Ray Sanchez has found New York City transit's Achilles heel, or at least the one vulnerability which is most likely to endanger the lives of the millions of people who use the system every day - a vulnerability which would be devastating after a terrorist hit, since survivors may then have to get out of the tunnels to remain survivors.
It has long been known that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit have problems communicating effectively with its customers. This was most evident anytime transit officials were asked to explain fare increases and service cuts.Read Sanchez's report on Annie Chamberlin's experience February 29.
But in a time of train bomb massacres, it is becoming disturbingly apparent that the people who run the New York subway system also have difficulty communicating with one another - including when lives are at stake.
But stupidity and incompetence, if not criminal malfeasance in this post 9/11 world, is not limited to New York's planners and administrators. The Bush administration budget for the upcoming fiscal year calls for $5.3 billion for transportation security, but only $147 million of it is allocated for everything other than air security. That $147 million is supposed to cover ports, roads, bridges, tunnels, power plants and rail systems.
And what is it we're now told we have to pay for an Iraq war which had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, fear of which the administration hopes to use to maintain its power? Was it $100 billion? But much more important, I'm thinking that so far the cost is the nearly 600 American lives alone, and the thousands (again only the American count) injured or maimed.
We shouldn't tolerate the use of terror for political purposes. The Bush regime and its lieutenants have to be thrown out before we cash in more than just our freedoms in exchange for a tin security.*
The evidence could be stacked up forever, but one inarguable fact reported today in the Washington Post [via Atrios] should alone be enough to demolish any remaining illusions about either the sincerity or the competence of the gang in the White House, above all when it's a question of protecting us from terrorists.
In the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI, an internal administration budget document shows.
. . . .
The papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks.
. . . .
"Despite multiple terror warnings before and after 9/11, [Bush] repeatedly rejected counterterrorism resources that his own security agencies said was desperately needed to protect America," said David Sirota, spokesman for [the Center for American Progress, a liberal group run by former Clinton chief of staff John D. Podesta], which plans to post the documents on its Web site today.
[image from the myria network]