Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Next 9/11

The Republican Party is in a tail spin. Polls are beginning to indicate that the public supports a Democratic takeover of Congress. Of course, gerrymandering and the power of incumbency make it unlikely that Democrats will actually win a majority in either chamber. Nevertheless, if the numbers keep trending in the current direction, we could see a political tsunami in November.

So what is a ruthlessly self-interested criminal conspiracy like the GOP to do? Why, set America up for another 9/11 style attack, of course. Opinion polls are only as good as the last crisis headline. So after terrorists blow up a major American port (or just use the lax security to ship in (cue the scary music) WMDs, Karl Rove calculates that the flock of sheep will stampede back into his corral.

Why would a patriotic American like moi make such an accusation? For one thing, the Republicans (both in the White House and in Congress, have actively blocked attempts to make our ports-of-entry more secure against terrorists. Think Progress notes that -- yet again -- the Republicans have voted down funding for enhanced port security. Yet they also increased funding for anti-missile defense spending -- even though terrorists don't have missiles.

The president says we are at war with an enemy determined to destroy our way of life. It would seem that this same president -- who claims an absolute authority (limited by neither law nor the constitution) to "defend" the nation -- would pay at least a little attention to the most-likely avenues of future attack. Yet paying attention to anything other than election strategies is not something this administration is willing to do.

So maybe you're thinking that while our coastal ports have a few security shortcomings, our airports are practically bomb-proof by now, right? Not exactly. Would you believe 0 for 21 in detecting bomb materials during a recent test of security? But then, why should we expect anything other than complete, abject failure from the same Department of Homeland Security that brought us the Katrina disaster?

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