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John Wayne's Holster: A False Sense of Security
John Wayne's Holster
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A False Sense of Security

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The Department of Homeland Security was created by President Bush following the 9/11 attacks. The goal of the Department is supposedly to protect the US against outside threats. As part of the overall strategy, one of the things that was supposed to happen was that security at the borders and on our airlines would be heightened. I guess the idea was that people deemed to be threats to American citizens would be denied access to our airlines and not be allowed to cross our borders.

While I understand that accomplishing these goals is a difficult task, I am forced to conclude that the government is not doing a very good job. Sure a few planned attacks have been thwarted and I am sure a number of dangerous people were prevented from boarding flights or entering our country. For example, a flight carrying pop icon Cat Stevens (aka Yusef Islam) was diverted to Maine and Stevens was denied entry to the US because officials realized that he was on a no-fly list. Wow, that’s awesome. A 70’s folk singer who sings about peace and love was not allowed to enter the country to explore the possibilites of signing with a Nashville-based recording company.

Now I feel safe!

This incident raised two obvious questions. First, what was Cat Stevens doing on the no-fly list, and second, if he was on the no-fly list, how in the hell did he get on a US-bound plane to begin with?

Now we have another example of Homeland Security in action. It seems that a Georgia man with a deadly antibiotic-resistant strain of tuberculosis was recently put on the no-fly list due to the possibility of infecting others. Despite this, the unidentified man was able to fly from Atlanta to Paris on May 12 for his wedding. While on his honeymoon in Rome, he was again contacted by CDC officials and told not to return to the US and to surrender to Italian health authorities for isolation and treatment.

Again, despite being on the no-fly list, the man was able to board a flight from Prauge to Montreal on May 24.

Once in Canada, he simply drove across the border at the Champlain, NY crossing.

So let’s recap. A guy with a contagious deadly disease is on the no-fly list. Yet he is able to board and fly on two trans-Atlantic flights, and then drive straight through a border checkpoint undetected. Undetected despite the fact that he had his passport checked several times.

Now I really feel safe!

One really has to wonder about the success that the Bush administration is claiming due to the fact that there has not been a major terror attack in this country since 9/11. Is it really due to the success of Homeland Security or simply because terrorists are still in the planning phase for a major attack. After all, 8 years passed between the first World Trade Center bombing masterminded by Ramzi Yousef in 1983 and the bin Laden orchestrated attack on 9/11.

Let’s be real, if a guy on a no-fly list can still get into this country when we know exactly who he is, and despite the fact that he had his passport checked at least three times, how can we be expected to believe that the government is going to be able to stop those who truly mean to do us great harm. And let’s also not forget that this guy got through a checkpoint at the Canadian border. We have guys there checking and they still can’t stop people. How many more potentially dangerous people are coming across the Mexican border where we don’t appear to be checking many people at all?

I think I am going to start sleeping with one eye open.


At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is pretty depressing. I think one reason we have not been attacked here again is that the fundamentalists don't want to reinvigorate the American people. They would rather kick us out of the Middle East exhausted and defeated. Then the next attack comes. Whatever the reason, the DHS is not effective at securing the country. It is just added another level of government bureaucracy.



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