30 December 2009
Partisanship and Security
Another year nears its end, but some things don't change. It appears on any objective analysis that the U.S. national-security apparatus screwed up again in failing to put the Nigerian gentleman who tried to blow up an airliner last week on a no-fly list. The error may seem more obvious in retrospect but the evidence has mounted showing that Americans were aware that some Nigerian coming out of Yemen meant trouble around Christmastime. The guy's name was known because his father had denounced him, so it seems like he could have been separated from the general air-travel population without having to profile anyone else. The President appears to realize that something's wrong with this picture, but such is the nature of the American Bipolarchy that many people will insist that nothing new needs to be done because the Republicans are insisting otherwise. Make no mistake: when Dick Cheney makes any public criticism of the present President he does so with partisan advantage in mind. Had he some higher interest in the matter, he could probably call on the President and make known his concerns and reservations. Instead, he openly questions whether the President even realizes that the country is at war with terrorists, and the only object of such commentary is to turn more voters Republican. But it's one thing to question the President's competence or fitness to lead, as Cheney does constantly, and another to admit the obvious: that something is wrong with the system as it currently functions. My fear is that Democratic partisans and people in general who hate Republicans will deny the obvious in order to spite the domestic enemy. My point is not to say that we need to become even more of a police state, since I question the policies that perpetually provoke Muslims against the U.S. But this is a time when Americans need to have an objective conversation about what to do to prevent another attempt like the Christmas stunt, and the tendency of the Bipolarchy is to make such conversations impossible.