Systemic Failure

From a NYTimes editorial:

[. . .] Either the National Counterterrorism Center didn’t get all of the information it was supposed to get — or it utterly failed to do its job, which is to correlate data so any pattern emerges. No doubt sorting through heaps of information and determining what is urgent or even worthy of follow-up is daunting. Still, it is incredible, and frightening, that the government cannot do at least as good a job at swiftly updating and correlating information as Google. Long before Mr. Abdulmutallab was allowed to board that flight to Detroit, some analyst should have punched “Nigerian, Abdulmutallab, Yemen, visa, plot” into the system. We are still waiting to find out whether Britain told Washington that it had revoked the suspect’s visa. Shouldn’t that have been on file?

We will reserve judgment about whether anyone should be fired for what President Obama has rightly called a “systemic failure.” [. . .] The United States cannot be enclosed in an impermeable bubble. But Mr. Abdulmutallab never should have been allowed to board that plane.

Can someone explain to me why this is wrong?

Speaking for me only

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    It's only wrong in reserving judgment (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by oldpro on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:03:23 PM EST
    on whether someone should be fired.

    Of course someone should be fired...perhaps several someones.  We just don't know who yet.

    And if I were the president, I'd be looking for a replacement for Janet.  How the Hell did she get this far in politics with such pathetic antennae?  Doesn't she have a PIO?  A politically-savvy staff?  Her performance made her look dumber than a box of rocks...the opposite of her attempt at reassuring the public.

    Janet (none / 0) (#46)
    by Upstart Crow on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:03:31 PM EST
    I think it's naive to think her comments and p.o.v. were not carefully scripted beforehand.

    Heh. Even worse, then! If that (none / 0) (#58)
    by oldpro on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 04:24:40 PM EST
    was a script, imagine the competence of the scriptwriter and director!

    You understand, I was giving her the benefit of the doubt...but...oh, well...


    She was the victim of a clipped soundbite (none / 0) (#55)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 04:05:06 PM EST
    you might as well argue how a careless liar like Al Gore ended up as VP (see: invented the internet which he never claimed but was pegged as claiming due to a grossly mischarectirized turn of phrase)-- People don't speak like they expect there words to be cut entirely from context and when they do they sound horrible.

    It was on a Sunday talk show (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 06:52:53 PM EST
    and not taken out of context, not clipped, from what I saw.  Perhaps you missed the show and saw a clip -- and then also saw a longer clip?  If not, how do you know that the clip took her out of context?  More info needed.

    On a related tangent, just imagine if all (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by steviez314 on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:48:18 PM EST
    the Wall Street quants, instead of being lured by insane bonuses to develop trading algorithms and systems that serve no useful ends, had instead been building the computer algorithms for national security.

    No economic crash and maybe a few more terrorists caught.

    Come to think of it (2.00 / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:21:36 PM EST
    those trading algorithms led to massive failures...

    At the end of the day this was a people failure.


    On the other hand ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:47:11 PM EST
    ... if they'd done the same bang-up job on national security that they did on CDOs and CDSs, New York or London might be a smoking nuclear crater right now.

    I've got a better idea - send them all to China.  Let them wreck someone else's economy.


    Not a bad thought (none / 0) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 05:08:46 PM EST
    but who would lend Obama money?

    The group think of innocent until proven (2.00 / 0) (#11)
    by hairspray on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:44:54 AM EST
    guilty seems to be operating here.  The hurdle of proving a dangerous person with potential is different than the after the fact of a crime.  We seem to feel that everyone who wants to come here should have that right.  Since 9/11 the attitude is changing but I think it still affects much policy.  In this statement:
    "Most Americans do not believe that a foreign national who tries to kill 300 people in a terrorist attack deserves any legal protections because a foreign national who tries to kill 300 people does not deserve the same protections simple criminals enjoy"  is at odds with policy.So too is a foreign national's access to this country.

    You conflate two different points (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:49:53 AM EST
    One can be believe that all persons in the US deserve the same rights while at the same time noting that the concerns BROUGHT to the US against the alleged Nigerian terrorist merited some action - either placing on the no entry list or more stringent security inspections.

    It is disappointing to me that these two thoughts can not be understood by either groups, on the Left or Right.


    Double standard? (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:25:37 PM EST
    One can be believe that all persons in the US deserve the same rights

    Then I assume that you will agree that citizens of NB not having to may for health care is unconstitutional?

