The System Worked? Wrong. The Bomb Didn’t.

The system worked.

No, seriously, it did.  At least that’s what the criminally inept director of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, says about the attempted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound airplane on Christmas Day.  The system worked, she said, because “everybody played an important role,” because “the passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action,” and because DHS and the TSA and presumably the FAA took “some special measures in light of what had occurred” within about an hour-and-a-half of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab attempting to blow up his own crotch and, with it, nearly 300 innocent men, women and children aboard a Northwest Airlines Airbus 330.

Should you be keeping score at home and awarding points for reaction, perhaps Napolitano was right. Everybody did play an important role. Back on Planet Earth, however, where we keep score by the amount of innocent people who either fall victim to a terrorist attack or do not, the most important role was played by the defective explosive device which shared space with Mutallab’s scrotum in the underpants of a radical Islamic jihadist who American officials were warned about, who was educated in the ways of terrorism by a well known terrorist, and who happened to reside nonetheless in the cabin of a pressurized airliner.

“So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly,” Napolitano said. Frankly, it seems that the director has forgotten that the process we care about most is the process of preventing terrorist attacks from reaching the “is that the smell of burnt testicular hair?” stage in the very first place.

The system did not work. If the system had worked, then a Nigerian Muslim student whose name appears on a U.S. law enforcement database because his own wealthy banker father alerted authorities to his son’s radicalization, who had been banned from the United Kingdom earlier this year, and who had ties to radical Islamic terrorists in Yemen–such a new hotbed of terrorist activity that even this detente-at-all-costs White House is floating the idea of preemptive action there–already under scrutiny for being associated with Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan would not have been able to procure his defective device from the aforementioned Yemeni terrorists and obtain a visa to travel to the United States of America.

No, what we saw here was the same thing we saw in advance of Nidal Malik Hasan’s terrorist attack on Fort Hood.  Authorities had enough information.  They knew he had a radical background.  They knew he looked at America as the aggressor and heard him express a desire to kill Americans.  At the end of the day, however, political correctness got the best of common sense and more than a dozen innocent Americans paid the price.  The only difference between Nidal Malik Hasan’s attack and Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s attempted attack is that it is an FN Five.Seven pistol is far less likely to be defective than is a hastily made sweaty crotch bomb.

What makes all of this worse is that, in Janet Napolitano, we have the same miserable failure of a bureaucrat who back in the spring deemed conservatives and returning combat veterans the groups most threatening and worthy of increased DHS scrutiny.  It’s time for amateur hour to end when it comes to the safety and security of innocent American citizens.  Napolitano should have been put to pasture by the time most of America were carving turkeys on Christmas Day, if not months sooner.   And it’s time for this administration to not-so-subtly reassess their ingrained attitude toward radical Islamic terrorism as a law enforcement operation.  Andy McCarthy, over at National Review Online, has a great take on the systemic problem:

The people now in charge of our government believe Clinton-era counterterrorism was a successful model. They start from the premise that terrorism is a crime problem to be managed, not a war to be won. Overdone “war on drugs” rhetoric aside, we don’t try to “win” against (as in “defeat”) law-enforcement challenges. We expect them to happen from time to time and to contain, but never completely prevent, the damage.

Here, no thanks to the government, the plane was not destoyed, and we won’t get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there’s no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation.  But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this “case” tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success … just like the Clinton folks did after the ’93 WTC bombers and the embassy bombers were convicted. In their minds, litigation success equals national security success.

Because the laissez faire approach to homeland security so popular among this administration’s officials is so systemic and rooted in ideology, however, it will be nearly impossible to excise.  Regardless of whether Napolitano is added to the already crowded space under Barack Obama’s proverbial bus, the response from our federal government will be nearly the same as the response from its TSA and FAA — punish the passengers.  In this case, the passengers are the American people, who will be forced to endure longer lines and delays as part of the manifestation of a worldview which will always be one step behind terrorists committed to their perverted cause.

Richard Reid tried to ignite his explosive shoes, so passengers are forced to take off their shoes now.  A bunch of committed Islamic fundamentalists planned to use liquid explosives to bring down airliners, so iron-stomached new dads everywhere are drinking the contents of baby bottles to show that, yes, it really is baby formula.  And now, because of Mutallab and his amazing flammable stones, what else can we expect?  And if the next batch of wanna-be martyrs–and The Sun in Britain says that authorities are watching more than two dozen of them–decide to Barney Frank the next batch of explosive devices, how much longer will security lines become due to the time required by the same sort of procedures that American doctors used to do before the Democratic Party’s health care reform measures pushed prostate exams back until age seventy-five?

It never stops.  Because the system will never work, until we become proactive and preemptive about it.  Doing so will require the abandonment of the trappings of political correctness.  Doing so will require an administration which understands that the threat to America posed by radical Islam far exceeds any other threat (outside of the Democratic Party, of course), and a Homeland Security director whose head is far removed from both the proverbial sand and their own posterior.

In the meantime, Janet Napolitano and the Obama administration need to get it right:  It’s not that the system worked.  It most certainly did not.  It’s that the bomb didn’t.



  1. Pugh Bick says:

    “the smell of burnt testicular hair”


    they don’t understand that concept, as this administration has no testicles.

  2. Andrewp says:

    When I saw her speak on TV and she was saying those things I yelled at the TV and my wife was just saying idiots. Their worldview has truly not taken reality into account just like their economics. I think they are true believers in what they do and that makes them very incompetently dangerous.

  3. T.I.M. says:

    Napolitano came across on Sunday morning as an airhead way above her pay grade. She evidently doesn’t have the capacity for objective analysis, between planning to ship Gitmo detainees to Yemen (for further training?) and doing her best to make sure Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t allowed to enforce our laws against illegal immigration. Arizona was glad to get rid of her; now our government needs to do the same.

