For the grace of God and the quick action of Dutchman passenger Jasper Schuringa, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab would have blown up a Northwest Flight over Detroit on Christmas day. Within hours after this “dumb luck” near miss, Janet Napolitano, head of US homeland security, proclaimed that “the system worked”. Is she insane? Why hasn’t she been replaced?
After finishing his vacation in Hawaii, a full three days after Abdulmutallab set his pants on fire, our Commander in Chief finally returned to Washington to declare that our airport security system is indeed flawed. A couple of days later he figured out that we are in a “war with Al Qaeda”.
During his remarks Obama said, “First, I directed that we take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Second, I’ve ordered two important reviews, because it’s absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism.” Blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah. Words and promises and more words and promises, but they mean nothing coming from this man. Obama will stand by his promise to make America safe just like he’s going to stand by his campaign promise to have C-Span cover all of the healthcare debate negotiations.
To add insult to injury, on January 3, 2010 Rutgers grad student, Haisong Jiang, ducked under a security “rope” after a TSA employee walked away from his post at Newark Airport. The terminal was closed down for 6 hours while all passengers had to be re-screened. Thousands of passengers and hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled, not to mention the fact that we’ve got a rope and a fat guy keeping the bad guys out of airport terminals.
That TSA is a failure could have been easily predicted. What do you get when you replace poorly paid, unmotivated, private security guards with highly paid, unmotivated federal employees? You get another bloated, dysfunctional government agency (TSA). Why don’t we contract out our airplane security to a El Al, the world’s most secure airline? El Al has adopted sophisticated interrogation, inspection and PROFILING; methods that make TSA look like Bevis and Butthead. The last El Al hijacking took place in 1968, over 42 years ago.
There is an important lesson in the Christmas flaming underwear debacle and the Nemesis at Newark. The lesson is that private businesses and individuals usually act much more responsibly and effectively than government agencies ever can. The Dutch Government failed to adequately screen Abdulmutallab in Amsterdam. The US Embassy failed to disseminate the warnings and concerns given to them by Abdulmutallab’s father in Nigeria. In Newark, the TSA employee walked off the job allowing Jiang a few more romantic moments with his girlfriend.
Contrast this widespread government incompetence with private citizen Jasper Schuringa, who jumped across two isles of a wide body jet, smacked down Abdulmutallab, beat out the flames in his underwear, and dragged him down the isle in a choke hold. Reinforced cockpit doors and vigilant passengers have probably done more to improve passenger safety than all government security programs combined.
Sadly, airline security is just one pursuit in which the Federal government has miserably failed its citizens. Others come to mind including Fannie Mae, Social Security, Medicare, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, cash for clunkers, the TARP program, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, and the US department of education. Oh yes, I almost forgot. Wait till you see Government healthcare! The senate and house leaders will “hammer that one out” behind closed doors in the next few weeks. The final result will be a thing of beauty!