January 8, 2010
In a recent interview on BBC, Ted Koppel, news reporter for ABC News, made the observation that recent activities by the White House to publicize both the apprehension of the last would-be bomber and the failings of the intelligence community was 'overkill'.
Here, I have to agree, but for perhaps different reasons. Koppel was apparently referring to the attempts by the White House to contain the damage from a whole series of events--the capper of which was the attempted bombing on the Northwest jet to Detroit.
However, I believe Koppel missed the real point here. That point is what the bombers and other terrorists really want from their acts. Some, it is true, are religious zealots who truly believe they are doing the will of God. Most however, just want the publicity that surrounds every attempt to do damage. As well, they want the agitation and unrest that follows because they know the world's media will eat it up with gusto--extending what would have been its normal life with interminable dissections of information they are often not sure is even correct. The terrorists get to instill both publicity and fear in people's hearts. Those are the true results of announcing and amplifying every event that occurs.
The Obama administration is contributing to this as well. They have no discernible intention of punishing or dismissing anyone who has been involved in the lagtest series of fiascos. Obama coming out with his 'buck stops here' speech is decidely NOT reminiscent of Harry Truman, nor will he and his cronies ever be close to the quality of a Truman presidency.
What needs to happen in a ratchetting down of publicity on these events--putting them in their true perspective, and then moving on.