The Madness of Reactive Politics

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We can imagine the bouts of hilarity convulsing the terrorist circles, for they have not only made fools of American officials and held airline passengers hostage to their maneuvers, but with every lame and cretinous reaction on the part of the TSA they have won another battle in their war against America and the West. The airline industry is suffering, Americans are changing their travel patterns and the economy takes yet another hit. Chalk one up for the terrorists.

Such is the fruit of a psychology of perpetual deferral, of “solving” a problem by moving it to the next level of magnitude, which characterizes the current American rejoinder to every menace it faces, whether abroad or at home. To be reactive rather than proactive guarantees precisely the kind of result which the administration is trying to avoid. Foreign policy requires political discernment and evident decisiveness in confronting the nation’s adversaries, either by foreseeing a looming danger in order to circumvent it or responding in such a manner as to defuse the possibility of its recurrence. Mere rote reaction is a losing proposition and promises nothing except a more intense and complex replication of peril. The same applies on the domestic front. Simply to react like a Maginot general, putting measures in place to meet the previous threat, allows the enemy to concoct ever new and unprecedented means to carry out his purposes unhindered.

The real solution, of course, is to target the enemy rather than to react serially to his endless cascade of methods, procedures and contrivances. The real solution is to touch the enemy’s junket, not the passenger’s junk. The TSA, for example, obviously needs to hire well-trained and dedicated personnel. It must install fail-safe identity pre-screenings, a proper interrogation system similar to that successfully employed by the Israelis, and stringent profiling of the appropriate demographic. There is no other feasible solution to the dilemma. Both the wider civilian population and the terrorists know this. Only an administration seeking to appease not just its avowed assailants but its own radical base apparently does not, or, what is no less disturbing, is frankly unwilling to activate whatever dwindling resources of intelligence and dignity remain to it. From its perspective, it is preferable to be politically correct and dead rather than morally honest and alive—at least as far as its citizens are concerned.

But, regrettably, what we see occurring in airports across the country is only a local simulacrum of the failed policies of an essentially reactive, helpless, possibly disingenuous, and massively incompetent administration, unequipped to deal with the world as it is. By refusing to act with foresight, prudence and conviction, and loath to recognize certain home truths, it has prepared the ground for inevitable catastrophe. This must be said, no matter how indiscreet it may sound: It is not the mullahs or the Taliban or the drug lords or the jihadists who represent the gravest threats America now confronts. It is Obama, his administration and his Party that pose the greatest danger of all to America’s increasingly fragile security.

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  • Shaun

    Ouch! You’ve just given the tedious Freudian shibboleth “anal retentive” new life and a new, more explosive, connotation!

    . . . Whenever students would mention “anal retentive” in some unlikely context I would joke “better anal retentive than anal expulsive!” But now we have to deal with “anal explosive!”

  • donna_marie

    It is scary, isn't it? I understand that these new screeners cannot detect powder explosives on a person and cannot see inside body cavities. Is this correct? If so, then are they any more effective than what was in place before?

  • RiverFred

    Someone high in govt, had an interest in the scanner company. The latest incident with the bomber was a set up to make this company and the U.S. govt. official rich. Google Cal Gruneck and read the details.

  • Merlin

    This is symptomatic of bureaucracy in general and Obamacracy in particular. 1. The problem is not clearly defined. 2. The "solution" is backward looking. 3. Extreme measures (X-Rays & intimate pat downs) are introduced without proper trial, discussion, or approval. 4. Imagined benefits are not weighed against costs (600 million flights x 2hrs per person = 1.2 billion lost human hours, valued at $30 an hour gives us $36 billion annually in flyer costs). 5. Obama wants to unionize all TSA personnel, reducing even further the flexibility of the program, but enhancing his political base. 6. Questions, suggestions, alternatives, and protests are met with casual dismissal, name-calling, and threats of legal action. 7. Neither Obama or the TSA has any idea of where this type of intrusion might end.

  • lovesjeeves

    We would be far safer if our goverment used its expertise to consistently seek dangerous people , rather than inconsistently seek innocuous things among the masses.