If there’s one thing that Obamanapalitano has done to make us feel safer, it’s reassure us that the terrorists aren’t trying very damn hard to attack us or else planes would be falling out of the sky every 5 minutes. I don’t want to let Bush off the hook either. In this case, Obama is right to blame the former administration. 7 years to get the information systems hooked up and functional is not being serious.
You may remember how many years it took for the IRS to connect and modernize all their systems. For all I know, they’re still working on the project, and you just don’t see it in the news anymore. Government is horrible at this kind of systems integration. And it ain’t that hard a technical problem. Private organizations get this right in a matter of months. Huge consulting firms stand ready to take huge fees to make this work PDQ for any customer who wants it. I speak with some geek cred here–Nobody should accept government excuses based on technical issues with integrating disparate data systems. If you don’t believe me, ask the geek you’re with.
The real lesson here, one that shouldn’t be a surprise, is that government, at least civilian government, is sloppy, lazy and you’re a fool to count on it for anything important.
(The organizational brilliance of the U.S. military, achieved over the last few decades, remains an inexplicable wonder to me — I wish Malcom Gladwell would get interested in understanding what it is about our armed forces that explains their transcendence of government dynamics as usual.)
As anyone knows who’s dealt with the TSA, they’re asinine. I regularly violate their liquids policies and get hassled never. I don’t do the baggie thing because I learned if you do the baggie thing they’re more likely to nitpick. I carry a lot of electronics and cords and that seems to help to distract them too. “Ooh, shiny…” I’m polite and friendly and kind of Aryan looking and you bet your ass I get profiled–and passed through. Cops seem to let me off more than I deserve too.
Now we can all admit that all the backroom data screeners are just as asinine and easy to get over on.
Obama still doesn’t quite get it. But I think he will soon. Democratic administrations tend to start as foreign policy pussies, get embarrassed and then overreact, sometimes effectively, sometimes not. Soon enough, Obama is going to go Chicago Way on these guys if they keep embarrassing him.
I suspect the near future holds a lot of dead Yemeni women and children who happened to be in close proximity to suspected terrorists. Good. I never understood all the mea culpas about killing Khadafy’s baby. Like you should be upset about killing maggots before they grow up to be flies.
(Ooh, snap! Did he really call innocent babies maggots? Yes he did. Babies in proximity to terrorists are more likely to grow up to be terrorists than I feel like risking. It is tragic. But I’m doing the Mafia math–you have to get the whole family to stop the, ahem, cycle of violence. While I’m going over the top, let me say very seriously, I’d rather kill a million innocent Muslims than have one of them get on a plane with a crotch full of explosives with my daughter. Maybe if Muslims realize I’m weighing it like that, they’ll go, Oh, shit, we better take it down a notch…”)
So here’s a limited time offer for all you moderate Muslims–get this shit under control now.