    And no, I don't want a discussion of healthcare, just an answer as to why the security issue is any different.


    The citizens of the rest of the US (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:39:57 PM EST
    are duly represented in the Congress of the United States.

    The citizens of Nebraska were not unfairly advantaged in ways the Constitution did not foresee.

    The Senate's representation structure, which inherently violates the EPC, was what the Founders designed.

    The Founders further provided that each house of congress would establish their own rules of operation, thus the filibuster is Constitutional.

    Your argument is rejected.


    You kid your friends and I will kid (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:10:10 PM EST
    mine but you'll never convince Joe Six Pack (and me) that NB citizens are not being treated better than them and that equality is supposed to be what this country is about.

    I can see the campaign ads now........


    and I should have spec'd "the same (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:27:34 PM EST
    as all other citizens."

    By this same (none / 0) (#56)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 04:08:51 PM EST
    measure I could argue for the complete elimination of Farm Subsidies and be similarily wrong.

    Danger (5.00 / 0) (#79)
    by koolwoman on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:57:54 PM EST
    We must follow the course of due process, and make sure everyone gets a fair trial, or else we are in danger of becoming the savages that we are fighting., and no more torture, unless you want them to torture our people.

    They already torture our people (none / 0) (#91)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 03:05:54 PM EST
    They are not conflicted at all in doing that.  Doesn't mean I want to join them though.  And the only hope we have of MAYBE someday they will decide to not torture our people is if we don't torture them.

    No, and I can't tell you that it's right either (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:44:17 AM EST

    If you mean (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:04:25 AM EST
    we should await the investigation, fair enough.

    I think if the reporting is correct, then the statement seems right to me. you disagree?

    You do not believe that the system should have prevented his boarding the plane?

    That means to me that basically you are arguing for eliminating security on airplanes - short of, possibly, taking bombs away from people yelling "I got a bomb!"


    Well, that depends on what you mean (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:32:00 AM EST
    by "should." Would I like the system to have caught this guy? Very much so. Do I think it was designed to stop him from doing exactly what he did? I have absolutely no idea. Nor do I know whether that's even possible, or what the cost (for however you want to define cost) would be.

    I don't think we should have "no security," but I have serious questions about whether many of the measures we take actually amount to security. FWIW, Amtrak has essentially no security, even in the aftermath of the Madrid and London bombings. Does that mean it's less save than flying? What about driving on I-95?


    What it probably means is that (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:38:44 AM EST
    we've heard no chatter about attacking Amtrak yet :)

    If it was not designed to do that (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:39:03 AM EST
    then what kind of system and for what purpose do you have it?

    I don't know (none / 0) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:54:46 AM EST
    What would you like to see? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:01:03 AM EST
    My selfishly honest answer: (none / 0) (#18)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:31:21 AM EST
    fewer restrictions on what you can take on board and more restrictions on who can come on board. I don't think that's a possible or fair system, though, so I'd settle for better intelligence and less security theater.

    No point in better intelligence (none / 0) (#20)
    by nycstray on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:41:09 AM EST
    if they aren't going to do anything with it.

    Because they screwed up, we have to give up more/have more restrictions applied to us. And there are restrictions as to who can come on board. They screwed up though and this guy got on, so now we can't have anything on our laps and will end up getting full body scans. Idiots.


    Israli security (none / 0) (#80)
    by koolwoman on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:13:11 PM EST
    I read somewhere that Israel requires all passengers to register and provide info on themselves, before they can fly Israeli Airlines. I do not approve of Israels treatment of the people in Gaza, but this idea of pre=registering in advance appeals to me. A safe list could be maintained for frequent fliers (after being fully checked out) and some leeway for unexpected and urgent flights, but most people can plan ahead for a trip and I think this is a good idea.

    Before we understand fully what our (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:54:30 AM EST
    failures were, we don't already start excusing ourselves from responsibility.....or do we?

    Before we understand fully what our (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:54:46 AM EST
    failures were, we don't already start excusing ourselves from responsibility.....or do we?

    No profanity (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:21:40 AM EST
    Though I also think that you are actually saying the editorial is right.

    The editorial (none / 0) (#10)
    by kidneystones on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:43:48 AM EST
    absents the administration of any pro-active role in building good inter-agency and international communication.

    Every single person who boards a plane is compelled to line up, remove shoes, belts etc. Be searched, pick up all the stuff, re-pack.

