R.J. Eskow discusses a new book by Clark Kent Ervin:
Ervin’s book, “Open Target,” describes an Administration that’s all but indifferent to protecting the American people from further terrorism. Its sole concerns appear to be to use DHS to dole out political pork, create politically attractive news releases, and spin failure so that it looks like success.
This is not news. But notice who Clark Kent Ervin is:
Ervin is the conservative Texas Republican who came to Washington as a personal friend of the President’s after serving in his gubernatorial administration. He became Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and refused to look the other way at the Administration’s incompetence in fighting terrorism.
Yes, another former Bushie tells all. But what got my interest in Eskrow’s piece was Ervin’s use of the phrase vulnerability gap. Computer network security people have been using this phrase for a while. I think the Dems ought to pick it up and run with it.
Once upon a time, boys and girls, a Democrat named John Kennedy used the phrase “missile gap” to discredit Republicans on national security and win a presidential election. The Dems generously larded speeches with missile gap and drizzled the phrase liberally on the electorate. It reminded voters of an allegation — which was not true — that the Eisenhower Administration (including Vice President Richard Nixon, Kennedy’s opponent) had somehow allowed the Soviets to acquire more nuclear missiles than we had.
The phrase vulnerability gap ought to work nicely, too, and it has the advantage of describing truth. Eskow continues,
Ervin dissects the self-serving and misleading statements made by Bush, Ridge, and Michael Chertoff. He’s especially withering on their boasts that the fact we haven’t been attacked on US soil since 9/11 is proof that DHS is effective. He compares it to French confidence in the Maginot Line, the most foolish defense attempt in history, and points out that terrorists operate on a long line. Five years, as he observes, is not a long time to Al Qaeda.
He describes the TSA as a boondoggle gone awry, and his analysis of our ongoing vulnerability to nuclear attack is chilling. Equally frightening are his descriptions of the government’s drastic underfunding of our anti-terror defenses. (He quotes from Congressional testimony in which a DHS intelligence official admits he can’t hire more staff as required because there is no money to pay for their office space.)
Ervin also details the vulnerability of mass transit, schools, and other “soft targets.” He’s fair enough to admit that you can’t defend every possible target, but thorough enough to describe what could be done (and isn’t) to improve their safety.
Vulnerability gap, vulnerability gap, vulnerability gap. The connotations are all there; vulnerability conjures the sensation of being unprotected and exposed. Gap makes us visualize breach or broken, perhaps also left behind or separated from something. Vulnerability gap. While the Bush Administration sends our National Guard overseas and dumps $2 billion bleeping collars a week into Iraq, vital infrastructure and other soft targets are left unguarded here at home. Vulnerability gap.
If the Dems can’t club the Bushies to death with that, there’s no hope for ‘em.