Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, August 11

Cong OH-2: Wulsin (D) Slams Schmidt (R) on National Security

With foreknowledge of yesterday's news that British authorities stopped a plot to blow up transatlantic flights using liquid explosives, the White House and the RNC launched a coordinated assault on Democrats on Wednesday, tarring them once again as America-blamin', surrender-lovin' enablers of Al Qaeda. Will this tired refrain work its magic once again, saving Republican butt in the upcoming midterm elections?

Not if all Democratic candidates respond as aggressively as Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill), challenger to incumbent Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. "The do-nothing Congress has failed miserably at protecting our nation," Wulsin writes in a press release today. "Are you safer today than you were 5 years ago?" Good question. Turning to her opponent, Wulsin asks:
Why did Jean Schmidt vote against the national security recommendations of the non-partisan 9-11 Commission? What has Jean Schmidt done to make Ohio safer? She should answer those simple questions. We have known about the threat from liquid explosives for over a dozen years, and yet U.S. authorities have no ability to detect such threats to our nation.
According to a New York Times report today, "[i]n late 1994, a plot to bomb 11 American jumbo jets over the Pacific with a liquid explosive was discovered when the bomb makers accidentally set fire to their laboratory in Manila." Passengers at American airports experienced long waits on Wednesday and were prohibited from bringing any liquids aboard their flights. "The hectic and bungled response to this news shows that the American homeland security apparatus is unprepared to protect our nation. While Congress does nothing, our nation's airports and borders go unprotected," Wulsin writes. "It's outrageous."

Wulsin also points out that on December 5, 2005, the 9-11 Commission gave the United States a "C" grade for improving airline screening checkpoints to detect explosives. "Congress needs to provide the funding for the appropriate installation of explosives detection," she writes. And there's no lack of support for what Wulsin is claiming. Here's a portion of an article distributed by the Newhouse New Service today:
"It's not that we don't know how to do security -- it's that we don't want to spend for it," said Douglas Laird, a former Northwest Airlines security chief who is now a consultant in Reno, Nev.

Charles Slepian, head of the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center in New York, said the British plotters' intention to mix chemical explosives aboard planes was a threat that should have been addressed long ago. . . .

"We need to put in place technologies that will give us a chemical analysis of things carried on board," said Slepian, a frequent critic of the Transportation Security Administration. "Visual inspection simply isn't good enough -- you can't tell whether something will go bang in the night."
It's not the Democrats but the do-nothing Republicans who ought to suffer political damage from this latest narrow escape from a terrorist attack, but it won't happen unless Democrats follow Wulsin's lead and take the national security fight to them.


At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Kevin Hayden said...

Considering that detectors are available but remain unpurchased, that we can afford $300 billion for Iraq, but not one billion for these detectors, Wulsin's right to go after Scmidt on these issues.


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