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An Open And Shut Case

Man, I hate it when I hit "publish" on an article, then remember one point I was trying to make. In my discussion of how Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was right in saying that "the system worked" in the case of the Underwear Bomber, I intended to point out how "the system" as practiced by all presidents through Clinton was to fight terrorism as a law enforcement issue -- and that model is a reactive one.

The most significant way in which President Bush changed that paradigm was to change the fight from law enforcement to a military model -- and bring the concept of pro-active action to the fight. No longer would we wait until we had an airtight legal case; issues such as whether the intelligence would stand up in court or had been gathered by purely legal means were irrelevant. Our goal was no longer a conviction, but victory.

That, it seems, has been cast by the wayside. The lawyers have once again taken back the reins of power in Washington, and there simply wasn't enough evidence against the Junk Bomber before he and his Blasting BVDs got on board the plane. So no one said "boo."

Now, there's plenty of evidence to put this gelding away for the rest of his life. So, in the eyes of the lawyers who now run things, it is a solid win. Everything worked as intended.

That "the system" didn't save hundreds of lives is irrelevant. That isn't the purpose of "the system."

At least, it isn't any more.


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Comments (21)

This is one of the big diff... (Below threshold)

This is one of the big differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. Democrats want the American legal system to be in charge of anti-terrorism and Republicans want the American military to take the lead.

Democrats want to prosecute terrorists, Republicans want to kill them.

Maybe the liberal trolls are right. Maybe I'm just not tolerant enough of terrorists. OK, I'm a hater of terrorists; there I said it.

Wow. Feels good to admit the truth.

The assumption, begun wit... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

The assumption, begun with Bush's irrational invasion of Iraq and extended with Obama's escalation in Afghanistan, that terrorism is a military rather than a criminal threat. The terrorists are not rebel fighters rooted, as are the Taliban and the remnants of the Iraq insurgency, in their homeland struggles and subject to being defeated on conventional battlefields. Rather, they are rootless cosmopolitans of violence, alienated from any stated homeland and free to move easily about the world, armed in almost every instance with valid passports, visas and money to exploit our inability to seriously evaluate our own intelligence data. They can count on our top government officials ignoring blinking red warnings, as the Bush White House did before 9/11, or the alarm of a well-connected and properly concerned Nigerian banker-father. Preventing terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland has nothing to do with occupying vast tracts of land or winning the hearts and minds of backward villagers whom we falsely depict as surrogates of an evil empire, as we did in Vietnam and are now doing in Afghanistan. What is needed is smart police work to catch these highly mobile fanatics, and that begins with actually reading and then acting on the readily available intelligence data. It requires detectives with brains and not generals with firepower.

Argue all you want, but the fact remains that the terrorists are from many different countries. They have no standing army to defeat, just a bunch of frantic s that need to be either killed or locked up for ever.

The problem is that left be... (Below threshold)

The problem is that left believes that the possibility of prison is an effective deterrent against people who are not only willing but happy to die for their cause.

January 1st...big football ... (Below threshold)

January 1st...big football day.

Imagine the Coach of the Defense suggesting a strategy in which his defensive players NEVER cross the line of scrimmage, but simply try to stop the opposing team AT the line of scrimmage. No rushing the quarterback, no pursuing running backs in the backfield, no moving into the flats to break up screen passes.

Nothing. Just defending your OWN side of the line.

Welcome to the Obama Game Plan!

JC,Like most libs ... (Below threshold)
jim m:


Like most libs you manage to miss the point completely. The point is that legal system way of dealing with terrorists, the method used pre GW Bush and now post, is utterly incapable of actually dealing with the problem.

We can argue whether using the military is an appropriate alternative (I think that it can be if used properly, but that s a different issue). However, using the legal system to deal with the problem is in reality choosing to not deal with the problem at all and merely settle on a solution for cleaning up after the fact.

Ask any cop or any attorney and they will tell you that there is virtually nothing that can be done until after the crime is committed. People do not want to wait until captain underpants tries to blow the plane up. They want to stop him before that.

If we could go overseas and stop there plotting maybe that would work, but news flash, law enforcement have no jurisdiction overseas and therefore our laws are not enforceable on many activities done abroad.

That was the point of using the military. These idiots are beyond the reach of law enforcement. They have actually declared war against us. We need a modern day Eliot Ness to bend the rules, break down the doors, bust up their operation and break some heads to stop them from continuing their terrorism. Law enforcement can't do that. Instead today we have Dr Feel Good trying to sooth the bruised self esteem of these madmen.

Perhaps there is another way to take the fight to the enemy, but I don't hear the left proposing any. All I hear is the same tired blame Boosh! BS.

