Saturday, January 09, 2010

Flying the Terrifying Skies

Those are the President's remarks on the failed Christmas Day attempted bombing of the jetliner. Here is what jumped out at me:
Now, at this stage in the review process it appears that this incident was not the fault of a single individual or organization, but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies. That's why, in addition to the corrective efforts that I've ordered, I've directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews, and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts. We will measure progress. And John Brennan will report back to me within 30 days and on a regular basis after that. All of these agencies -- and their leaders -- are responsible for implementing these reforms. And all will be held accountable if they don't.

Moreover, I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately, the buck stops with me. As President, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people. And when the system fails, it is my responsibility.

Over the past two weeks, we've been reminded again of the challenge we face in protecting our country against a foe that is bent on our destruction. And while passions and politics can often obscure the hard work before us, let's be clear about what this moment demands. We are at war. We are at war against al Qaeda, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.

Whatever you think of President Obama, did you read that second paragraph? As President, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people. And when the system fails, it is my responsibility. Did you catch that? The part where he is putting himself in the line of blame? Taking responsibility? In all the internet and TV chatter I have heard precious little credit being given to him for that small, simple remark that speaks volumes. He could have said, "You know, this system was set up after 9/11 and so Bush had YEARS to get this shit working right, but he obviously didn't, and those CIA agents, well they fucked up, and forget it when it comes to the entire NCTC which is a joke at this point, etc etc." He could have done the Bush/Cheney/Giuliani thing and found a way to Blame Bill Clinton. Nope. He laid out the errors then said, "the responsibility is mine."

You'll pardon me while I sit quietly and enjoy this breath of fresh air for a moment.

Which moves us to the discussion of the body scanners at airports and the privacy concerns of people who, like James Carville, don't want the TSA guy to be able to "measure my penis." Well, first off James, the scanners aren't powerful enough to find your little Cajun weiner. Second, what's a little weiner between countrymen if it means your flight doesn't get blown out of the sky? I keeed! Why we are so wiggy about these scanners is beyond me. Here's what the scan looks like (of a Manchester, England airport security official):

You want to tell me that guy doesn't wear less on his yearly British person vacation to Corfu? The person viewing the scan is in another location from the security gate, so the entire passenger manifest is not seeing the dude's butt crack. Note that his face is not entirely visible, so he's not actually personally identifiable to the person viewing either. Quite frankly we need to get over this puritan "Oh they'll see my hoo-ha!" nonsense. We see hoo-has every damn day on the TV, on the interwebs, on bus station posters. Hoo-has sell beer.

Let's just be grown ups and recognize that this is what the world has come to: If you want to fly, some dude from the TSA is going to see a charcoal rendering of your ass crack.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So funny! Sadly so true as well.