Man, I hate it when I hit “publish” on an article, then remember one point I was trying to make. In my discussion of how Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was right in saying that “the system worked” in the case of the Underwear Bomber, I intended to point out how “the system” as practiced by all presidents through Clinton was to fight terrorism as a law enforcement issue — and that model is a reactive one.
The most significant way in which President Bush changed that paradigm was to change the fight from law enforcement to a military model — and bring the concept of pro-active action to the fight. No longer would we wait until we had an airtight legal case; issues such as whether the intelligence would stand up in court or had been gathered by purely legal means were irrelevant. Our goal was no longer a conviction, but victory.
That, it seems, has been cast by the wayside. The lawyers have once again taken back the reins of power in Washington, and there simply wasn’t enough evidence against the Junk Bomber before he and his Blasting BVDs got on board the plane. So no one said “boo.”
Now, there’s plenty of evidence to put this gelding away for the rest of his life. So, in the eyes of the lawyers who now run things, it is a solid win. Everything worked as intended.
That “the system” didn’t save hundreds of lives is irrelevant. That isn’t the purpose of “the system.”
At least, it isn’t any more.