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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Homeland Insecurity: The Christmas Day Plane Bomber and More Government Incompetence

It appears -- at least from the press reports in the first sixteen hours after the incident -- that a man of Nigerian origin tried to blow up a jetliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit.  See this New York Times link.
More relevant:  It is emerging that our federal government had this man on its "watch list."   Yet he was still able to board a flight to America, with some substances strapped onto his skin or clothing, and (as we are told right now) pose a deadly threat.
There you have it.   More than eight years after 9/11, and it seems that would-be bombers are as able to get onto our planes and bring them down over our landscape as the twenty Al Qaida bombers were on September 11, 2001. 
Of course, since 9/11, we have seen a massive growth in government bureaucracy, the creation of a new agency called the Department of Homeland Security (which, in fairness, has absorbed pre-existing agencies such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service), the shocking reduction of basic constitutional and civil liberties (apparently no one has taken lessons in Colonial History) and the implementation of ridiculous protocols such as shedding one's shoes at airport check-in gates so that high-school-level-educated men and women making little more than minimum wage can tap their soles to "inspect" them for deadly, dangerous substances.  
Here's the point for today:  There has been great emphasis on changing the government structure.   However, the same people -- or the same caliber of people -- infect the government and are likely the cause of the continuing ineffectiveness.   The only apparent differences are the greater intrusions and interference with Americans' rights, and the number of people employed by the government. 
Former President Reagan used a famous line during his 1980 presidential campaign:  "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"   Can we now fairly ask, "Are you safer than you were nine years ago?"    The latest "shoe bomber" incident indicates the answer is emphatically "NO" -- but we're paying through the nose in the form of higher taxes, budget deficits and government intrusions into liberty. 

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