Monday, July 11, 2005

You Can't Make This Stuff Up ...

But knowing the American political process, in light of what happened in London, do you have any doubt that there will be in Congress a vote for increasing security money for railway, subways and buses?

-- Tim Russert, to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, on July 10 Meet the Press

Like the events in London, last year's train bombings in Madrid were supposed to serve as a wake-up call to Congress and the White House to get serious about transit security.

Instead they hit the snooze button.

A $1.1 billion plan sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would have safeguarded the railroads running through major urban centers and also required the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to improve rail security nationally "passed the Senate but stalled in the House." Another bill proposed at the time "would have authorized $3.5 billion over three years for rail and bus security. That one fell victim to a turf battle between the Transportation and Homeland Security departments over who had the authority to dole out grants."

-- Center for American Progress, July 8


Blogger Michael said...

Anyone who has read my previous comments knows I am the poster-child for what the Right calls a "Bush-hater". To be honest it makes me physically ill to see him standing in front of cameras representing my Nation. I've never wanted to have a beer with him.

But David's post has shown light on why we should all, Left and Right, hate what Bush is doing in response to the terrorist threats we all now live with. It is true that America is like an attention-deficit puppy when it comes to anything involving politics. We all know that. As soon as the dust settles the media will be back in Aruba, or chasing runnaway brides, or the owners of DC baseball teams.

Yes, we really are a nation of boneheads (excluding nearly all frequenters of this blog, of course).

So it isn't really news that Congress is only ever concerned about funding and promoting effective Homeland Security immediately after a lot of civilians get ripped to pieces during their morning commute. They know we don't really care enough to consistently hold them accountable for long enough to really matter.

But this is precisely why we have an entire third branch of government. In a word: leadership. What is required and lacking in regard to Homeland Security is a leader that can inspire the nation and hammer the politicians to never, ever forget what their FIRST job is.

We have a great history of presidents who have rallied and inspired their countrymen to work harder, to sacrifice more, and to rise to the challenges before them. I honestly believe there is almost nothing America couldn't do if it was committed.

But what have we been served instead? Tax-cuts to the upper classes, diversion of huge sums of money and military strength to a war that was based on untruths, social security roadshows by invitation only, divisive politicization of 9/11, unilateralism, and cover-ups.

Yes, I'm disgusted and I hate that America seems adrift when it come to Homeland Security. Some yammering head on Fox remarked how "useful" it was that London was bombed during the G8 summit because, he reasoned, it would cause the world to focus on preventing terrorism again. Well, I'd like to suggest a way to accomplish that without having to wait for AlQueada to start the process by killing innocent men, women and children.

How about if Bush took a leadership role on Homeland Security and really kept America focused for as long as it took to prevent another 9/11 or 7/7?

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's an excellent point.
Bush pretends he's focused on "fighting the war on terror", and he had, with emphasis on the word "had", duped more than half the population to believe he really is. But we hardly hear a squeak from Bush about homeland security (not since he was challenged on the subject by John Kerry during the election and those representations have turned out to be exactly what they were -- Karl Rove devised myths).
Where is the leadership? Heaven forbid, what will it take, an attack on the New York subway system? And even if that were to happen would the media continue to bury the story about the funding cuts on homeland security in fear of offending the Bush administration? Would Bush give another "we have to hold steadfast in our resolve on the war on terror" speech. Would Giuliani give another speech like he did last week on the London bombings ridiculing any connection of them with the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
These people are going in circles. They are not focused on finding solutions, knowing that to do so would expose their policies as actually increasing the terrorism problem.
This game of saving face among the world's conservatives is directly responsible for placing Americans in jeopardy of another full-scale terrorism attack.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Pliny said...

Hate to intrude into your pretend world with reality, but this country is too large to defend on the ground. Whether its 1 billion or 1 trillion dollars, 1-5 people can blow up anything they want.

There are 45,000 dams in the U.S. - which one you gonna protect. What about the 500,000 miles of power lines, the 200,000 power plants, the 10,000 chemical plants, the hundreds of thousands of miles of subways and train tracks.

Where will you spend you money? It doesn't make any difference, because wherever you go, the terrorist will go wherever you didn't go.

The only way to protect the U.S., is to take the fight to the terrorists - in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran. Keep them running, kill them when you catch them. Its the only way.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me see if I have this straight.
The above blogger thinks the U.S. has enough resources to go after the terrorists in the various countries, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, while we are expending $200 billion and our military resources on the insurgency in Iraq.
For every Mideastern terrorist we take down, we create several more, while fighting the supposed terrorists in Iraq has been documented to be fueling terrorism, not reducing it.
So let's shovel more money into this furnace?
The above blogger thinks it hopeless to take a fraction of this money expended on military maneuvers in Iraq for improving homeland security.
The blogger seems to suggest, since we can never protect everything that needs to be protected on our domestic shores, why bother in the first place?
It's terrifying that people of a similar mindset are running this country.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Dennis, you are correct of course, but such is the nature of strawmen arguments. But the real debate includes surveillance and intelligence gathering within our borders, not just "guarding dams".

Maybe you remember the millenium bombings that were thwarted during the Clinton administration. That's exactly what we are discussing here.

So considering recent reports of sleeper cells inside of the US, and the latest belief that the attacks in London were committed by people living inside the UK, I wouldn't be so quick to send so much funding to countries like Iraq, while at the same time underfunding our own agencies.

5:05 PM  

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