TSA nominee: Global warming deserves parity with war on terror

posted at 11:36 am on January 11, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

David Freddoso thinks the takeaway from this interview of Errol Southers, the embattled Obama nominee to run TSA, is his observation that our alliance with Israel is the reason for the acts of terrorism against the US. VideoJug asked Southers where the US should prioritize the war on terror, and he offered a few more thoughts than just about alliances:

The War On Terror

“Due to connectivity that we have with countries such as Israel, France — countries that are seen by groups, by al Qaeda, as infidels or anti-Islamic — by the true nature of our alliance with them means that we subject to be attacked as well. I do think, however, it deserves to perhaps have some parity with global warming, with education, with the economy, but national security is always going to supercede everything else. I don’t think you can have all of those other entities flourish in a state where the security is not felt to be confident, comfortable, and intact.”

Until he got to priority parity, I think Southers did OK. After all, we know that radical Islamists hate Israel and attack us for our alliance with them. That’s hardly news, and Southers didn’t say that in terms of reassessing our alliance — just that we need to recognize that the alliance makes us a target, and we need to act accordingly. He didn’t try offering the detention center at Guantanamo Bay as a reason the radical Islamists hate us, for example. Maybe he should sit down and have a chat with his boss about that.

However, should a TSA nominee really argue that global warming deserves the same amount of attention and prioritization as the war on terror? Even if we weren’t having a record “cold snap” this winter, the notion that terrorism poses the same or lesser danger than AGW will strike most Americans as ludicrous. The only reason Southers sees for not granting AGW the same priority as terrorism is that a nation that doesn’t feel secure won’t take anything else seriously. That’s a point Southers should have considered before making that foolish statement.

Try asking anyone traveling over the next few weeks whether they think AGW is as high a priority as keeping the next EunuchBomber from actually detonating something more than his own nuts, and see whether they agree with Southers.

Update: Erick Erickson catches another part of the interview where Southers identifies what he sees as the biggest security threat:

But now there is new and far more troubling information about Mr. Southers caught on video. According to Erroll Southers, pro-life Christians and our support of Jews is a bigger threat to national security than Al Qaeda.

Mr. Southers, in 2008, said he was more worried about “Christian identity” terrorist groups inside the U.S. than islamic terrorists. What are “Christian identity” terrorist groups? White-supremacists naturally. The KKK. And the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southers identifies pro-life groups and anti-government activists as particular problems.

Terrorist Groups

To be fair, the question was posed as “which home-grown terrorist groups present the greatest danger to the US”.  I’m not sure one can fault him for the answer in that context.  The “anti-abortion” comment does seem gratuitous, however, considering the rest of the qualifiers Southers uses which reflect poisonous ideology: xenophobes, anti-Semitic, anti-government.

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