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In the Obama Administration, Incompetence is a Systemic Issue.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
By Dan

When the would-be Knicker Bomber, a man on a U.S. watch-list and on the UK no-fly list; a man whose father had warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria of his ties to al Qaeda; a man who the CIA had been tracking for months but was still issued a U.S. visa; boarded a U.S.-bound flight with no passport, no luggage and paid in cash: the system failed.  Not the Department of State, who issued a visa to a man on a watch-list, being investigated by the CIA.  Not the Department of Homeland Security, for failing to upgrade to the no-fly list a man whose own father worried he was a terrorist (enough evidence for the British).  No, it was the “system.”

This is incompetence: the failure of people to perform the task assigned them–or, in government work, just another day at the office.

When, a week later, another man waltzed into a terminal through an exit at Newark airport, causing massive panic and an evacuation; the man is never found and the surveillance video at one of the busiest airports in the nation was unbelievable “down;” again, it was the system that failed.  Not the abject incompetence of the men and women of the TSA, who not only allowed a man to walk right through the exit, bypassing security; failed to turn on or fix the security cameras; failed to capture the man, but also gave the all-clear when no one knows who this man is, where he went or what he was doing.  It was all the “system’s” fault.

These are not system problems.  These are people problems.  There is nothing in the “system” that would or should allow a watch-listed person whose father calls him a terrorist to obtain a U.S. visa and board a flight after paying cash with no luggage.  There is nothing in the “system” about allowing a busy terminal to operate without surveillance cameras.  This is incompetence: the failure of people to perform the task assigned them–or, in government work, just another day at the office.

At some point, our President may grow up and learn that accountability is a leadership skill, not a political liability.

So why is Obama so anxious to spin this as a “system” failure?  Because the Bush administration designed the system.  (Nevermind that Obama has been free to change it for almost a year.)  If it was the system, and not the people, who failed, Obama can do what he does best–blame Bush.

At some point, our President may grow up and learn that accountability is a leadership skill, not a political liability.  Until then, we have more Knicker Bombers, government healthcare and Cap & Tax to look forward to.  I’m sure the government will do better running your healthcare and your energy usage, than it does when it comes to the security of the nation.  If not, they can always blame the “system.”

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