Here's another news flash for you: You gloss over the fact that al Quiada was operating long before GW was elected. Your post makes it sound like 9/11 was only thought of after his inauguration. There is a long istory of our failed law enforcement approach to dealing with these idiots. Law enforcement and appeasement goes all the way back to Jimmy Carter. It didn't work for anyone. Bush was the first to actually try to do something about it.

So go ahead. let's hear a new plan to deal with this problem. Just don't give me the same tired crap that hasn't worked since 1979.

Here's you law enforcement ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Here's you law enforcement approach in action:

How's that working for you?

A rocket launcher capable of taking out a plane is found in Houston along with jihadist writings from the person who's rocket launcher it apparently was. No charges are filed. Nothing to see here. No terrorist threat. Move along...

All that happens is that the jihadi gets charged with trespassing because the woman doesn't want him storing his explosive devices in her apartment any more. WTF!

So the only reasonable conclusion to draw from this is that the law enforcement option is simply an excuse for doing nothing and pretending that terrorists exist only in the same category as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It's an excuse for ignoring it and just hoping it will go away.

Is THAT what was meant by Hope and Change?

Sure looks like it.

Jim M -FYI the AT-... (Below threshold)

Jim M -

FYI the AT-4 is a single-shot munition. Once it's fired, the launcher is discarded. It's dead. It's pushing up the daisies. It has joined the choir eternal. It is an ex-munition. (To use a Monty Python phrase.)

No amount of shaking the thing will ever get it to fire again. You can't reload them, either.

There was no missile inside the launcher - so it's about as dangerous as so much PVC piping.

The guys from the bomb squad probably took one look down the tube, turned around and left.

Try putting a spent cartridge in a rifle and pulling the trigger. No bang, right? Well, that's what you'd get if you pointed one of these at a plane and pulled the trigger.

However, dealing with terrorism as a legal issue IS significally stupid. Imagine if we'd really had enough info to stop 9/11. If we'd had dates, and flight numbers and names.

If we'd arrested the hijackers, the left would have been howling bloody murder. "How dare you arrest innocent people! They committed no crime! How can you prove they were going to do what you said they would? No hijackers have EVER flown their planes into buildings!"

But to the lawyers infesting Washington - everything looks solvable by just crafting the right words.

JC, So this Nigeri... (Below threshold)


So this Nigerian was a freedom fighter fighting the American occupation of Nigeria by blowing up a bunch of dutch and Nigerians? Or was he fighting our illegal occupation of Yemen? Now that he has been caught I am sure he is giving loads of intel after he his lawyer has advised him. The world did not begin with GW, you need to grow up.

"The system worked". Trans... (Below threshold)

"The system worked". Translation: 'We've created several new jobs for lawyers'.

JLawson,My mistake... (Below threshold)
jim m:


My mistake, I did know that it was a single shot but assumed it was unspent.

Not one word on the heart o... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Not one word on the heart of the problem.
Militant fundamentalist Islam.
Not Buddism, Christianity, Atheism, Judiasm, Animism, etc etc etc.
Militant Islam. How do we address that?

Ref. #5. President Clinton:... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Ref. #5. President Clinton:
-- sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 911) The legislation was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the airlines.
-- Sent legislation to Congress to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF TERRORIST FUNDING. It was defeated by Republicans in the Senate because of opposition from banking interests.

-- Sent legislation to Congress to add tagents to explosives, to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF EXPLOSIVES USED BY TERRORISTS. It was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the NRA.

When Republicans couldn't prevent executive action, President Clinton:

-- Developed the nation's first anti-terrorism policy, and appointed first national coordinator.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners simultaneously.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up UN Headquarters.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up FBI Headquarters.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

--Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Boston airport.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in NY.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the George Washington Bridge.

-- Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the US Embassy in Albania.

-- Tried to kill Osama bin Laden and disrupt Al Qaeda through preemptive strikes (efforts denounced by the G.O.P.).
Brought perpetrators of first World Trade Center bombing and CIA killings to justice.

-- Did not blame Bush I administration for first World Trade Center bombing even though it occurred 38 days after they had left office. Instead, worked hard, even obsessively -- and successfully -- to stop future terrorist attacks.

-- Named the Hart-Rudman commission to report on nature of terrorist threats and major steps to be taken to combat terrorism.
Here, in stark contrast, is part of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism record before September 11, 2001:

-- Backed off Clinton administration's anti-terrorism efforts.

-- Shelved the Hart-Rudman report.

-- Appointed new anti-terrorism task force under Dick Cheney. Group did not even meet before 9/11.

-- Called for cuts in anti-terrorism efforts by the Department of Defense.
-- Gave no priority to anti-terrorism efforts by Justice Department.

Both parties have screwed up, but military force alone will not stop it, it needs both force and prosecution, and that may not even stop it.

