Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Terror, terror, terror! Fear, fear, fear!

There's nothing like waking up in the morning, making your first cup of tea and tuning into CNN only to discover there are still so many security holes in the US that the place is like a leaky dam with too few little Dutch boys being financed to stick their fingers in the appropriate places.

And, while Bush is busy reminding everyone that the US is fighting 'an extremist group of folks' better known as EGoF, that darn MSM is informing them that, after all of this time spent removing their shoes so they can be scanned by airport security personnel for explosives, those scanners aren't even capable of doing the job!

In its April 2005 report, "Systems Engineering Study of Civil Aviation Security -- Phase I," the Homeland Security Department concluded that images on X-ray machines don't provide the information necessary to detect explosives.

Machines used at most airports to scan hand-held luggage, purses, briefcases and shoes have not been upgraded to detect explosives since the report was issued.
The Homeland Security report said that "even a 1/4-inch insole of sheet explosive" could create the kind of blast that reportedly brought down Pan Am flight 103, the airliner that blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, killing 270 people in the air and on the ground.

Is it any wonder that 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean had to agree with CNN's Christianne Amanpour last nite that the current situation is 'out of whack'?

KEAN: Well, certain things have changed. Our intelligence agencies are talking to each other more. That was one of the failures in 9/11. There is more security at airports, although there still isn't a unified watch list. You still can't say all the agencies have put the names together of the bad guys.

We haven't got modern technology yet in the airports as far as passenger screening or baggage screening. A lot of that is a matter of money. So, there are a number of things in almost all these areas.

Government, actually one thing that government really should be doing, we're still not giving homeland security funds to the areas that are most risk, most at risk. We just sort of distribute them sort of in a political pot and give some to everybody. That's not the way it should be. Areas like New York City and Washington and Los Angeles they should get the majority of the funds.

AMANPOUR: And, sorry, why is that? I mean it sounds completely out of whack that.

KEAN: Well, it is our[sic] of whack and I'll tell you, if you had told us in the 9/11 Commission that five years after 9/11, over two years after we made our report that one simple recommendation to give out money to people who were at greatest risk still wasn't being done, I would have said you were crazy. And I think it's crazy we're not doing it yet.

There's a bill that passed the House of Representatives and it got stuck in the Senate because there are Senators who say "Well my area should get something. My area should get something." And they've stopped the whole bill, so we're still not giving out funds to the areas most at risk.

And the reality is that it doesn't matter how much people scream, go into mass hysterics, fear for their lives or exercise their right to vote - very little is actually going to happen to plug those dam leaks in America's security any time soon.

9/11 didn't change everything - not by a longshot. What it did do was allow an administration and its merry band of bickering, spineless Republicans to prey on the most base human feeling: fear, while doing practically nothing to alleviate it. And why should they? Fear sells. Fear keeps a populace compliant. Fear makes pulpit pounding politicians look brave. And for those who stay in power by promising faux 'national security', the more fear they can generate, the better. No wonder so many Americans turn a blind eye to or actually support this administration's use of torture. They actually believe that inducing fear produces rational results even in the face of all evidence to the contrary. But I suppose if Americans are afraid, everyone else should be too. Misery does love company, after all.

If there's anything Americans actually should be afraid of, it's their elected officials who, although having the power to protect the citizens they are supposed to serve, are too busy fearmongering to actually get their jobs done while they're scoring political points on the campaign trail by posing as fake Supermen who are ready to deliver them from evil. What some Americans forget is that Superman is a cartoon character and that Bush does not actually possess kryptonite. And, beyond that, it doesn't take super-human powers to make America safe. All it takes is firm action and, as far as honest action figures go, you'd be loathe to find many in Washington, DC these days. If they'd at least act like that humble little Dutch boy, maybe Americans could let go of some of their fear and get on with their lives. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, so.

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