Does anyone take Obama seriously on national security?

After the just-barely-failed bomb attack on a Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano's knee-jerk response was that the "system worked." With even leftists calling her to resign or be fired, Napolitano changed her tune, saying on Monday that the system "didn't work."

In a comment that would be funny if the situation were not literally life-and-death, she said her original declaration was "taken out of context."  Just what was the context in which the system worked, Madame Secretary?

In a statement made from his holiday vacation to Hawaii (maybe to inspect his birth certificate?), Obama said that "This was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face and the nature of those who threaten our homeland." Yet, Obama is the man who wants to let a few dozen Guantanamo detainees return to Yemen, arguably the world's current leading petri dish for terrorist creation and training.

He called for a "thorough investigation" in tepid, almost blase remarks, making him look utterly unserious about protecting Americans.

He also said that the event proves that the citizens are more powerful "than an isolated extremist". But it no way was this guy "isolated" even though he was alone on the plane.  He was using a sophisticated (even if old) explosive with a sophisticated detination device.  He had to receive training and funding, and even assistance to get on the plane.

Napolitano's stupid statement serves to highlight, as Charles Krauthammer noted on Fox News today, that she was in charge of the department which issued a report saying that America could face a real threat from returning American soldiers and from other Americans who don't see Obama as The One.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Administration "immediately indicted Mr. Abdulmutallab on criminal charges of trying to destroy an aircraft, despite reports that he told officials he had ties to al Qaeda and had picked up his PETN explosive in Yemen. The charges mean the Nigerian can only be interrogated like any other defendant in a criminal case, subject to having a lawyer present and his Miranda rights read."

Are those the actions of a government which cares as much about keeping its citizens alive as it cares about apologizing for the nation or increasing the US's worldwide popularity by emphasizing how we're no longer interested in being strong?

It didn't help the Administration's case when they argued that the would-be bomber wasn't on quite a serious enough database to have been kept off a flight...even though he was on a federal watch-list because his father, a well-to-do banker in Nigeria, warned the US just recently about his son's radical turn.

In the meantime, this event -- compounded by the Administration's ridiculous reaction -- is red meat to Republicans.   As it should be -- the Administrations actions and reactions are little short of an utter abdication of the only fundamental role of a federal government: to protect citizens from being killed.

UPDATES:  This same type of explosive was used in a terrorist attack by a bomber who arrived in Saudi Arabia from Yemen (but was not Yemenese). Quite conceivably the work of the same Al Qaeda cell as that which put the Christmas bomber to his task.

And, as Rusty noted in his comment, ABC News is reporting that "Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents." Again, as Rusty noted, this would have happened under the Bush Administration. But that fact is irrelevant.  What is important is to see how these events impact Obama's stated plans to free Gitmo detainees, particularly those from Yemen.

As if releasing them weren't bad enough, here's the story: "American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials."

When will naive do-gooders realize that Islamofascists are not deep-down-nice people simply in need of a hug to extricate them from what must just be a phase of naughtiness?

The Left will spin the Gitmo release furiously, trying to direct all of the attention at the fact that Bush released them.  But don't let them confuse you: that's not the point.  The point is that we now have absolute proof what Gitmo detainees do when they leave.  It doesn't matter if it's all of them.

As I've said before, if the government insists on releasing Guantanamo detainees, they should only release ones whom they are essentially certain were caught up in the net by accident. And even then, they should be released with the warning that if they are caught committing acts of terrorism or war against the US, they and their families will be killed and buried with pig blood. No second chances.

  • Himtngal
    Comment from: Himtngal
    12/29/09 @ 05:48:55 am

    Great article Rossputin! Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at Ms. Napolitano as the czar of DHS. Remember, she had trouble keeping illegal aliens out out Arizona and most recently, was asked by Senator Jeff Sessions of the Judiciary Committee about the ongoing Cory Voorhis case and the corruption in Denver's Ice Office along with the misdeeds of Governor Ritter, the Denver District Attorney's Office and Ritter followers. What is really going on in Washington and Colorado needs to be discussed openly.

  • Rusty Staff
    Comment from: Rusty Staff
    12/29/09 @ 06:53:05 am

    Ross, apparently you "went to press" after the news broke that 2 of the 4 plotters allegedly involved in this incident had been released from Gitmo in 2007 to the custody of Saudia Arabia with the stipulaton that they participate in "Art Therapy" to cure their violent inclinations. (Hmmm...maybe (your) Kristen can get work in the Obama Admin as a Terrorist de-programmer.). I realize that this would have been Bush Admin. doings but do not care. It's a symptom of our nation's refusal to take this as seriously as we should.

