WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration claim that "the system worked" after a failed aircraft bombing wasn't quite as jolting as President George W. Bush's "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" when New Orleans was sinking under deadly Hurricane Katrina. But both raised disturbing questions about presidential response in a time of crisis.Actually, it's worse. It is at least conceivable that, given the clusterduck that plagued the state and local efforts*, Brownie did as good a job as he could in a very difficult situation. I'm not saying he did, I'm saying it's possible. Of course, one could also write it off as a boss trying to make an employee feel better.
The Napolitano claim that "the system worked" is of an entirely different nature; it's simply political ass-covering in the face of political embarrassment. There is no conceivable way to argue that The System worked in a case where the bomb simply failed to go off, unless the system includes clandestine agents whose responsibility is to sabotage Al Queda explosives. She came back with, "once the incident occurred, the system worked," which I guess is an assertion that after somebody failed to blow up a plane, he was successfully taken into custody. That's hard to argue against. But finally, after howls of raucous laughter cracked the very ice on the globally-warmed Potomac, Interplanet Janet settled on, "our system did not work in this instance." Makes me wonder what other instance she was talking about before.
I don't blame Obama for the security breach. We live in a dangerous world and if people are dead-set on killing other people, it is unlikely that any system can be designed that will prevent that perfectly**. I do blame him, however, for what his administration says about such efforts. Perhaps if he told people that life is dangerous, he would lose a few votes. If he can't tell that truth, the best thing to say is nothing at all.
* You might recall that it was the Louisiana state government that purposely kept rescue workers out of New Orleans in an attempt to keep people from remaining in the sodden city.
** Though passing out a role of duct tape to each passenger might be a good start.