High Noon for President Obama

This afternoon President Obama met with his national security and law enforcement leads to determine what steps were necessary to ensure the security of our air transportation system.  Shortly after this meeting, he made his long anticipated statement to the American people.   After being delayed by yet another airport scare he walked out to the podium and spoke. The gist of his statement was simple:

“We did not connect the dots, our intelligence system failed, and I am going to fix it – quickly.”

He then informed viewers that he had directed his leads to conduct a full analysis of what must be done and report their findings to him later this week. He was somber, took no questions, and walked away immediately after making his statement. He looked focused and determined.

We commend our Commander-in-Chief for taking responsibility for the failures that led up to the 12/25 attack, and we truly wish him success. Succeed or fail however, this incident amounts to nothing less than a “High Noon” moment for our new President.  Americans want to have a reasonable assurance of security when traveling, and they clearly expect Obama to take immediate and decisive action.  It is now his turn to stand alone in the street without any political finger pointing, and show the American People that he has the brass to take on the bad guys.  Americans, once again, have terrorism on their top ten lists and they have traditionally been wary of the Democrat Party’s resolve to deal with it.  This is, simply put, Obama’s first public showdown with Osama the Kid….and he better win.

While Head Muscle clearly does not support many of President Obama’s policies, this is one instance that we are truly rooting for him. Not because we like him or think he is a good President, but because our national security, economy, and personal safety are all at stake.  The good news is that, this afternoon, he stood before his townspeople like a good sheriff and owned up to the task at hand. That being said however,  there are real signs that Obama is not stepping out into the street with a fully loaded gun:

Alleged-Terrorist -During Obama’s address this afternoon he once again referred to the Detroit bomber as an “alleged-terrorist.”  Now, let’s see…he was trained by Al Qaeda to ignite explosives hidden in his underwear on a commercial airliner. Using this same logic, Adolf Hitler is only an alleged-mass murderer. After all, he never really had his day in court. Employing this type of political correctness in the face of such a blatant threat, is tantamount to loading your six shooter with blanks. The way you win a shootout is to call your enemy out into the street by name, look him in the eye, and shoot him down in full view of all onlookers. This not only relieves you of any future threat from him, it also sends a clear message to all other potential villains that you plan to do the same to them.   By hesitating to call terrorists what they are, Obama is stepping out into the street and then asking his opponent for confirmation that he is really a bad guy prior to shooting.  The result – an exploding aircraft.

The word “alleged” also implies that anyone engaged in terror against the US will be afforded the very same legal due process that US Citizens are entitled to.  This emboldens the villain, because he knows that he can shoot the sheriff in cold blood and still have a chance at freedom. Instead of certain death as a consequence for blowing up an airliner, maybe he will get a mistrial and walk!  You can almost hear them talking together in their hideout.  “No Abdul, don’t kill people in Chechnya, the Russians will just execute you if you are caught. Kill people in America.  If they catch you they will just send you to Chicago.” Sheriff Obama needs to make it clear that he is shooting to kill. This is the only thing that the townspeople, and the bad guys, will respect.  Anything else will be perceived as weakness.

Al Qaeda Extremists – After eight years of battling Al Qaeda and watching these wretched sub-human scum balls kill innocents from Indonesia to Spain, our Commander-in-Chief  still calls them “extremists.”  By doing this, he not only cheapens the global crusade against terror, he also makes terrorists morally equivalent to other extremists groups like the Sierra Club, PETA, Green Peace and, dare I say,  conservative Christians. Certainly every religion has extremists…what is the big deal? It is a subtle erosion of the truth that, over time, causes everyone to forget what the threat really is. If our sheriff is going to protect the townspeople, he needs to be clear about who he is fighting. In this case it is Osama the Kid, a murderin’ varmint that got spit onto Earth right out of Hell itself, not an “extremist.” If Obama is going to fight the good fight, he needs to start using the right words and show Americans that he knows who the enemy is.

Napolitano Still Employed – This is perhaps the biggest travesty of all.  Janet Napolitano makes Gabby Hayes look like Clint Eastwood. Any sheriff knows that, if he is going to survive the shootout, he will need a good deputy watching the rooftops. When Deputy Napolitano spots a sniper on the saloon roof however, she waits for the bartender to shoot him and then pats her team on the back for having such a good system.  This is gross incompetence of the highest order, and Obama needs to send a signal to the rest of his posse that this type of bureaucratic ineptitude will no longer be tolerated. The fact that he has not already replaced her, makes him appear to be more concerned with his cabinet’s welfare than the American People’s.