  4. Amy says:

    Of course, now she’s changing her tune after she was harshly criticized for her ridiculous remarks.

    ” “No secretary of homeland security would sit here and say that a system worked prior to this incident which allowed this individual to get on this plane,” Napolitano said. ”

    Of course, my favorite part is how Napolitano also blamed the previous admininstration yet again when she said that the current system was in place before she took over and they’ll now look backwards to find out what went wrong. In my opinion, they only need to look back as far as the time that Obama took over. His worldwide apology tour, constant bashing of America, and refusal to acknowledge we are at war with people who want all of us dead are the things that went wrong.

  5. 2010, 2012 says:

    ^this person was banned from British travel
    ^this man’s own Dad reported him to an American Embassy with specific concerns
    ^on SUSPECTED-terrorist list for TWO YEARS
    when you get to the bottom line isnt this where you kick into gear and yank this man from any possible U.S. airspace, not to mention U.S. LAND???

  6. 2010, 2012 says:

    new improved site quite nice
    colors work in wonderful harmony
    user friendly too
    congrats to you and Nath for bringing good things to light.
    (that is not a plug for GE) (just sounded right at the time:-)

  7. Claudia says:

    Mark Steyn called this guy the KNIKERBOMBER, which is a very apt new word to describe him… better than the SHOEBOMBER and more embarassing to this person…. in the future he will always be remembered as the guy who lit his own privates on fire to blow up a plane and FAILED. He only hurt himself and he will not be able to ENJOY his 72 virgins when he dies, cause his privates are not in good steed.

  8. Claudia says:

    by the way, to any whoe don’t know KINKERS are underwear in Brit slang…. spread this far and wide, let’s help him gain that particular ironic noteriety…. KNIKERBOMBER FAILS to blow up plane BUT LIVES WITHOUT FULL USE OF HIS OWN PRIVATES

  9. Jim McLaughlin says:

    This terrorist purchased his ticket for over $2,000 in cash. He traveled across three continents with only a small carry on. I’ve been stopped and interrogated at both Heathrow and Schipol for far lesser infractions. I guess its because of my threatening blue eyes.

  10. Claudia says:

    AND he didn’t have a PASSPORT….. what part of all kinds of red flags going off didn’t any of these people see???

  11. Claudia says:

    Hey Jeff, Sometimes I can’t type and I make all sorts of stupid errors like I did in the post above, is there any way to put in an EDIT button whereby we can edit a post after we post it and go back to read it and SEE those glaring errors???? Other posting entities have them, is there any way for you to get it set up that way??

  12. StuckInMI says:

    It would have been more than 300, there are those of us on the ground that could have lost our lives. The area’s in that flight path are heavily populated. I gave up watching the national news coverage and stuck with local, all national did was raise my blood pressure.

  13. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I don’t know, Claudia. I’m still trying to figure out this whole new world. If I can, I will!

  14. Claudia says:

    thank you, I really would appreciate some editing capability…. and I am sure that others would also. I know you are busy and having the system crash at this time wasn’t in your plans and all that other stuff that putting a new site together takes, takes up some of the time that you wanted to spend with your wife, family and firends.

    I hope that you have a wonderful Happy New Year’s and so totally enjoy yourself….. that you are wiped out for a few days and can’t do anything anywhere.

  15. William A. Rose says:


    Something to think about: The Koran (or however it is spelled) does notsay definitively that the 72 virgins are of the female persuasion.

    And I think THAT should be imparted to all suicide bombers, etc. I do believe the Koran does speak implicitly (as does the Bible) about homosexuality.

    I got that little bit from a Jeff Dunham comedy skit with Achmed The Dead Terrorist. It was just too priceless not to share. If anyone wants to se that skit, look up Jeff Dunham, Insanity, on youtube. I imagine it’s there. I haven’t looked.

  16. Seat 19A says:

    tick, tick, boom
    hopefully my Christian family is not on the plane when it happens.
    ignorant hippie administration.

  17. JAN says:

    Hope none of those passengers gave him a bloody nose!

  18. 2010, 2012 says:

    i really think we need thinking along the lines of putting all luggage on separate planes designed for nothing but luggage, and travelers need to accept that any luggage will be handpicked over and inspected to the fullest.

    any carryon medications given directly to a professional healthcare giver (yes we need to add one of those to airline personnel) and distributed only by the caregiver. anyone with health problems need to communicate with airlines BEFORE travel or no-can-do. we need to seriously overhaul our entire approach to travel not only via aircraft but all other mode of transport.

  19. 2010, 2012 says:

    Jeff, wall street journal ( has the EDIT feature Claudia mentioned. maybe you can begin there and ask how they accomplish it. that is if you want it at all… just a suggestion.

  20. Ima SoBelle says:

    You hit a home run with this one, Jeff. She is an idiot. Apparently, the only type who qualifies to work in this administration (oh, I forgot the Diabolical ones. They, too, are qualified). When I head her say that the system worked, I could only shake my head in disbelief. The participants at Alice in Wonderland’s teaparty (NO comparison intended to the real tea parties) have nothing on her. Do they train them somewhere for this kind of 180* response? Unbelieveable, but there it is.

    Happy New Year to you, all of the contributors and readers of AR.

  21. Psydog says:

    Read an eye witnessed account (guy that was on the plane)Kurt Haskell, if this was a real accounting of the incident then there is a lot that is not being disclosed to the general public. Some false statements made by a Customs Official – Ron Smith and some very strange actions by FBI agents. Read the account on Story titled – Flight 253 passenger Kurt Haskell: ‘I was visited by the FBI’
    By Aaron Foley |
    December 31, 2009, 9:41AM


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