    I travel a lot and I don't need to tell anyone a/that it's a first-class pain in the neck; and b/ I'm pleased to do whatever it takes to make sure the planes are safe.

    "Nobody told us doesn't cut it", given the stakes and given the degree of inconvenience and delay we're all subjected to every single time we fly.

    This administration does not see the WOT as a war. The attitude consistently seems to be: we wouldn't have any of these problems were it not for Bush. That's followed by a sigh. The bomber's father ratted him out and we still missed him.

    This administration has pointedly avoided using the term 'war' to describe the systematic attacks we face. The Ft. Hood shooting, the failed murder of 300 on Christmas Day, and the bombing of 80 Pakistanis yesterday are all part of the same war.

    There's zip in the NYT about the fundamental confusion and cowardice of this administration.
    We're witnessing something worse than the Carter presidency. It's that bad.


    I disagree with much of this comment (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:51:02 AM EST
    but the part I really disagree with is "the nobody told them" part. somebody DID tell them.

    That's why (none / 0) (#17)
    by kidneystones on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:09:04 AM EST
    the editorial is pure pap:

    Either the National Counterterrorism Center didn't get all of the information it was supposed to get

    The NYT is a cheer-leader for the administration. You've already endorsed the President Magic Wand's  'we'll have the Taliban cleaned-up and the Afghan army propped-up with less than half the number of troops McChrystal asked for and still by out in time for 2012" boondoggle. I remember the NYT and other Dems giving Obama credit for 'closing Gitmo' 11 months ago. Let's not even go near the one combat brigade out Iraq bs.

    You're a smart, sincere Dem supporter. Your 'inside baseball' cynicism that excuses campaign promises as pure rhetoric (they all disappoint) ignores the fact that regular voters and US allies base decisions on what they think the administration is saying.

    'Heck of a job, Janet' is now claiming her 'the system worked' remarks actually apply to what happened after the failed attack. She's patently wrong on both counts and everybody with two eyes can see that.

    44% of Americans already miss Bush. Think on that for a moment, why don't you. What did the Dems have to do to create that kind of nostalgia?

    Better than one half of Americans want the FBI to take the yellow pages into the cell with the apprehended terrorist and this administration won't even let him be interviewed without his attorney present.

    Is any part of this sinking in?


    As gtrumpy I was with you on another (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:09:20 PM EST
    thread let me say that you are 500% correct in this matter.

    GOP talking points alert! (none / 0) (#31)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:27:36 PM EST
    GOP talking points alert! (none / 0) (#71)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:10:20 PM EST
    Temporary Obedience? (none / 0) (#72)
    by kidneystones on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 08:31:11 PM EST
    As in 'I'm willing to stand in line in an orderly manner so that I can blow the infidels out of the sky'?

    Interesting analogy, of course, in terms of timing. Didn't stop the US from invading the Barbary States to deter the kidnapping of US citizens and end interference with US commerce, did it?

    Acts of war committed by foreign nationals working for a religious cause are military, not criminal in nature, and need to be treated as such.


    It's incumbent (none / 0) (#75)
    by kidneystones on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:21:45 PM EST
    of me to mention (again) I'm a UK/Canadian citizen and that I live in Japan. All three countries are far more authoritarian in many respects than the US, particularly when it comes to what we call War Measures.

    I opposed both Iraq wars and continue, with reservations, to support US/allied actions in Afghanistan. I served, briefly, and see citizen/soldiery as a normal part of any free society.

    I'm also an immense fan of the US. I have no time for those who blow-up civilian passenger planes, where those planes are flying to Cuba or the US.

    We're the good gals, to put it terms sure to annoy those who see women as inferior creatures, and the sooner we remember that and start acting accordingly the better.



    reactive, not proactive (none / 0) (#16)
    by rise hillary rise on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:01:55 AM EST
    they are essentially trying to "prevent" the last so-called threat from happening again. hence the ban on bottled water, shampoo and toothpaste. now the naked body scans and stupid rules like no reading for the last hour.

    simply put, the TSA is a charade designed to create the ILLUSION of security whilst offering essentially nothing. the NCTC, more or less the same. just another layer of bureaucrats.

    Senator Dement doesn't want TSA employees to be allowed to join a union, so we will be stuck with a subpar, minimum wage based pool of applicants.

    the chief of Delta said it right yesterday- we deserve better results for all the money we have thrown at this problem.

