Friday, October 29, 2010

In denial

 What could he have been thinking?

A person given a post-hypnotic suggestion can, when awakened, "see" things that aren't there. Even more strange, he can be induced not to see things that are visible to normal sight. That's right: convince a person under hypnosis that when he snaps out of it, no one else will be in the room, and by gum that's what he'll perceive.

This is not a posting about the paranormal, unless you want to apply the term to the government. But then, large numbers of the country's bien-pensants do seem to be under a form of hypnosis that causes them to deny the obvious.

The AP has discovered that -- wait for it -- public housing is mismanaged!
WASHINGTON – There were accusations of an executive slush fund, financial shenanigans and dictatorial management. But it was the $900,000 in secret sexual harassment payments that got the head of the nation's fourth-largest housing authority fired and had the mayor asking how the housing board missed it all.
Yet Philadelphia's isn't even close to the worst of dysfunctional housing agencies across the country that operate with no budgets, untrained staff and shoddy record-keeping, according to a review by The Associated Press of inspection and audit records of 146 housing authorities that the government considered the most troubled.
Are we supposed to be surprised by this? Did we actually believe that government housing agencies are anything but bureaucratic jobs programs? Can Philadelphia's mayor be serious when he asks, "How is it possible that you didn't know?"

Besides, the AP adds:
... Washington's hands are largely tied since the threat of withholding or reducing funding to punish irresponsible housing authorities ultimately would in effect penalize poor tenants for the mismanagement of their landlords.
There will be a handful of newspaper editorials Viewing With Alarm, a few politicians dispensing routine outrage, and nothing will change in the long run. Trying to reform government housing administration is a losing proposition because this is one of the things that government by its nature is unfit to do.

More hypnosis, this time of the politically correct genre:
WASHINGTON -- FBI agents who ensnared a suburban father in a terrorism sting involving a fictional subway bomb plot have turned their attention to figuring out what made the Pakistani-born U.S. citizen turn against his adopted country, officials said.

Law enforcement officials said they believe Farooque Ahmed was radicalized in the United States, becoming the latest in a string of U.S. citizens charged with plotting terrorist attacks against here.
What could have possibly induced Farooque to want to bomb the Washington subway? Especially because, as the story notes, "Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has tried hard to build relationships inside the Muslim community. The White House has made combatting homegrown terrorism part of its national security strategy."

Can the FBI and various "officials" actually be so thick as to wonder what made this man, a U.S. citizen thanks to our indiscriminate mass immigration, turn against "his" country? Can they possibly be so naive as to imagine this is a case of "homegrown" would-be terrorism, when it is nurtured in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Somalia and every place where they leave the light on for Muslim fanatics?

Probably not, but they must go through this fraudulent soul-searching every time a Muslim plot is uncovered, as though it defies belief that an insurgent thought could cross the mind of a Muslim who is a U.S. citizen or carries a green card.

Will any "official" have what it takes to say, "Most Muslims aren't terrorists, but they have no inherent right to immigrate to the United States, and we could save the FBI a lot of bother if we stopped Muslim immigration straight off."

No, they won't. Too simple. Too obvious. And "discriminatory."

I give the FBI and our counter-terrorism agencies a lot of credit. They've been champions at busting plots. But sooner or later, the laws of probability will kick in and they'll miss one. Hundreds or thousands of American casualties will result.

And public officials, like Philadelphia's mayor, will ask: "How is it possible that you didn't know?"


Martin B said...

Bear in mind that many of the plots that the FBI have foiled were cases of entrapment - phony plots that they themselves concocted in order to ferret out willing - but most likely, incompetent - sympathisers of islamic terrorism (most of them foreign born muslims, by the way). As you say, it would simply be a lot easier to not let these people into our country.

I guess I don't give the FBI as much credit as you do. Entrapment always seemed to me like a dirty little shortcut - manufacturing crimes that are easy to prosecute, rather than going out and doing the difficult leg-work of real investigative law enforcement, directed at those who really have (already) broken the law. Remember, those FBI agents are government employees too - you might be surprised at just how incompetent even the supposedly competent federal agencies are.

Rick Darby said...

Martin B,

Yes, fair point. I want our counter-terrorism agencies keeping an eye on all the plotters, including the dumb clucks — because even they can do a lot of damage — but not only going for easy scores for PR purposes.

I'm dead against entrapment in ordinary criminal cases, but in national security I'm willing to give the law a little leeway.