  • kjdiamond
    Comment from: kjdiamond
    12/29/09 @ 09:30:59 am

    I honestly didn't blame Obama for the massive breach in security as the entire TSA and Homeland Security Office was created after 9/11 and under the Bush administration. I also don't blame Bush. I do blame these two bloated beaurocracies. If the FBI and CIA couldn't get it right before 9/11, how do we expect career politicians in political postions to keep us safe? All the Demos in Congress seem to care about is paying off their constituents by trying to unionize the TSA which would invite corruption and ineptitude leading to potentially successful terrorist plots. However, this was before seeing this article. After reading how this administration leveled a much lesser charge against this man, not for terrorist acts, but for basically felony criminal mischief, I am utterly amazed. Additionally, this administration is STILL going through with the release of 97 Gitmo prisoners under the same fingerpaint program in Saudi Arabia that graduated 2 of the plotters for the Christmas Day attack. Unbelievable.

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque
    Comment from: Blacque Jacques Shellacque
    12/29/09 @ 05:04:37 pm

    The Left will spin the Gitmo release furiously, trying to direct all of the attention at the fact that Bush released them. Quite frankly, they shouldn't have been released by anyone.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    12/29/09 @ 05:07:10 pm

    Great screen name "Jacques". I agree..they shouldn't have been released. Now they should be hunted down and made examples of.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/29/09 @ 10:38:10 pm

    I don't take Obama OR the GOP seriously on national security, Ross: http://www.dixienet.org/rebellion/2009/12/terrorism-is-cost-of-empire.html Do you?

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/29/09 @ 10:42:22 pm

    "Now they should be hunted down and made examples of." To what end, exactly? I know you're a Boyles fan, as am I. What say you to his observations that if you kill one, you create ten, and that you can't beat a birthrate? And have you seen this movie? If not, you must: http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    12/30/09 @ 07:13:02 am

    Snaggle-tooth, Allow me to respond to each comment: 1) I don't think either party is great on national security, but the GOP is certainly better than the Dems. 2) To what end should they be made examples of? As a deterrent. 3) I'm not a Boyles fan on anything to do with economics or immigration. I don't think he's correct that if you kill one, you create ten. I think it is true that it's hard to beat a birthrate. At the end of the day, I do not believe these terrorists are being created because of poverty or anything like that. They believe there is religious salvation in being a martyr. Being buried with pig blood will, in their minds, prevent that salvation, which is why I think it could be a decent deterrent.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/30/09 @ 08:38:28 am

    1) I don't think either party is great on national security, but the GOP is certainly better than the Dems. Well, a) The GOP is a master at creating "blowback" (Chalmers Johnson); followed by b) effacing liberty through such measures as the "Patriot" Act; and then c) does nothing about the situation on the border. I'd be interested to know why, in light of these things, you believe the GOP to be better than the Dems on the issue of national security. 2) To what end should they be made examples of? As a deterrent. Yeah, well, that's certainly working. You know you can't deter a death cult, don't you? 3) I'm not a Boyles fan on anything to do with economics or immigration. I don't think he's correct that if you kill one, you create ten. I think it is true that it's hard to beat a birthrate. At the end of the day, I do not believe these terrorists are being created because of poverty or anything like that. They believe there is religious salvation in being a martyr. Being buried with pig blood will, in their minds, prevent that salvation, which is why I think it could be a decent deterrent. In a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, even stalwart neocon Doug Feith admitted that with every Al-Qaida kill, several more are recruited to the cause. And the Muslim world has a huge reserve of potential terrorists, as I'm sure you know. Hope you had a chance to read that Rebellion blog entry. And hope you will also view the Jarecki film "Why We Fight".

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    12/30/09 @ 08:42:42 am

    Let's not confuse issues: I'm with you on having a problem with the Patriot Act. 1) My point is much simpler: The Bush Administration was focused on preventing terrorism and Bush himself obviously found that task to be of the utmost importance. Indeed, after 9/11, I'd say it defined how he saw his mission. Obama clearly has no such views. 2) Not sure what your point is. We are not doing what I said we should be doing. BURY THEM WITH PIG BLOOD AND MAKE SURE THE WHOLE MUSLIM WORLD KNOWS. That is not a minor point of what I am suggesting. Furthermore, we are not hunting them down and killing them in a very public way. And when we do arrest one, our government charges Navy SEALs with hitting him in the stomach. 3) I'll try to find that film when I have time.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/30/09 @ 09:35:32 am

    Another reason the GOP isn't much better, if any better, than the Dems when it comes to terrorism. Per Ralph Peters, yesterday: How did we help Umar Abdulmutallab, a wealthy Muslim university graduate who decided that Allah wanted him to slaughter Christians on their most joyous holiday? By continuing to lie to ourselves. Although willing -- at last -- to briefly use the word "terror," yesterday President Obama still refused to make a connection between the action, the date and Islam. Was it just a ticketing accident that led to a bombing attempt on Christmas? Was it all about blackout dates and frequent-flyer miles? It wasn't. You know it. And I know it. But our government refuses to know it. Despite vast databases crammed with evidence, our leaders -- of both parties -- still refuse to connect Islamist terrorism with Islam. Instead of referring to the Republican Party as the GOP, maybe we should use "GOP-PC" instead, for the "Party of Lincoln" has fully succumbed to political correctness just as surely as the liberals have. And that's necessarily going to effect how the GOP approaches national security.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    12/30/09 @ 09:44:48 am