    I don't yet see much discussion of the idea that PETN could have been planted on the aircraft by a ground employee-cleaning/maint crew, perhaps? stashed it in the toilet in Amsterdam? then the guy goes in there an hour before landing and sets it up.

    Israeli system (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Upstart Crow on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:37:19 AM EST
    There is some interesting stuff on the 'net right now about the Israeli system of "finding out what's in their heads, not in their bags."  

    I've been through Israeli security as someone who didn't answer the questions right, and it's a pretty intense experience.  

    A guy like the nutbag bomber -- who didn't even bring a coat to travel to a city that is colder than Moscow -- would never have gotten through.

    The questions are invasive -- but then, so is a full body scan. I prefer the questions.


    If it had been stashed beforehand (none / 0) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:31:07 PM EST
    he'd have had no need to stuff it in his crotch before setting it off, unless he's way sicker than we even think he is.

    Estimate how many people (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:44:37 AM EST
    with Nigerian passports  enter the U.S. on international flights on any given day.  add valid U.S. visa.  

    Estimate how many have their (none / 0) (#22)
    by nycstray on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:46:56 AM EST
    fathers go to the embassy and CIA and say they are in Yemen with radicals before they fly in  ;)

    Add info known to U.S. that aQ (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:54:59 AM EST
    in Arabia is planning to use a Nigerian in a plot against U.S.

    The difficulty level (none / 0) (#24)
    by nycstray on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 10:57:43 AM EST
    really makes my head spin . . . .

    Not just Arabia (none / 0) (#37)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:58:14 PM EST
    but specifically Yemen

    KISS - it's lots easier than elec medical records (none / 0) (#25)
    by exlibris on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 11:23:23 AM EST
    For me it's an "of course the editorial is right." The technological route to prevent boarding is easy and reasonable to assume in place. If all bits of information are entered, no need to analyze. Every boarding should trigger the listing of "all of the dots" - no one needs to put any of these dots "together", just list them. Poof, you have the right info at the right time and place.

    Either not all data is entered, or the data is not aggregated, or not aggregated correctly, or in the right place, or available to the right users, but the solution is not complex and is no more difficult to fix than a Pizza ordering system on the internet.

    No false choice between liberty and safety or even delay and comfort sacrificed. Those are distractions. Just do it and set up the same level of data security and enforcement as we have in the average banking systems.

    Forget about the needle-in-the-haystack excuse about putting all of the dots together. It's not required. This event, as well as the shoe bomber, should have been stopped at the the purchase of the ticket or at the lastest before boarding.

    Get Amex or Walmart or Dominoes to fix the systems and tune the processes. Create broad access to enter data and strict targeted delivery of the data.  

    And then, as I ought to have added (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:15:03 PM EST
    -- after all the points are added, the human component enters in to determine whether the flagging of, say, an F or a D is fully warranted.  Review the input for any missed nuances that would warrant adjusting the output:  Does the student go on to the next course?  Aka does the passenger go on to the airplane, to the next destination, etc.?

    Grad students, TAs, can be taught such a system in minutes to handle hundreds of students, with each student's record involving dozens of inputs (attendance, assignments, etc.).  And they can be taught the importance of the human intervention throughout and again at the end to determine if the system has fully assessed each record.  It's done every day now for millions of students (as these are now common in K12, too) -- all of whom get to see their grade record as it evolves day by day, get to message teachers if there is an error, get to appeal throughout and/or the end result, etc. -- as we air travelers do not. . . .


    Your second paragraph (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:21:40 PM EST
    states it well - Garbage In Garbage Out - GIGO. In this case it also was no input. In the examples you site the lack of input (password) blocks the action. It wouldn't do that here.

    Bottom line. The only system that would come close to 100% is profiling up front. Concentrating the largest amount of the available resources is simple triage, something known for the past few thousand years or so.


    I could do that for you (none / 0) (#47)
    by Cream City on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:07:37 PM EST
    in a couple of minutes, as you have described the online course tool used for grading in academe by a basic point system.  Points for this component of the course -- or not.  Points for that component -- or not.  Then, if it would make it easier for the airport security staff, a basic formula translates points into letter grades. . . .

    So all the gummint needs to do is buy and adapt basic Blackboard or Desire2Learn systems.  But watch it develop its own, the same thing, at a cost of trillions.


