…no thanks to the government, the plane was not destroyed, and we won’t get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there’s no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation. But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this “case” tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success … just like the Clinton folks did after the ’93 WTC bombers and the embassy bombers were convicted. In their minds, litigation success equals national security success.
Stooge Gibbs said today that the administration takes the war seriously, but you wouldn’t know it by their behavior. Attempting to blow up a civilian airliner while being Muslim is not a civilian crime — it is an act of war, by an illegal combatant.
I think the year-long mantra of “Bush destroyed the Constitution” is now almost over, and we will begin again worrying about our collective safety rather than scoring partisan points by citing supposed excesses in our anti-terrorism efforts. With the delay in closing Guantanamo (from the promised shuttering on Jan. 20, 2010 to . . . sometime in 2011?), Obama’s quiet copy-catting of Bush security protocols (such as wiretaps, intercepts, tribunals, and renditions), and the popular outcry against the upcoming show trial of KSM in New York, a public consensus is growing that radical Muslims like Hasan and Mutallab will continue to attempt to kill Americans. Citizens increasingly understand that the last eight years of relative safety following 9/11 were due only to heightened security at home and proactive use of force abroad, that we should cease trying to appease radical Islam by dreaming up new euphemisms (“overseas contingency operations,” “man made disasters,” etc.), and that it is time to stop the apologetics and kowtowing, and grudgingly accept that thousands of radical Islamic fundamentalists worldwide want to kill Americans — and dozens of governments, at least on the sly, hope that they do. Such venom has nothing to do with past American behavior or George Bush’s strut, nor can it be ameliorated on the cheap by Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize, middle name, or reset-button diplomacy.
Even if he starts now, though, people will remember the naivety of the first year of office, and the left will remain angry at him that he’s acting just like the BusHitler. He’s in a no-win situation, politically. And I have no sympathy. He asked for the job, and lied his way into it.
Let me just say, for one, that I have absolutely no less confidence in Janet Napolitano after her performance today than I did the day she was nominated, or confirmed. In fact, I’ll go farther and say exactly the same thing about the president. Unlike some, my respect for his ability, experience, integrity or viewpoints has not diminished in any way since his election. Neither of them has disappointed me in any way whatsoever.
Point 1: “NASA” doesn’t say so. One duplicitous ideologue masquerading as a climate scientist at one particular NASA center says so. That center had to confess error on his behalf (no doubt through clenched teeth).
Point 2: “NASA” has no opinion on anything. NASA is a government agency, with thousands of employees, of varying opinions. The previous NASA administrator, in fact, famously outraged the warm mongers with his own skepticism, but if any one person could have spoken for NASA at the time, it would have been Mike Griffin, not James Hansen.
Point 3: NASA has had many spectacular achievements in the past. It has also had many spectacular failures. To rely on it, as an agency, as a source of authority for something (particularly when there is no official agency position on it) is foolish. In fact, this false sense that people have in NASA as an authority has contributed greatly to the difficulty over the past decades to raise money for private ventures. This is because investors, when doing due diligence on an investment decisions, have often gone to someone at NASA who knows nothing about the venture, and relied on their foolish advice, for no other reason than they worked for NASA.
Anyway, this gets back to the foolishness of relying on people who claim to be scientists, instead of on science itself.
It isn’t just that that no one has cut Obama any slack. World leaders seem to be taking pleasure in rebuffing him, disappointing him, even, in some cases, mocking him. French President Nicolas Sarkozy famously called Obama an “inexperienced, ill-prepared” leader.
Praising and admiring Obama are still common, but raising doubts about him, even scoffing at him, is now becoming fashionable. Although he is still popular among Europeans and more popular with Muslims than his despised predecessor, Obama is being tagged with the unflattering label John Quincy Adams earned before he lost the 1828 election: “Adams can write, Jackson can fight.”
Oh, he can fight all right. But only when it comes to domestic enemies. It’s the Chicago Way.
Heading out of Vegas north to Arizona, Utah, and eventually Colorado. I may check in from the road, since I bought myself a Verizon Aircard for Christmas. Hope Santa was good to everyone…
[Late evening update]
The plan had been to make it all the way to Denver tonight, but we got a late start from Vegas, and we would have gotten in very late, so we stopped in Grand Junction. Looking at the weather in the room, it looks like it was a good move, because there’s a lot of snow on the road up ahead at the Divide. I hope it will be better in the morning.
[Saturday morning update]
Well, it’s better this morning, but still looks like a slow drive. The snow isn’t blowing any more, but there are icy patches and packed snow ahead. I’m guessing five hours, but maybe we’ll be able to do better.
We made a lot better time than I hoped — about three and a half hours. The only places where the roads were a little iffy were in Vail Pass and climbing up the the RooseveltEisenhower tunnel, but it generally moved at better than sixty and eighty for much of the trip. The nice thing was that there was little traffic, and virtually no trucks, doubtless due to the holiday.
Are there any Denver-area blogger parties for New Years?
…but a lot later than we wanted, due to hellacious traffic getting out of LA. Things didn’t really start to move until we got halfway up the Cajon Pass. So, later dinner at Mandalay Bay, and then on to Colorado in the morning. But Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. I’ll leave you with a video from another Christmas eve, forty-one years ago.
I had a piece on this story last year, on the fortieth anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been a year since I wrote that.