Thursday, August 10, 2006

Republicans on security: You got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend

Anyone ever watch "Law & Order"? Or any other cop show or movie from the dawn of TV or film? One thing they all have in common is that after the murder, about 30 cops stand around, talking on phones, radios, to each other, securing the scene. It's reaction, not proaction. It's closing the barn doors after the horses got out.

It's political theatre, it's a charade. It's supposed to make us feel secure after tragedy, like Big Brother is watching over us. Except if someone were really doing what they claimed they were, the tragedy might have never occurred.

Today we have this, from Yahoo/AP:
The Bush administration posted an unprecedented code-red alert for passenger flights from Britain to the United States and banned liquids from all carry-on bags Thursday, clamping down quickly after British authorities disrupted a frightening terror plot.

The heightened restrictions triggered long lines at airports across the country, and governors in at least three states ordered National Guard troops to help provide security.

I'll bet many of the troops will be standing around, talking on phones, radios, to each other.

How dumb do they think we are? If the present mis-administration had done exactly one thing to prevent such terrorist acts, it wouldn't seem so pathetically late. If we were at risk, as we are constantly told, why wasn't security already higher?

Remember the 9/11 Commission?
In the nearly three years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the families of those who died have become a formidable political force. Fueled by their grief, they forced the 9/11 commission into existence, using the moral authority granted them by their loss to force a reluctant government to submit to close examination.

So how's that working out today?
Referring to $8 billion in USA Patriot Act funds spent by the federal government since 2001 "to help local police departments, firefighters and emergency medical technicians pay for equipment and training to prepare for terrorist attacks," Thomas Kean, a Republican and Chair of the 9/11 Commission, wrote in the New York Times....

"Billions have been distributed with virtually no risk assessment, and little planning. Nor has the federal government set preparedness standards to help state and local governments use the money wisely.


How about ports?

Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo amendment included:

– $300 million to enable U.S. customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all 140 overseas ports that ship directly to the United States. Current funding only allows U.S. customs agents to operate at 43 of these ports.

– $400 million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. Currently, less than half of U.S. ports have radiation monitors.

– $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.


Oh. Well. How about borders then?

Congressional investigators report that they were able to enter the United States earlier this year, using fake identification papers. The report says there's been no improvement in border security since the last time tests were conducted three years ago.


Hmmm.

Well, a bunch of cops, or National Guard Troops, standing around, talking on phones, radios, to each other, securing the scene, certainly make me feel good. I just wonder how many of them are actually out looking for the horses.


Also posted in slightly tidier form at HuffPo.

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