Hats Off to Chertoff

Oh Michael Chertoff, you astound me.  Why would you put out a message to scare the American people?  And from all sources, you choose your “gut feeling?”  Really?  You are Homeland Security Secretary, and you tell us that we are going to be attacked within the summer months?!  Based on what evidence? 

In his ramblings to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, the only “evidence” Chertoff uses is the situations going on in other countries, “bombings in North Africa from Al Qaeda, conflict in Somalia with radical Islamist groups contending for control over Somalia, training activity taking place in South Asia, the Taliban continuing to try to regain control of parts of Afghanistan.”

Not to downplay the atrocities going on in the Middle East, but there are big differences between here and there.  For one thing, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are not prevalent in the U.S.  Terrorist cells have a tough time gaining followers.  The threat we have here cannot be compared to the threat in Afghanistan or the Middle East.  Therefore, Chertoff’s “evidence” has little support.

When it comes to politics, someone, especially so high up in a government department, does not blurt out a statement without having an agenda.  So I pose this question: Chertoff, was this just a stunt?  Were you trying to get cities around the nation to bulk up on law enforcement?  Did you want to scare citizens into needing more security?  To be honest, the only person I trust with a gut feeling like that is Jack Bauer.  And he’s fictional (and a dog).

I am pleased with the response to Chertoff’s statements.  In a release from the Associated Press, Pat Milton writes that Chertoff’s “increased terrorist risk” did not have an effect on law enforcement.  People saw through Chertoff’s B.S. and realized we already have year-round security and that his “gut feeling” is just a way to remind us that we still have to be on guard.

I guess when it comes down to it, statements to the media should not be made from gut feelings, especially if it is dealing with a situation that is still scary to think about.  Should Michael Chertoff have said something without having any facts?  Probably not.  But it is still a good thing to have it in the back of our minds.  What are your thoughts? — Andrew Smith