    So, forget the war on terror... (none / 0) (#26)
    by robert72 on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 11:42:40 AM EST
    finding and stopping the terrorists should become a joint police/government action with a single data base to which all of these agencies feed information. 'War' implies weapons and the military. What we need are good detectives and a google (and sensible people).

    Good luck with that (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:46:51 PM EST
    Turf wars continue.  This President does not like to put his foot down.

    What ever happened to (none / 0) (#39)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:04:13 PM EST
    system I believe both Madeleine Albright & Richard Clarke described in operation under Prez Clinton when all those involved in activities related to national security would meet weekly (or daily?) in the a.m. and the Prez would shake them down for information, and that way info was coordinated that otherwise, in isolation, may have seemed of less than red alert importance?  

    In addition, does anyone know if the Arab translators fired by Bush admin allegedly because they were gay have been replaced and whether we have enough people who are qualified so we get timely translations?

    And, what about the "info" I've seen that there is such an overabundance of info for national security types to sift through because of all the indiscriminate wiretapping that getting to info crucial to national security has been made difficult to achieve expeditiously?


    Because Obama doesn't believe (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 02:15:48 PM EST
    that we are in a war.

    He believes in a criminal justice approach in which the police act after people are dead and the deterrence is supposed to be in the perp not wanting to get caught so they don't do the crime.

    Of course that doesn't take into consideration that in this case the perp is committing suicide so fear of being caught is no on his list of worries.


    Standard wingnut, talk radio (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 04:39:19 PM EST

    These folks know how to stay on the same page at all times, you've gotta give 'em that.

    He only believes in a criminal justice approach because these liberals only want to weaken this great nation of ours. Yadda, yadda.

    What do you think we should do, Jim: subject every predominantly muslim country to saturation bombing?

    Lets hear the plan.


    You are one (none / 0) (#62)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 05:07:37 PM EST

    You can fully support our criminal justice system without thinking that every captured terrorist should be read Miranda.

    As to your ridiculous question, what would you do?
    Buy a prayer rug and surrender?


    I understand (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by jondee on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 05:41:33 PM EST
    Miss Rove has a nice spot in the islands, maybe I'll ask her if she needs a house sitter till all this blows over.

    This is a war (none / 0) (#57)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 04:11:32 PM EST
    in the same way the "War on Drugs" or the "War on Poverty" are wars- you can't fight an actual war against an activity.

    Unfortunately the terrorists (none / 0) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 05:03:53 PM EST
    don't understand that fine philosophical point. They still think they should be attacking and killing the enemy they are at war with.

    Scared witless of looking 'bad' (none / 0) (#68)
    by kidneystones on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 06:54:18 PM EST
    You know you've hit the nail on the head when the best response is 'standard wing-nut boilerplate'.

    Rather than start screening passengers from 'certain countries' far more aggressively, this administration appears to be ready to invade Yemen.

    WTF? This administration does not want to fight any wars, even those wars it deems 'necessary'. For Janet and company, combating AQ and the Taliban is like 'doing the dishes' or 'sweeping the yard', an an unpalatable task forced upon them.

    These people can't say no to anyone but America's allies. It's a mess of immense proportions. With this poll-driven WH now under attack expect any imbecility. For them, it's all about appearances.

    Bush was willing to send more US troops to Iraq in the teeth of intense opposition from just about everybody.

    Few followed Bush, so we can't call Bush any kind of 'leader'. Obama, however, is showing he's equally unable to convince folks to support US policies, particularly in the ME and Central Asia.

    HRC is going to wear her war bonnet to the Brown conference. That might buy some temporary cred. But nobody outside the US is going to be fooled.


    Hillary (none / 0) (#36)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 12:51:54 PM EST
    claims that the special envoys were her idea because there were too many hot spots around the world in Jan 2009 for her to be able to travel to them on a timely basis.  The pick of Holbrooke seems to bear this out, as he was not included in any advisory team for Obama, and, I believe, has been a long-term friend of the Clintons.

    Agree. And who better than (none / 0) (#41)
    by oldpro on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:19:22 PM EST
    Holbrooke and Mitchell whom she could trust?  It was a brilliant suggestion and a brave one, exemplary of why the 'primary wars' re the significance of experience mattered on a substantive level.  Simply put, after 8 years in the WH and ??? years in the Senate, HRC knew who to trust...who 'did their job and who didn't.'

    Obama...not so much...so he has to trust his electoral team and whoever they tell him to trust.



