Something we will be seeing a lot of – now that budget cutting is in political vogue – are the legion of unanticipated consequences, like the fact that the Westchester DA’s office is losing a large amount of its prosecutors, who basically took a buyout. There’s a hiring freeze too, so the attorneys left behind will have to pick up the slack. Prosecution of serious criminals will be undermined. Well now, who’d have thunk that get-tough, full-throated budget cutters would come out looking soft on crime?
Is anyone as puzzled as me about the lack of a comprehensive, pre-emptive oil rig-spill emergency plan? While the thick black stuff is gushing out of the well into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying vital fisheries and a beautiful, fragile ecosystem, BP is essentially MacGyvering the cleanup as it goes along. Why is it that oil companies – or at least Halliburton – don’t have a handful of those hastily welded together giant metal “dome” things they just built to cap the well just lying around waiting for a spill to be contained? After being preached to by the drill-baby-drill crowd (including President Obama) about how technological advances in offshore wells have eliminated the potential for mistakes, it seems odd that crude isn’t just the stuff they are trying to clean up and contain with untested chemical oil dispersants and strips of rubber tied together – It also describes those “technological advancements” in spill remediation.
Watching the outmoded NY State workers’ union leaders demonize Governor Paterson because he is going to furlough them makes me wince a little. I understand it’s all still political theater for them, but considering the dire condition of the State’s finances (due purely to the lousy state of NY’s private sector) it looks really silly when you beat on the person who is not firing you.
There is a lot of understandable chest thumping and “atta boy-ing” going on over the police work that thankfully apprehended Times Square car bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad. Authorities are feeling pretty good about catching the guy.
But what happened to the police work before Shahzad attempted to bomb the Saturday evening theater crowd in Times Square? We were stupendously fortunate that this particular terrorist was functionally incompetent and failed to deliver a devastating explosion. As a result there was an unscathed evidential trail left in the car that even Inspector Clouseau could have successfully followed (including not filing off the vin # on the car…) Even so, law enforcement briefly lost his trail and thanks to Emirate Airways, he re-emerged on police radar as he was sitting on the tarmac on an airplane at JFK, about to take off for Pakistan!
“Yeah – but It’s hard to track an utterly unremarkable guy like Shahzad until he has committed a crime” I hear you say. I agree, which is why our “war on terrorism” should be focusing like a laser on intelligence/police communications and criminal investigative procedures, rather than relying on cold war, twentieth century-mission momentum. We are continuing to bolster our old school defense system, which encourages us to mobilize highly visible armies and equipment overseas against invisible enemies, who it turns out, are living and working comfortably in…Connecticut! Unfortunately until we shift military spending and tactical priorities, it appears a massive confluence of luck (and vigilant street vendors) will continue to be our best line of defense against the next domestic terrorist strike.