Friday, January 8, 2010

Let the heads roll

Nothing invites disrespect for a U.S. president more than signs of indecision and weakness.

Americans voting for a new Oval Office attitude don't want a return to the gunslinger, hair-trigger style of former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney or to their favoritism in protecting personnel with slim credentials.

However, President Obama risks widespread loss of confidence if he allows the latest terrorism threat to vanish into the great Washington maw of White House reviews and congressional hearings.

Personnel up and down the security network who should have spotted and acted on warning signs don't deserve presidential softness. Americans and their security deserve better.

The "cool" Obama presidency has shown a disinclination to crack down on incompetence. Remember Obama appointees whose tax problems escaped unnoticed during their vetting? And the three gatecrashers who attended the president's first state dinner without proper invitations? This carelessness apparently went unpunished, except for presidential chagrin.

The so-called "underwear bomber" attack is serious. The accused would-be terrorist's father alerted U.S. authorities. The suspect's name was on a watch list.

Blaming a "system" failure is nonsense. Systems supposedly are made up of competent people. Yet, it's only by sheer luck that the explosives didn't detonate on Northwest Flight 253 and wipe out 289 lives. That doesn't mitigate the incompetence that let the Nigerian suicide bomber slip through.

President Obama must prove he's serious about homeland security. He must roll heads.

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