    Hilary evidently (none / 0) (#86)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 01:10:14 PM EST
    negotiated for the special envoys when talking to Obama about whether she would accept SoS.  Smart lady -- knew what she needed to do the potential job well, and she is all about doing well & thoroughly whatever she does.  

    Well, Secretary Napolitano's (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:16:22 PM EST
    singular obtuseness may have been her willingness to be the spokesperson for the administration's honed crisis response.  Ms. Napolitano's maladroit  assessment of the situation seemed well coordinated with that of Gibbs.

    Well there's a discouraging thought. (none / 0) (#42)
    by oldpro on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:24:48 PM EST
    Gotta admit (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:28:50 PM EST
    The reaction to this crisis and actually appearing serious about repairing what is accountable sort of does match this administrations response on the financial crisis and the healthcare crisis.

    If this was their honed response (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 01:25:46 PM EST
    It was a very very badly honed one.

    yes, but quickly supplanted by (none / 0) (#54)
    by KeysDan on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 03:11:34 PM EST
    the "Bush-honed", tried and true al Qaeda explanation--more troops to Yemen should do the trick.

    To be fair (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 06:21:27 PM EST
    I don't think that this is a response to the failed bomber.  We were underway in Yemen and it had been identified as a large danger before that happened.  It did seal the deal though I suppose.

    Yemen (none / 0) (#74)
    by koolwoman on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:09:20 PM EST
    Surely we are not planning to send troops to Yemen, even to train their forces. We might be training terrorists, because no one can tell who is a terrorist, and then they turn their guns on our own soldiers. How could the CIA allow anyone into their private quarters, no matter how long he's been hanging around. I see no end to this mess, except to bring our soldiers and our money home. To continue these wars is madness. How is it possible for a parent to go to a US embassey to report his son as an extremist, and this message not get passed on to all agencies. Who took the message? Who decided it wasn't important enough to pass on? Someone needs to be fired at the point of origin,  not Secretary Janet N.

    Further comment on Yemen (none / 0) (#76)
    by koolwoman on Sat Jan 02, 2010 at 09:33:08 PM EST
    Osama told us that if we would get out of muslim countries, they would leave us alone. Why don't we try that,since nothing else has worked. People,   we will never be able to recover from this deficit, and take care of our own people , if we keep spending the money on wars. Let us not be led down that road again. No one profits except the munitions manufacturers and those who support them. Billions are being wasted and stolen by these contract companies like Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater, all friends of Dick Cheney. Those being sent into these unwinnable wars are mostly minorities and others on a low economic scale., very few sons and daughters of congress or the wealthy. The soldiers were described by Rumsfield, Cheney and others as "Boots on the ground" not as soldiers. We must stop this.  We are spending the USA into oblivian.  We cannot occupy every country that has terrorists.  We need health care, jobs, and to restore infrastructure. We cannot keep spending money on destruction, we must rebuild.

    Yes. I agree...but do not assume (none / 0) (#84)
    by oldpro on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 12:24:53 AM EST
    that it is an either/or proposition.  We, now in our 70s and up, learned that lesson when we forced LBJ out of office.  Look what we got instead.  We ended the war, finally, but Nixon, Watergate, Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Bush I and II...with only a minor miracle of sanity with Bill Clinton who was NOT supported by the progressives, the liberals or even the Democrats.

    Now, here we are again.  We did out best but it wasn't good enough and now it's 'your turn' to save the nation, if not the world.  Not many arrows in your quiver, America...not much intellect and not much talent but plenty of greed and corruption to spare.

    BTD is right...we have a mediocre administration with mediocre leadership.  Hardly a fighting Dem in sight.  Good luck with that.


    No, that is not correct. (none / 0) (#88)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 01:19:29 PM EST
    Osama told us that if we would get out of muslim countries, they would leave us alone.

    The following is from a March 1997 interview with bin Ladin by (then) CNN correspondent Peter Arnett:

    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, will the end of the United States' presence in Saudi Arabia, their withdrawal, will that end your call for jihad against the United States and against the US ?

    BIN LADIN:.... So, the driving-away jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula, but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world.

    He plainly states we must not resist. Anyplace.


    The sniping and personal attacks (none / 0) (#89)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 03, 2010 at 02:48:49 PM EST
    between PPJ and Dark Avenger on this thread have been deleted. Get a room, guys. Stay on topic and it's not the two of you.