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Barack Obama invoked the ghost of Harry Truman Thursday, telling the nation that the “buck stops with me” for the security failures that let a nutcase with an underwear bomb get on a plane on Christmas Day.
But Obama is speaking, once again, out of both sides of his mouth. He continues to blame the failings of his Presidency on George W. Bush.
While the President went before the cameras to claim he bears the final responsibility, White House aides spun the story to say the breakdown in security is a holdover from lapses in the Bush administration.
Yet many of these same Democrats blamed Bush for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001: Just short of nine months into Dubya’s presidency.
Republicans join the hypocrisy by heaping blame on Obama for the current problems while forgetting that they were lining up to blame Bush’s predecessor — Bill Clinton — for the 9/11 attacks.
There’s no doubt that the people charged with protecting Americans from madmen with bombs continue to drop the ball. Our various intelligence agences weren’t talking to each other and failed to connect the dots with all the warning signs out there before 9-11. Now that a terrorist managed to get explosives on a plane less than a month ago we find out that more than eight years later our various agencies are — surprise, surprise — not talking to each other or sharing information.
So, of course, they failed to connect the dots.
The old Washington blame game takes over. It’s always someone else’s fault.
Obama’s rhetoric on Thursday made for good sound bites on the evening news but, given past promises by others, should be expect it to be anything more than rhetoric?
Good question. With politicians on both side of the political fence so busy pointing the finger of blame at each other they once again overlook the obvious.
It ain’t the party in power that’s the problem.
It’s the system.
Even with Bush’s creation of the massive Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy, the task of keeping this country safe lies with competing agencies with competing agendas and different goals.
The FBI, CIA, NSA and others in the alphabet soup of agencies each see themselves as lead in the battle, not part of a team. The Pentagon adds another monkey wrench to the rusting gears by waging its on “war on terror” with little or no cooperation with others.
The system is a government into itself, impervious to control, unfettered by law and oblivious to the intent of elected officials at either end of the National Mall.
Obama doesn’t help the situation with all the mixed signals he sends from his scatter-gun approach to governing. He blames the Bush administration for massive failures in wars on terror and in Irag and Afghanistan and then keeps Bush’s Secretary of Defense on the job. He talks about bringing change but nominates another ethically-challenged political hack to run the Department of Homeland Security.
Obama’s doublespeak Thursday shows nothing really has changed since he swept into office in a tidal wave on lofty, but still unfufilled, promises.
The buck may stop at his desk but it will get lost in the clutter of a muddled Presidency.