We have reason to worry about security
It is unfortunate that Christmas Day 2009 will be remembered not as a peaceful time when Americans gathered with their families, but rather as the date that an Al-Qaeda operative nearly pulled off the murder of hundreds of Americans.
In retrospect, we were very fortunate that this plot to blow up an American airliner failed. Security measures at every step leading up to the incident were not properly followed. This episode should be a loud wake-up call to the Obama administration which has, so far, shown less inclination to bolster Americans’ national security than it has to pursue an unprecedented agenda of social spending.
As you know, it has been over eight years since the terrible attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 claimed 3,000 American lives. In the hours following those horrific acts, President Bush committed the full resources of the U.S. government to bring the 9/11 plotters to justice and to defeat a new, shadowy enemy.
For certain, this battle against terrorism has not been easy. Our adversaries have hidden themselves in many different countries and taken advantage of our impatience, lying in wait until the opportune time to strike.
However, in the years following the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration was successful in thwarting many other terror attempts. It was clear to our leaders then that America could never afford to let down its guard in order to keep our country safe. It was also clear that this war against terror would necessitate a reordering of U.S. intelligence, including better coordination of information gathering and sharing.
In the last year, the Obama administration has taken a different approach to the threat posed by Al-Qaeda. Not only does the administration no longer refer to this as a “war on terror,” but we have also witnessed a major policy shift to cast these terrorists as mere criminals instead of enemy combatants.
We’ve also seen an administration dedicated from its first days in office to currying favor with international public opinion rather than keeping an emphasis on security efforts which have kept this nation safe.
The past 12 months have been disappointing as the new administration has sought to downplay the terror threat by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and integrating foreign terrorist combatants into our criminal justice system.
Clearly, the Dec. 25 episode was not the first such warning. The Nov. 5, 2009, massacre of 13 U.S. soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas, has also raised serious questions about our government’s ability to identify potential terrorists and its willingness to stop them before they are able to carry out attacks.
Americans have good reason to worry about the seriousness of their government’s terror screening methods when such a blatant failure occurs. They also have reason to be concerned when “political correctness” governs airline passenger screening procedures.
President Obama has admitted “human and systemic failures” in the Dec. 25 terror incident and has ordered a review of U.S. security procedures. He should do more than that. He should make it a priority to fight and win the war on terror. He can start by keeping Guantanamo open and blocking the introduction of foreign terrorists into our criminal justice system.