The Titanic Wasn't Sunk by an Iceberg. Unfulfilled Promises of the 107th Congress...
edited: Friday, January 03, 2003
By Craig O. Thompson
Posted: Friday, January 03, 2003
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Copyright © 2002-2003 Craig O. Thompson and Brightwater Enterprises, LLC
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - January 1, 2003 -- Those of us who believe the R.M.S. Titanic was sunk by an iceberg suffer under a delusion.
The fact is, the Titanic was not sunk by the reported iceberg. The tragedy of that great ship was induced by the arrogant and smug attitudes of those who built and sailed her.
Likewise, the smug platitudes and attitudes that emanated from Congress, prior to adjournment, have set a course for America not unlike that of the royal passenger liner. They beg answers from our members of Congress: What is it about “America is still not prepared for bio-terrorist attacks” that you don’t understand? And, what makes you think small communities are immune?
Toxic pathogens know no borders. Yet, with the congressional stalemate on spending bills, billions in promised anti-terrorism funding will not reach our communities until mid-year, 2003--or later. And that’s just reprehensible.
Once Congress voted for establishment of the Homeland Security Department, adjournment clouded our representative’s minds. The most important duty--to fund promised homeland security issues--came to a screeching halt.
Fulfilling critical post-9/11 commitments such as funding bio-terrorism defense, equipping and training first-responders, and retraining medical professionals has gone a begging. The updating of our national public health system, purchasing state-of-the-art tools for rapid diagnostics, improving border security, protecting the shipping, trucking, and chemical industries, and an entire laundry list of important homeland security and customs department deficiencies have been treated as step-children by the 107th Congress.
Translate the old Scottish phrase, "Ye'll get your heid in yer hands and yer teeth tae play wi'" and you get the modern-day phrase, “You’re really in trouble.”
Following years of political wrangling, avoiding the truth, and turning a blind eye to just how vulnerable America was--prior to the Attack on America--the term “consequences management” says it all. By avoiding the hard realities, we elected our members of Congress to deal with, the United States could continue to pay the consequences for decades to come.
What if your boss reneged on a promise to give you a major raise to help with important family issues? That is the position in which countless fire and police departments, doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators--nationwide--have been left by our retreating Congress.
When you don’t get a raise, you tighten the belt and deal with it. But imagine front-line responders arriving at the scene of a disaster--or a covert bio-attack--without the needed training and updated safety equipment to protect them at the level our “bipartisan” congress promised, last year.
When your representatives say, “We’ll leave that for the 108th Congress,” you have the right to ask, “What are you thinking?”
Imagine a scenario--God forbid--where our first-responders (pick any city) are called to a scene of a covert release of deadly Soviet-developed, bio-engineered strains of plague, smallpox, or anthrax (and, yes, they also mixed these strains together in what I call “multi-lethal cocktails”). Imagine what you would do as a responder who had no way to tell if the site was safe enough to enter.
Would you enter the scene, knowing you could spread deadly pathogens, if no diagnostic equipment existed in your community to determine the level of toxicity?
If you were a hospital administrator, a doctor, a nurse...an orderly, would you stay to treat those who become infected with plague or smallpox, knowing you had no decontamination equipment, bio-masks, or isolation tents...because Congress had been too interested in getting home for the holidays?
I can tell you with certainty, most mock disasters held in the past ten years have established that many dedicated medical professionals might stay home to protect their families, under this type of ill-equipped scenario. Wouldn’t you?
The truth is, more than half of our emergency responders--medical, police, fire, and our public health system personnel--may never be trained in time, or prepared for the potential of biological or chemical events until homeland security funding is in place. The billions in proposed dollars must also be divided among small communities, that can be just as affected by biological toxins, due to our modern methods of travel.
Whatever happened to the work ethic that mandated “we’ll remain on the job until it’s done”? Today, congressmen run off to raise personal campaign funds and point out to their constituents “what a good boy or girl am I”...all the while hoping no one will notice the back door to our national security has been left open.
We must ask the question, “Will our first-responders continue to be our first-heroes in our communities...or our first martyrs?”
As a citizen, I am incensed at the smugness of our congressmen. You should be, too.
Only members of Congress will decide on funding issues--when they feel like it...unless you insist they get back to Washington. And that they not come home until the work is done and promises are fulfilled.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Keynote speaker and counter-terrorism consultant, Craig O. Thompson, is the communications director for the International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, a member of Project: Vote Smart, and author of the international award-winning book on global terrorism, "OMAR: A Novel" (August, 2001, Brightwater Publishing Company / StrataGem Press™). Web sites: www.keynoteR-central.com and www.Omar-Thriller.com
PLEASE NOTE: Mr. Thompson is available for print and electronic media interviews. As the communications director for the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, terrorism expert and keynoter, Thompson, has been interviewed by hundreds of worldwide media outlets--prior and subsequent to the Attack on America. Contact : info.keynoteR-central.com
Web Site: Counter-terrorism Expert Craig O. Thompson
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by J Michael Kearney
|I don't think it's "smugness" as much as it is partisanship. The Senate held up a lot of this legislation or weighted it down with pork so that it couldn't be approved in the form they passed it.
That rancorous partisnship is one of the downsides of our representative democracy. I say that, despite having grave reservations about some portions of both the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Bill. Like TX Congressman Ron Paul, I believe both Bills should've come with sunset provisions, at the very least.
I work in the FDNY and knew many of the 343 guys killed that day. Sadly, it's very possible that a similar attack today would have very similar results.
Part of the problem is the full interior attack attitude of the FDNY - "Get there fast and you usually limit the damage and risks."
About fifty of the guys killed that day were actually off-duty or relieved prior to that run and they just jumped on the rig figuring that such a disaster would require all the hands available. Unfortunately, there are no extra radios or SCBAs (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) on the rigs, so these guys had neither radios to communicate with or SCBAs to breathe with.
Worse still, was the failure of the radio repeater system that allows our hand-held radios to transmit messages in thos cavernous buildings. That repeater failure doomed a lot of FDNY personnel that day. Our inadequate protection against bio-terror remains at 9-10-01 levels, to date.
We've been very, very lucky.