Stirring the hornet’s nest | AspenTimes.com

Stirring the hornet’s nest

Dear Editor:Enlightened leadership encompasses many traits. Foremost among these is vision – understanding how today’s events will shape the future.Only when we understand where we are headed can we make the necessary preparations to keep our loved ones safe and financially secure. This is the president’s most important mission.In 1994, Tom Clancy published a best-selling novel, “Debt of Honor,” that describes the destruction of the Capitol building during a presidential address to a joint session of Congress. The weapon was a 747 flown by a renegade airline pilot. In 1996, Kurt Russell starred in the film, “Executive Decision,” in which Middle Eastern terrorists hijacked a 747 with the intention of using it to attack Washington, D.C.In 1998, the Federal Aviation Administration considered reinforcing the cockpit door on all commercial airliners to prevent terrorists from entering the pilot’s quarters. The agency decided that this precaution would be too expensive. This decision was one of the most expensive mistakes in history.When George Bush took office in January 2001, he was warned by the nation’s top security expert, Richard Clarke, that terrorists were planning to strike on American soil. No action was taken and the matter was relegated to the back burner.When the Twin Towers fell, the politicians that had been elected to protect us responded by saying, “Who could have known?” The answer is quite simple: anyone who could read a book, or watch a film, or listen to the briefings of our top security experts.Instead of preparing our nation against a plausible threat, our government spent billions of dollars on the highly questionable Star Wars program. When the terrorists attacked in New York, we were unable to defend ourselves because we had been preparing for the wrong enemy.In the first 18 hours after the 9/11 attack, President Bush was hiding in Nebraska, leaving all the critical decisions to Vice President Cheney. Subsequently, the Bush administration responded to 9/11 by invading and occupying a foreign nation with questionable ties to 9/11. This action has destabilized the Middle East and created a breeding ground for new terrorists. Bush has stirred up a hornet’s nest in Iraq.We would be safer if the money had been spent modernizing the communication equipment of our first responders, preparing our local officials to deal with hazardous materials, and adopting the incident command system for all of our localities. At the national level, we should have secured our borders and seaports and built a modern computer database that keeps track of troublemakers and potential terrorists.To keep our children safe, we need leaders that can anticipate the challenges of the future. Tanks, airplanes and anti-missile systems are not effective against terrorism. George Bush appears to be driving the country forward with both eyes focused on the rear view mirror. It is time for new leadership.Peter FreyBasalt


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