Major Weaknesses

THE HILL is “The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress”. Last Thursday, the 25th, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) collaborated on an article under the following headline:

“Unchecked danger at America’s ports leaves us vulnerable”

Their last two paragraphs read as follows:

“Today we have a choice in how we deal with the cargo security challenges facing us. Tomorrow we may not. If we build a system now, we can shape it to maximize our security and make sure it’s sensitive to the need for free-flowing commerce.

“If we wait until after an incident, we risk drastic actions that will hurt everyone. With the GreenLane Act, we have the opportunity to create effective, efficient systems and put them in place now. This effort is too important to delay any longer and it’s too important to fail.”

One would almost get the impression that the “system” mentioned above is the patented automated storage and retrieval system being mentioned, and promoted, throughout these commentaries. Unfortunately though, that isn’t the case because neither senator is aware of the existence of our “system”. Both senators, however, are making strong efforts to focus national attention on the heavy costs that would be incurred if proper preventive measures are delayed, or worse, not undertaken. “The answer keeps us up at night,” they said.

They also said, “Our cargo system was designed for a time before terrorist attacks on American soil. And, unfortunately, more than four years after those attacks, we still haven’t made our maritime cargo system as secure as it needs to be”.

We are reminded by that last statement that we reminded readers in an earlier commentary that the World War II generation responded quite differently when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Less “than four years after” those attacks, that generation faced up to, and defeated, two well-armed and well-disciplined war machines. There was no bickering, no political posturing and no gravy trains. It was a concerted unselfish effort on the part of all Americans. The threats were identified, cost-effective and efficient systems were designed and produced, and a game plan was put in place and rigidly followed. The final results were tallied 1,346 days later. That World War II generation triumphed. Now listen to what the two senators are saying 1,717 days after the 9-11- 2001 attack:

“Recent investigations by the Government Accountability Office have revealed major weaknesses in existing programs. It’s clear that we need a comprehensive plan to protect the American people and the American economy.”

[Bickering? Political posturing? Gravy trains? These are the real “major weaknesses”.]