Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Politicizing National Security

In the after-math of an attempted terrorism attack on a a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, the Republicans are lining up to slam the Obama Administration on its soft stand on terror.
Republicans Pete Hoekstra, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Peter King of New York joined Sen Jim DeMint of South Carolina to lay some blame on the Obama administration.

The attack should remind everyone “that soft talk about engagement, closing Gitmo, these things are not going to appease the terrorists,” DeMint said on “Fox News Sunday.” “They’re going to keep coming after us, and we can’t have politics as usual in Washington, and I’m afraid that’s what we’ve got right now with airport security.”
Wouldn't these Republican Congressmen also be critical of the the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration? Probably they would, if there was an administrator to hold accountable. But that position remains vacant because of Sen. Jim DeMint.

Obama nominated Erroll Southers — a former FBI special agent, the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence, and the associate director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events — to run TSA in September. Southers’ nomination was approved by two Senate committees, but Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has placed a hold on Southers “in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union."

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

Thom Hartmann asks if there is really a choice between terrorists and unions?
The TSA – which keeps us safe from airplane bombers – is without a director. Why would one of our most vital security agencies be headless?

Well, it’s actually quite simple.

President Obama nominated a very highly qualified candidate, former FBI special agent Erroll Southers, but Southers has expressed his support for federal employees being able to be members of unions – which most are.

Senator Jim DeMint, the Republican from South Carolina who’s also a member of the notorious Washington DC Christian Taliban cult “The Family,” thinks that having our baggage screeners have better pay and working conditions is a bad thing, so he put a hold on Southers nomination, effectively blocking it in the Senate.

Jim DeMint is more concerned with destroying unions and good wages for working people than he is with whether or not your next flight is blown out of the air.

You may want to consider calling his office and letting him know what you think of that, after you write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and tell everybody you know what an enemy of the American working class multimillionaire DeMint is.
Do Republicans really want to politicize national security?

Steve Benen notes that a "variety of congressional Republicans seem awfully anxious to play partisan games with the terrorist threat, and exploit the Abdulmutallab plot for electoral gain."

However, if the Republicans want to "turn the attempted terrorist attack into a partisan fight" then the Democrats should "welcome the opportunity."

There is, for example, the fact that the nominated head of the TSA can't get confirmed because of Republican obstructionism. Then there's the fact that congressional Republicans also opposed funding for the TSA, including money for screening operations and explosives detection systems.

And then there's this unpleasant tidbit.

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. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

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.

As Ron Chusid put it, "Just imagine the Republican response if Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had released prisoners to enter an 'art therapy rehabilitation program.' This sounds almost as silly as an American president sitting and reading a children's book while the country is under attack."

Yes, just imagine....

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