well, they could, but it would be harder.

I'm being facetious, of course. One solution would be full-body scans, and I understand only 19 scanners, or so, are now installed, with about 150 more being planned. Now I don't know about you, but I'd rather give up the privacy of having someone peer at my gorgeous body, than run their hands around my private parts.

If we're going to give up some privacy to fly, let's make sure that the sacrifice really works. It has to be extraordinarily hard to get around those full-body scanners, if they're working. I can't see how anyone could hide anything from those scanners, and still be able to walk, let alone talk, and interact with security personnel.

And for goodness sakes, let's start paying security personnel more than minimum wage. It will attract people who might take their job seriously, won't hold a grudge against their employer for working for pennies, and will actually do the job--and won't daydream about what they're going to do after work, but actually focus on the job at hand.

Compared to nonessential jobs, the most important jobs in this country are those that command the lowest pay--our teachers, police officers, and firemen.

If you have the likes of Pat Buchanan saying that its unfortunate that this incident was politicize, then you know somebody went well over the line.

Interestingly, this terrorist incident is not without controversy. Was there an accomplice? We have a well-dressed man intervening for Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab at the Amsterdam airport, and the FBI supposedly arresting someone in addition to Umar, and later denying it.

I don't want to minimize the gravity of the event, because it posed a real threat to the flying public, and to those on the ground, had this plane gone down. No doubt, this event shouldn't have happened. Dots should have been connected.

Yet, I'd like to make this point: Democrats, and the president in particular, can't jump each time Republican critics attempt to use an event to make them look soft on terrorism, dovish on war, and weak on national security. Jumping is not going to make Republicans love you more, nor diminish their attacks. Republicans have a plan: to take back the seats of power by any means necessary. And the method they're using now is to make Democrats and the president look foolish, and ineffective.

It's their aim to convince us that only they can lead us during times of national economic upheavals, and an ongoing war on terror. What they want us to forget is that they had almost eight years to rescue the economy, and to makes gains against terrorism.

Instead, they abandoned the real front on terrorism, Afghanistan, to fight Iraqis, and gave tax breaks to those who didn't need them, the rich. Talk about misplaced priorities!


c.c.-kathy said...

Black Diaspora,
Besides the fact that he had a one way ticket, which I think he paid cash for, and even though his father had already reported him, he still had a valid visa. Now, I didn't know that Amsterdam had one of the most secure airports, which makes this even worse. All the flags, were ignored. It doesn't make any sense to screen more, all the flags that should have prevented this attack from happening were ignored!
And I have no doubt that people of color will pay the highest price in terms of searches, ect, when flying. Epic FAIL on airline security and the entire visa process.
Of course, the latest meme is blame President Obama for everything, you break out in pimples last night, blame Obama, a hangover from drinking too much, blame Obama, too much traffic last night on the highway, blame Obama, it's the theatre of the absurd.

Black Diaspora said...

kathy, it is perplexing how the warning signs that were everywhere weren't noticed. The dots were so big, and so easily connected, you'd have to think nobody is minding the store.

First, it's the couple crashing a presidential bash, then the killing of seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan, and now this terrorist, which should have been stopped before boarding a plane.

It's as though the Intel community is being run by the enemy.

Yes, blacks, and people of color, will bear the brunt of this, as you say. But that's been our lot for a long time. We shall endure.

And you're right about the "latest meme," to blame Obama for all the bad things. I've been on sites where the topic of discussion wasn't political, but quickly degenerated into that. And of course, Obama caught hell for their difficulties.

I'm not sure who's behind it, the Repubs for the obvious reasons, others who feel he's responsible for our economic woes, or those who believe that a black shouldn't be president.

We're living in interesting times, and it will take time to sort it all out. I have a front row seat, and won't exit until I've seen the ending.

Blinders Off said...


We are definitely living in interesting times. As an Independent voter, I am sick and tired of watching the Republicans walk all over the Democrats. The Democrats need to grow a spine otherwise the Repubs will have control of Washington again.

Based on the direction of the Repubs ideology "WANTING THEIR COUNTRY BACK", we are in DEEP trouble if the gain control again.

Hopefully, 2010 will be the year the Democrats grow a spine and fight back. The Democrats should be embarrassed that the media is fighting the Republicans lies. If the Democrats continue to stay silent against the Repubs, they can kiss the Senate and Congressional seat good bye.


c.c.-kathy said...

Here's a quote from an article about the CIA people getting killed:
“Having CIA operatives in a PRT raises serious concerns for us,” said a senior Western official in Kabul. “We are hardly going to be encouraged to set up shop in dangerous areas if the insurgents get the message that PRTs come promising development but bring CIA agents.” The CIA operates outside the Nato military command structure in Afghanistan, reporting directly to the Pentagon. "

Is it just me, or does this paragraph make no sense whatsoever? Let's see, a senior Western official, saying that CIA operatives raises serious concerns, in a dangerous area? More absurdity.

BD, as far as flying goes, and PoC, I had an experience a few years ago that astounded me, IT WAS THE MOMENT, for me, that changed my outlook for ever. I felt so helpless, my privilege didn't work for people I loved, it was the most horrible experience I can think of, in terms of humiliation, fear, and also, an intense feeling of aloneness.

I forgot to say Happy New Year! Hope you are enjoying yourself, you too, Blinders Off!

Black Diaspora said...

Blinders Off: "[W]e are in DEEP trouble if the gain control again."

I'd say.

The Repubs will take their rise to power as a national mandate for their bankrupt policies.

They will attack Iran, and remain indefinitely in Iraq and Afghanistan, and expand the war globally.

We need new strategies, and new solutions. Military solutions have limited use. At best they're quick fixes, not permanent ones.

I pray that the American people aren't so desperate for solutions that they'll settle for a rerun of the previous decade.

I'm planning a New Year blog entry, but here's wishing you, too, a Happy New Year!

Black Diaspora said...

Thanks for the article, kathy. I agree: the statement is contradictory, and so is our mission in Afghanistan.

How do we expect to make Afghanistan self-sustaining in the midst of corruption, an insurgency, and the existence of an illegitimate government?

It's almost as though the Obama administration wishes to convince its critics and the American people that it has done everything possible to achieve stability there before giving the country back to the Taliban.

I know that this is not the outcome for which we hoped, but it will take a permanent occupation to change that scenario, and then that may not work.

We went into Afghanistan with the wrong mission, and we're staying for all the wrong reasons.

"BD, as far as flying goes, and PoC, I had an experience a few years ago that astounded me, IT WAS THE MOMENT, for me, that changed my outlook for ever."

Now, you've piqued my interest. Your experience doesn't sound like something you like talking about. Will I hear more?

I pray that this New Year be your best ever.

Blinders Off said...

Happy New Year c.c.-kathy


Looking forward to your first 2010 post.

c.c.-kathy said...

I probably don't want to talk about it too much because then I would be talking about things that include other people and are personal, I would love to share it but don't feel that I can do that. Maybe I can find a way to write about it in a metaphor.

(((Blinders Off))) Happy New Year to you too!

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Happy New Year Black Diaspora! I pray that you have a blessed, peaceful, and prosperous 2010. BTW, my blog is back up. However, I won't be posting topics on a daily basis like I did in the past. Instead, I'll do maybe three or four a month. I gone slow it down a little bit.

Black said...

Thanks, Granny. And a Happy New Year to you, as well. My year is going well.

And I can't wait to read your first blog entry of the year. I'm still working on mine, but I'll get it up soon.

Your blog entries are always special, no matter the frequency. So keep whatever pace you wish, we'll be around.

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