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Jewish World Review June 21, 2002 / 11 Tamuz, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | I know President Bush's plan to create a Department of Homeland Security is historic, but I'm struck by a couple of other things.

First, the project's complex. We're talking about packing up 100 offices, with 100 cultures and roughly 170 thousand employees ... and putting them in a single department that will do everything from patrolling coastlines to distributing vaccines.

I don't have a clue how anybody can transform that into a smoothly functioning bureaucracy. The organizational charts remind me of assembly instructions for something like, oh, a space shuttle.

Second, the issue is -- dare I say it?: Dull. I know we're talking about reforms that could save thousands of lives, but I can't help but recall Bismarck's observation that one should avoid watching the creation of two things: sausages and laws.

President Bush has invested his prestige in a reform that will put most of us to sleep. But then again, his job is not to entertain us, but to protect the nation.

The New York Times the other day that President Bush had reversed gears on global warming, and had accepted an EPA report indicating a) that the earth had warmed b) industrial pollution was to blame.

The story set off volcanic vituperations from conservatives -- Rush Limbaugh pilloried the president and free-market environmentalists accused the White House of selling out.

But when it comes to this controversy, there's no there there. EPA careerists who don't support the president's views on global warming produced a report, which the president promptly dismissed as so much bureaucratic gas.

The administration view is unchanged: Yes, there's evidence of global warming, but no consensus about the cause. Potential culprits range from industrial pollution to solar winds. Whatever the case, the president still opposes a global warming treaty that so far has been adopted only by Romania, and says he wants to use environmental incentives -- not new regulations -- to persuade businesses to clean up our water and air.

So there you have it.

We, the American people, ought to go to school on the case of Jose Padilla, who now calls himself Abdullah al Mujahir.

Padilla was a garden variety sociopath who developed an impressive dossier as a hotheaded punk before winding up in an American prison. There, he fell into the company of Muslims who persuaded him that he wasn't a sociopath at all, but a saint, and could secure his place in heaven by slaughtering some of his countrymen.

This led him to contemplate building a so-called dirty bomb, and inspired him to scope out sights for Al Qaeda. I'm shortening the narrative, but that's the essence of the thing, and it offers cautionary lessons.

First, our prisons are becoming terror factories, and radical Muslims are using Islam as a weapon for inciting criminals to become even more violent than before.

Second, we got to take a hard look at Islam. Is the president right when he says that murderous thugs have hijacked the faith or are the most influential keepers of its flame votaries of slaughter and gore?

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