Skip to comments.The Joke’s on Us ... Mark Steyn
Posted on 01/02/2010 9:29:31 AM PST by Rummyfan
The Pantybomber wasnt the big joke. We are.
On Christmas Day, a gentleman from Nigeria succeeded (effortlessly) in boarding a flight to Detroit with a bomb in his underwear. Pretty funny, huh?
But the Pantybomber wasnt the big joke. The real laugh was the United States government. The global hyperpower spent the next week making itself a laughingstock to the entire planet. First, the bureaucrats at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) swung into action with a whole new range of restrictions.
Against radical Yemen-trained Muslims wearing weaponized briefs? Of course not. That would be too obvious. So instead they imposed a slew of constraints against you. At Heathrow last week, they were permitting only one item of carry-on on U.S. flights. In Toronto, no large purses.
Um, the Pantybomber didnt have a purse. He brought the bomb on board under his private parts, and his private parts werent part of his carry-on (although, if reports of injuries sustained in his failed mission are correct, they may well have been part of his carry-off). But no matter. If in doubt, blame the victim. The TSA announced that for the last hour of the flight no passenger can use the toilets or have anything on his lap not a laptop, not a blanket, not a stewardess, not even a paperback book. I cant wait for the first lawsuit after an infidel flight attendant confiscates a litigious imams Koran as theyre coming into LAX.
Youre still free to read a paperback if youre flying from Paris to Sydney, or Stockholm to Beijing, or Kuala Lumpur to Heathrow. But not to LAX or JFK. The TSA were responding as bonehead bureaucracies do: Dont just stand there, do something. And every time the TSA does something, youll have to stand there, longer and longer, suffering ever more pointless indignities. Last week, guest-hosting The Rush Limbaugh Show, I took a call from a lady who said that, if it helps keep her safe, shes happy to get to the airport four, five, whatever hours before the flight. Try to put a figure on whatever and youll get a sense of where Americas transportation system is headed. Ten years ago, you got to the airport 45 minutes, an hour before the flight. Now, thanks to the ever more demanding choreographers of the homeland-security kabuki, its two, three, four, whatever. Look at OHare and imagine the size of airport well need. And by then the Pantybomber wont even need to get on the plane; he can kill more people blowing up the check-in line.
And remember, this was a bombing mission that failed. With failures like this, who needs victories?
Joke, joke, joke. The only good news was that the derision was so universal that the TSA promptly reined in some of their wackier impositions a couple of days later. But by then Janet Incompetano, the homeland-security secretary, had gone on TV and declared to the world that there was nothing to worry about: The system worked.
Indeed, it worked smoothly. The al-Qaeda trainee on a terrorist watch list, a man banned from the United Kingdom and reported to the CIA by his own father, got on board the plane, assembled the bomb, and attempted to detonate it. But dont worry bout a thing; the system worked.
Twenty-four hours later, Secretary Incompetano was back on TV to protest that her words had been taken out of context. No doubt, the al-Qaeda-trained CIA-reported cash-paying crotch-stuffed watch-list members smooth progress through check-in was also taken out of context.
But by then the president of the United States had also taken to the airwaves. For three days, he had remained silent which I believe is a world record for the 44th president. Since Jan. 20, 2009, its been difficult to switch on the TV and not find him yakking accepting an award in Oslo for not being George W. Bush, doing Special Olympics gags with Jay Leno, apologizing for America to some dictator or other . . . But across the electric wires an eerie still had descended. And when the president finally spoke, even making allowances for his usual detached cool, he sounded less like a commander-in-chief addressing the nation after an attempted attack than an assistant DA at a Cook County press conference announcing a drug bust: Heres what we know so far. . . . As the plane made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device. . . . The suspect was immediately subdued. . . . The suspect is now in custody and has been charged. Etc, etc, piling up one desiccated legalism on another: Allegedly . . . suspect . . . charged . . . The president cant tell an allegedly alleged suspect (which is what he is in Obama fantasy-land) from an enemy combatant (which is what he is in cold hard reality). But worse than the complacent cop-show jargonizing was a phrase its hard to read as anything other than a deliberate attempt to mislead the public: The president referred to the Knickerbomber as an isolated extremist. By this time, it was already clear that young Umar had been radicalized by jihadist networks in London and fast-tracked to training in Yemen by terror operatives who understood the potentially high value of a Westernized Muslim with excellent English from a respectable family. Yet President Obama tried to pass him off as some sort of lone misfit who wakes up one morning and goes bananas. Could happen to anyone.
But, if it takes the White House three days to react to an attack on the United States, their rapid-response unit can fire back in nothing flat when Dick Cheney speaks. It is telling, huffed the presidents communications director, Dan Pfeiffer, that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the administration than condemning the attackers.
Condemning the attackers? What happened to all the allegedly alleged stuff? Shouldnt that be condemning the alleged isolated attacker? The communications director seems to be wandering a bit off-message here, whatever the message is: The system worked, so were inconveniencing you even more. The system failed, but the alleged suspect is an isolated extremist, so why wont that cowardly squish Cheney have the guts to condemn the attacker and his vast network of associates?
The real message was conveyed by Fouad Ajami, discussing the new administrations foreign policy in the Wall Street Journal: No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue. True. Another Iranian deadline passed on New Years Eve, but the United States will set a new one for Groundhog Day or whenever.
And, just as the thug states understand they now have the run of the planet, so do the terror cells. A thwarted terror attack at Christmas is bad enough. Spending the following week making yourself a global joke is worse. Every A-list despot and dimestore jihadist got that message loud and clear and so did American allies already feeling semi-abandoned by this most parochial of presidents. Expect a bumpy twelve months ahead. Happy New Year.
Soon, a new agency such as this will be telling your doctor how to care for you (or not).
Barack Hussein Obama, dangerous to our friends, and harmless to our enemies.
GOD, I wish he was wrong! Disgusting and disheartening.
Mark nails it. Again.
We will soon have to report to a compound the day before our flight to have a colonoscopy.
I have an idea. If you are a muzzie, you fly the DC3 with the others.
Great article! Really pisses you off. I’m lucky I don’t need to fly. Just took the train to NY and back to see the “Rocketts”. No hassles. No headaches. Bring all the luggage you want. Excellent way to travel! Took 5 hours from Richmond, Va.
The terrorists have already won.
I just might tip a stein to Steyn on this one. Great article.
I am flying to DC in Feb. for CPAC and after that I am done flying....if I can’t drive I won’t go. Went to Ohio (an 11 hr. drive) over Christmas and flew.....from my house to my destination took 12 hrs. Sheesh
Unfortunately, every word of this article is absolutely true. The great US, the beacon of hope of the world became the laughing stock of the world.
Krauthammer wrote a pretty good article also, from the perspective of our national security (or lack thereof):
A terrorist war Obama has denied
“Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy — jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon — turns laxity into a governing philosophy. “
Hey Mark, it's groundhog day everyday this past year for this administration.
The Obama Administration is schizoid.
They don’t know which side of their brain they’re talking out of. We are in deep doo-doo with this prevaling way of “solving” problems.
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