Still no Profiling – Obama also noted in his statement that he directed more immediate security measures be put in place. There would be immediate increases in bomb sensors, police dogs, baggage checks, and pat downs. Additionally, over the last few days the news has been filled with stories of the airlines banning carry-on bags, blankets, and even reading material.   The flaw with this type of thinking is that it centers its focus on the weapon and not the person.   In order for the sheriff to do his job, he must know what the bad guy looks like.  We all know that western villains wear black hats, have thin mustaches, and dark beady eyes.  If our sheriff went around picking people at random and calling them into the street for justice, he would never find his nemesis.  How stupid our sheriff would look standing 20 paces away from a little old lady in a wheelchair.  Sound foolish?  Well it is. Unfortunately that is the approach that has been mandated in our nation’s airports.  History shows us that people who blow up airplanes are typically Muslim men between the ages of 18 and 35.  They buy one-way tickets with cash the day of the flight, and seldom have any luggage.   Why then do we stop the little old lady and frisk her?  Are we that stupid?  No, we are just terrified of being accused of racial discrimination by the ACLU crowd.  In reality, there is a difference between racial profiling and looking for terrorists.   Our politicians, however, have simply not been able to  cross that cognitive channel.  In their minds it is actually better to lose 300 people on an airplane than be accused of discrimination and, based on Obama’s comments, we have no reasonable expectation that this will change anytime soon.

So, here we are at high noon. Our hero has a chance to load his gun, call the bad guy into the street, shoot him dead in front of all the townspeople, and establish himself as the Wyatt Earp of airline security.   It is now 11:59AM and all the town is wondering what he will do.  They want the bad guy who has been terrorizing them dead, and they are demanding that the sheriff take care of business.  If he does, it will establish him as a worthy peacekeeper. If he does not, the townspeople will likely start looking for a new sheriff in 2012. Make no mistake, this is Obama’s defining moment. Perhaps it is even more defining than health care. This is the infamous first term test that we have heard so much about in the news. The streets are empty in anticipation of the fight, and curious eyes peek out from behind every curtain and sash. The town holds its collective breath as the courthouse clock begins to chime…one…two…three…four…

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Where Were You on 12/25?

I have always resisted the urge to blog about September 11, 2001.  Over the past 8 years, there have been so many beautifully crafted and well thought out essays and documentaries on the subject, that  I have always been at a loss as to what I could contribute.  History has clearly documented the chain of failures that allowed 19 radical jihadists to purchase first class one-way tickets in cash, with no luggage.  All of the tripwires were triggered that day, but the hijackers boarded their planes without a hitch and…well…the rest is history.  In just a few hours thousands of innocent Americans were dead or missing and our country had changed forever…or so we thought.

Just three days ago, all bets went out the window as news began to break about the failed (not foiled) attempt to bomb a Delta/Northwest Airlines aircraft on its way from Amsterdam to Detroit.  A young Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded the plane in Amsterdam with the intention of blowing it up using an explosive chemical mixing apparatus he had taped to his leg.  Apparently the concoction did not explode as planned however, and passengers were able to subdue him saving the flight.   According to the latest Wall Street Journal report on the incident, Mr. Abdulmutallab was able to smuggle the explosive device from Nigeria, where he boarded his KLM flight in Lagos, all the way through his connection in Amsterdam to the skies over Detroit. It was there that he attempted to explode 289 innocent travelers in the name of Allah.

At first, like many, I watched the events unfold with interest but was clearly distracted by the white noise of the holidays.  There was family to entertain, friends to visit, presents to unwrap, fresh baked ham to eat. “What exactly was this latest skirmish in the air all about?” I thought to myself. “I will have to listen more closely later.”  As the rumble of the holidays subsided however, and events began to unfold, my interest began to shift to anger.  “That could have just as easily been my flight from Kuwait a couple of weeks ago,” I thought to myself.   My anger seethed as new reports pointed out that, just like the 9/11 hijackers, this Nigerian man had purchased his tickets with cash and had checked no luggage.  It was as if the world had learned nothing from the 9/11 attack.  But then the news got even worse.  Apparently young Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name had already been added to a UK immigration watchlist, as well as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) person of interest data file.  If that was not bad enough, we then learned that  his own father had actually warned Nigerian authorities that he was fearful his son could be engaged in some type of suicide plot.   Once again all the tripwires had been triggered and the appropriate authorities had been alerted, yet Mr. Abdulmutallab was allowed to board his KLM flight in Nigeria with concealed explosives without so much as a secondary screening.  “Certainly heads would roll,”  I thought to myself.

