It was the first time I’ve actually watched an Obama speech all the way through.  I think it was short on content, overwhelmingly a political speech in that he was responding to Republican pressure about the Democratic wimp factor.   He surely has to know that terrorism is not any kind of serious threat against the US and must also realize that any security operation encompassing hundreds of airports at home and abroad will occasionally have breakdowns if someone tries hard enough to penetrate the system. 

The security lapse was essentially about how information is evaluated and responded to, which can be fixed without initiating a war on air travel. As the whole US security system is bedeviled by its lack of clear lines of responsibility and authority probably the best thing to do would be to fire half of the staff and put somebody in charge who is not about to go off on a ski holiday the day after a major incident takes place.  But in Obama’s speech I heard basically a call for even bigger government to manage even bigger data bases, which I think will only make everything worse but probably has defense contractors licking their chops because of all that expensive new hardware that will be needed. 

I also heard Obama use the word accountability and buck stops here when we know no such thing is intended.  No one has been fired for any reason since 9/11 and when you say there has been systemic failure you mean that no one is to blame.  Until someone’s head actually rolls I will not believe that anyone is serious about fixing anything.