    Again, I think you're sort of confusing issues. No doubt that the GOP has bought in to too much PC stuff. But are you seriously arguing that Obama has as much focus on defeating terrorism as Bush did? Or that, on balance, Republicans in Congress don't have more focus on defeating terrorism than the Democrats? I'm not saying the GOP is great...or even good. But I think on this issue there's no doubt they're better than the Dems.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/30/09 @ 09:48:11 am

    Ross, re: #2, I'm suggesting that radicalized Muslims won't be deterred. They don't fear death, they're true believers, and they take the long view of history. We here in the West, on the other hand, aren't suicidal, or belief is faltering, and we certainly don't take the long view of history. Everything is stacked against us here. And you KNOW we're not going to bury them with pigs blood, or anything like that. I am with Michael Scheuer, Chalmers Johnson, et al. on the issue of "blowback" and unintended consequences, and with Larry Auster, Srdja Trifkovic, et al. on the issue of "separationism" when it comes to the question of how to stop or at least minimize terrorism. This means, respectively, that I think we should get ALL of our forces out of the Middle East, quit giving undue favor to the State of Israel, and then stop -- AND HOPEFULLY REVERSE -- the tide of Muslim immigration into the West. IOW, we ought to get out of their countries and get them out of ours. Otherwise we WILL be fighting what the neocons call The Long War. If you do manage to view "Why We Fight", you'll see how it dovetails into our discussion here.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/30/09 @ 09:51:01 am

    But are you seriously arguing that Obama has as much focus on defeating terrorism as Bush did? Or that, on balance, Republicans in Congress don't have more focus on defeating terrorism than the Democrats? I'm not saying the GOP is great...or even good. But I think on this issue there's no doubt they're better than the Dems. The Republicans may indeed be more focused, but their "cure" is worse than the disease. That's what I'm saying. That's why they aren't "better" than the Dems, IMO.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    12/30/09 @ 10:12:18 am

    I know we're not going to bury them with pig's blood...unfortunately. And I know we won't kill their families either... I couldn't disagree more about Israel. Yes, we probably give them too much aid. But they are the only Democracy in the region and are a useful bulwark against Iran and others. If we give them "undue favor", it's not by much. Furthermore, only the Democrats actually believe that that issue has anything of significance to do with inspiring terrorism. The terrorists basically never talk about that as their motivation. I agree with the GOP is too willing to sacrifice civil liberties...Ben Franklin would not be pleased. My point was not about that...it was narrowly focused on which party is more interested in defeating Al Qaeda. Other issues aside, and I agree that those issues are important, it's certainly the GOP.

  • kjdiamond
    Comment from: kjdiamond
    12/30/09 @ 05:21:18 pm

    ST Jones, You are oversimplifying the issue. It isn't occupation, colonialism, etc. It has everything to do with their society that is built around Islam and the need for Jihad. Therefore, moving away from the issue only brings is closer to home which it will come. Bin Laden and the others are very adept at deflecting from the true nature of their global jihad by providing reasons that have nothing to do with their purpose: a global caliphate. Instead of leaving Israel alone, we need to stop supporting groups such as Hamas and letting Iran, through Hezbollah, intimidate and terrorize their neighbors. Besides, if they don't want us around, why do the Middle East governements keep asking for our assistance? Until Islam modernizes, we will be in for a long fight. I just hope we have leaders that are willing to do so, and I am not holding my breath with this administration. Keith

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    Comment from: Snaggle-Tooth Jones
    12/31/09 @ 09:30:15 am

    Well Keith, as far as I am concerned, you are begging every question. Let me recommend to you a course of reading: -- Articles and books by Michael Scheuer -- Articles and books by Andrew Bacevich -- Articles and books by Pat Buchanan -- Articles and books by John Mearsheimer -- Articles and books by Stephen Walt -- Articles and books by Karen Kwiatkowski -- Chalmers Johnson's "Blowback" trilogy -- Articles on this issue published in the periodicals Chronicles and The American Conservative -- Articles on this issue published on the web sites Antiwar.com, Lewrockwell.com and the Chronicles and American Conservative web sites And, as I've strongly recommended above, see Eugene Jarecki's film "Why We Fight." If you read and see all this stuff with an open mind, I PROMISE you a very "Matrix"-like awakening. Either that or a very unpleasant experience of cognitive dissonance. I leave you with an article by the aforementioned Michael Scheuer about a Gallup study on what the world's Muslims really think: http://www.antiwar.com/scheuer/?articleid=12576