Shortly after the news broke however, things began to get surreal.  First Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told CNN that the system worked well and actually praised our international security screening process. She also noted that though Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name was on a watch list, it contained nearly a half a  million names and was only advisory in nature.  Now let me get this straight… a major airline affiliated with Delta just let a known person of interest paying cash for a one-way ticket, with no checked luggage, board a flight for the United States of America and Janet Napolitano thinks that the system worked just fine. I would rather drink Rev. Jim Jones’  kool aid than this vile crap. We then find out that the explosive substance he smuggled on board was  something called PETN ,  a well documented easily detectable high explosive.  It is in fact, the very same substance that Richard Reid (alias – The Shoe Bomber) had attempted to use in 2001! Guess we just weren’t expecting that one….clever!

Soon the facts surrounding the Detroit incident became so damming that  Secretary Napolitano was forced to retract her earlier praise of  “the system.”    But in the same breath, she had the nerve to look into the camera and tell Amercans that it was still safe to fly!  Let’s see Janet, the system does not work by your own admission, but nothing to worry about – just remember not to try and stand up during the last hour of  your flight!

<Insert Scream Here>

My head was  now spinning with a mixture of anger and well…anger. “Where is the White House on all this?” I wondered.  “Why is our Commander-in-Chief not flying back from Hawaii to make a statement from the oval office to reassure the public that our government is taking decisive action?”  This should have happened immediately, but as of Monday…nothing but hula music.

If you have not been able to surmise by now, Head Muscle is angry.  Something stinks here, and  it smells like a stale cocktail of incompetence and bureaucracy with a chaser of political correctness. And make no mistake – it is lethal.  When is our leadership going to get serious about airline security?  When are we going to take off the gloves and decide that protecting American citizens is more important than being politically correct?  When are “We The People” going to throw open our windows stick our heads out into the street and scream to all the bobble heads in DC that:

“WE ARE MAD A HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!”

The safety of Americans, whether traveling domestically or internationally, is a bi-partisan issue and needs to be dealt with decisively.  Congress needs to quit worrying about the fate of Polar Bears in the Arctic and start worrying about the safety of their sons and daughters!  They then need to be held accountable when things like this happen.  If you are a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces, one DUI will relieve you of your career.  We need to set the same standards for these idiots we have put in charge  –  regardless of party.  We also need to hold our airlines accountable for clear lapses in their internal security processes. There is no excuse for KLM letting this lad onto their plane.  If we have databases with half a million names in them, we need to spend our stimulus dollars wisely and develop the data mining tools necessary to search for the name of every passenger that checks onto a flight – whether it is Smith or Abdul.  This is not rocket science and the fact that DHS and the FAA have not been able to implement such as system in the 8 years since 9/11  is inexcusable. Where is the outrage?

If you think my demands are unreasonable and impractical, I refer you to the venerable El Al Airlines of Israel.   One would think that El Al flights would be a prime target for terrorists, and in fact they are, but when did  the last El Al flight to fall from the sky in flames?  When was the last bomb scare on an El Al flight?  You will have trouble finding one because there are not any.  The reason for this is that Israel and El Al Airlines have placed the life and safety of their passengers above all other things.   I invite you to read a USA Today article from October, 2001  that elaborates on their process.  They have been doing it right for years. I have flown with them once personally and can attest to the exhaustive searches and interrogations one must go through prior to buckling into your seat. One thing is certain however, once you are seated, you know that there are no bad guys on board.  Why can’t Delta, United, US Airways, and Continental do the same? Why can’t the FAA demand it?  Why do we not cease flights to countries who do not uphold security standards?  Would it be inconvenient?  Absolutely.  Would people be offended? Without a doubt.  The result however could be hundreds if not thousands of lives saved, and our leaders would be doing the job they were elected to do – provide for the common defense of our nation.

Head Muscle is tired to ranting, and is ready to take action.  Over the next several weeks we will be calling our congressional leadership and demanding that they take this seriously and overhaul our travel security procedures once and for all.  We also strongly urge our readers to do the same.  Just follow this link to get the appropriate numbers.  It is time to stand up and hold our leadership to account. Please help Head Muscle by making your voice heard.  Remember, it could have been you on that plane.  The bomb could have functioned correctly, and the picture of the World Trade Center at the beginning of this post could have just as easily been of bodies and aircraft fragments crashing into the Detroit GM building.   Instead of asking, “Where were you on 9/11?” we could be asking , “Where were you on 12/25?”  The time for action is now.

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