Pointing fingers at one party or the other isn't helping the matter, or solving a darn thing. And I'm not a lib, I vote for the individual, not a party ideology.

As far as the AT-4 is conce... (Below threshold)

As far as the AT-4 is concerned.

I suppose there is absolutely no educational benefit to examining and practicing with an empty spent device to prepare oneself for use of an armed one. Right? So there is no way it could possibly have been useful to a terrorist who thought at some point they might get their hands on a live one one day. Right?

But maybe this Stu Pidossole or whatever his name was supposed to be didn't know that.

Or maybe its the other way around.

What say ye oh armament experts?

For the record, it should b... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

For the record, it should be noted that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld sited in the nearly identical "open and shut case" of Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber", eight years earlier, three and half months after 9/11 that, "That's a matter, that's in the hands of the law enforcement people and not the Department of Defense".

So the Federal Justice Department, in December 2003, eventually convicted Reid, an admitted Al Queda follower, in a federal open civilian court in Boston, on terrorist charges.

I suppose their own actions, in late 2001-3 wouldn't be good or bad enough now, for Cheney or Tom Ridge. Once they are out of office, they can safely ignore what they, the Bush administration, did in virtually the same circumstances... or what are these paradigm differences?

JC Hammer[head] "Presi... (Below threshold)

JC Hammer[head] "President Clinton: sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 911) The legislation was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the airlines."

Sen. Dodd, D-Conn., slashed aviation security funding [4.5 million dollars] for pet constituency

And BTW a search of the exact wording of your entire comment above instructs you pulled word for word [result No. 4] from the DUmmies.

Nice company you keep. Well, if you like assholes and dimwits.

Marc (asshead), following y... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Marc (asshead), following your line of thought, you must spend a lot of time listening to Fox News, Rush, Cheney, etc. Why do you refuse to look at the GOP voting record?

You argue against the Demo's programs, but you seem happy with wealth care for the top 1%. But like I said before, your drivel makes good reading, just not much truth in it.

In fact, you can't mention that both parties have screwed up national security, and the record shows that both have. So quit crying, and come up with a working solution. Or is that too hard for you to do?

I freely admit I don't have a solution, but I don't complain about it, just reply to some posters that like to stretch the truth to keep their base excited. So come on, tell us your solution. Both parties have failed, so what can be done?

Epador -It'd be ab... (Below threshold)

Epador -

It'd be about on the order of a kid taking a piece of PVC piping and using it as a practice 'gun'. There's a great difference between the two, I think you'd agree. If Stu Pidossole was able get his hands on the real thing, he'd have jused it. As it is, he may be a jihadi wanna-be, but that's all he'll amount to.

"Not one word on the heart ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"Not one word on the heart of the problem.
Militant fundamentalist Islam."

So....... still not one word?

From anyone?

jc hammer[head] "You ... (Below threshold)

jc hammer[head] "You argue against the Demo's programs, but you seem happy with wealth care for the top 1%. But like I said before, your drivel makes good reading, just not much truth in it."

Then you don't know me, which makes that ignorant statement easy, very easy for you to regurgitate.

"I freely admit I don't have a solution, but I don't complain about it, just reply to some posters that like to stretch the truth to keep their base excited. So come on, tell us your solution. Both parties have failed, so what can be done?"

And I like to reply to WizBangs new, and presumably improved, Head of the Cut and Paste Dept jc hammer[head].

Obviously as evidenced by a rip off [how low can you get] of a complete post found at the dem underground you haven't a single original thought to add to this thread.

My solution... easy:

Immediate firing of each and every congress critter.

Limit terms to one, 6 years senator, 4 years for reps.

Pay scale to be cut to 25 percent above America's median wage. Raises pegged to the inflation. Their health care must be whatever shit storm the current assholes pass.

Both houses of congress meet no more than 9 months per year. If a 9 month work year is good enough for teachers at all levels it's good enough for pols.

ALL campaign contributions must be from individuals or companies that reside in the State the congressman/woman or senator will represent. No NY campaign fund raising in Hollyweird for example.

Now... scurry your ass around some site, steal an answer, and come back with a response.

'Til than FOAD.

Marc(asshead), tsk,tsk. You... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Marc(asshead), tsk,tsk. You FOAD. I don't scurry around different sites like you do. However, I am all for your solution. I've been saying for a long time that both parties are crooks. But it seems like it took you awhile to realize it.

jc hammer[head] "tsk,t... (Below threshold)

jc hammer[head] "tsk,tsk. You FOAD. I don't scurry around different sites like you do."

You're all into baseless unsubstantiated charges against other here aren't you.

We already know YOU visit at least one site to cut a paste vice think for yourself, one infested with the worst of the worst on the net BTW.

But I sure would love to see your proof I do the same in any capacity.

Got something? Anything? What other sites do I visit asshole?






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