Let’s Just Declare Victory Over Terror…

2 comments December 6th, 2005at 01:00pm Posted by Eli

It just gets worse and worse. Yesterday, NYT ran a depressing op-ed column by the chairmen of the 9/11 Committee, and their lead editorial today just piles on:

The former members of the 9/11 commission issued a report card yesterday that gives the federal government shockingly low grades on protecting the nation from another terrorist attack. These disastrous marks, which apply to both Congress and the Homeland Security Department, came at a crucial moment. Right now, Congress may be about to make more terrible decisions in two important areas: the homeland security financing formula and chemical plant security.

There can be little doubt that New York is at the top of Al Qaeda’s target list – unless, apparently, you are the Homeland Security Department and you are handing out port security money. In the most recent fiscal year, the department gave the port of New York and New Jersey just $6.6 million in port security grants, almost exactly what it gave to Memphis. Houston got $35.3 million, or more than five times as much.

That must be the “Don’t Mess With Texas” rider on the Homeland Security budget…

On antiterrorism funds, experts uniformly agree that money should be allocated based on the risk of an attack and the risk of casualties.

But the Senate – led by Susan Collins of Maine, the Republican chairwoman of the homeland security committee, and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat – is fighting for a formula based not on risk, but on pork. Senator Collins’s home state, and other rural states that face little threat, would get a pinata of new programs and equipment under the Senate formula. New York and California would get less money for vitally important programs.

Hey, thanks, Joe! I’m so glad to see that you’re still looking out for the country’s best interests!

Oh, but wait, it gets even better!

When it comes to failing performances, it’s hard to match Congress’s thoroughly irresponsible actions on securing chemical plants, where any terrorist attack could cause enormous casualties. To the delight of the chemical industry, a generous contributor to political campaigns, Congress has refused since Sept. 11 to impose reasonable safety standards. Now there is a real danger that Congress will do worse than nothing: it may pass a bill that actually weakens protections.

Congress is considering legislation that would invalidate state laws on chemical plant security. This comes just days after New Jersey, a major chemical manufacturing state, adopted mandatory plant security rules – and shortly after Jon Corzine, a leading supporter of chemical plant safety measures, was elected governor.

It’s hard to imagine that Washington will go to war against the states attempting to protect their residents from a potential toxic disaster. If that federal bill is passed, it will be strong evidence that Congress cares more about the chemical plant industry and its political clout than about ordinary Americans at risk in a terrorist attack.

As I keep saying, the Democrats (and Joementum’s primary challenger, ohpleasepleaseplease) have to make this a campaign issue in 2006. All Democratic candidates running against Republican incumbents must run campaign ads saying, “The Republicans/my opponent said they/he would keep you safe from the terrorists who want to destroy our way of life. But when it came time for a vote, they voted to divert funds from high-risk target areas like New York and Washington in favor of rural areas that are not in danger. They sided with the chemical industry to weaken chemical plant security regulations. Ask yourself: Which party/candidate is really working to keep you safe?” Some calibration will be necessary for candidates in those rural areas that are recipients of those ill-gotten homeland security funds, i.e., broadening the focus to America’s overall safety, and placing more emphasis on chemical plant safety.

As with electoral reform, the Democrats must force the Republicans to defend the indefensible.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Favorites,Lieberman,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War


  • 1. scout prime  |  December 6th, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    Pork Pork Pork
    Playing with our lives.
    It is depressing and shameful

  • 2. Neil Shakespeare  |  December 7th, 2005 at 12:03 am

    Really. It’s “Pork Terrorism”. ‘The War on Terror’ is the greatest boon for pigs there’s ever been. They could cut every single dime they’ve already spent or plan to spend and it wouldn’t make a whit of difference. The only ones who’d lose are the guys who get to feel up the girls’ boobs at the airports. But, you know, if you want to feel safe from nothing…

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