Umm.. what about big strong hands?

The terror plot that was allegedly foiled in the UK involved a “liquid chemical attack” – something that most folks knew was possible. Yet, up until today, we were allowed to bring liquids through airport security. So, am I to understand that these things were not a threat yesterday, but merely because a group of loonies were ready to try it, they are a threat today? The fact that this seems logical to the TSA, and that we’ve raised our ‘threat level’ in response to a bust should be disturbing to all of us and tell us a lot about our foolishly reactionary approach to counterterrorism.

I am deeply relieved to see that baby formula and breast milk is OK but must be “tasted at the airport.” Tasted by whom? I’m not sure which is more absurd – demanding the traveling suspect taste it or that a member of our so-called security personnel take a swig. And I note there is a blanket exception for “medicine,” because terrorists would never be clever enough to put toxic liquids in a medicine bottle. (Shhh!)

I wonder when the US DHS will implement the same rule that the UK has today – that is, nothing with an electrical charge is allowed on board (e.g. laptops, MP3 players, cell phones, key fobs, and such) – the fear being that such items can be used to “detonate.” That’ll be great for the traveling public and our economy. As if energy prices were not enough, we now have one more reason to choose another form of travel, and the airline industry will continue to get squeezed.

I’d much rather be allowed to take my iPod and latte onto the plane than to tolerate yet another ridiculous procedure that offers no real security.

MSNBC (like most of the other networks) has been running all-day “Target America: Terror in the Sky” coverage, complete with the usual graphics and scary music. They just mentioned that screeners are “currently being trained” to recognize potentially dangerous liquids (for example, Brut cologne.)

I ask (with a hat tip to George Carlin): what if we arrest a “terrorist” with big muscles who was planning on strangling a flight attendant? Will we then ban people with big, strong hands – as the public just quietly nods in assent? When will we stand up and demand some common sense and rationality in our air travel procedures?

The President and his people wasted no time in using this to their own political advantage. Today he said, “This nation is at war… we’re still not completely safe… because there are people who want to harm us for what we believe in… we live in a dangerous world.” This is not a war, sir. Oh, if only it were so simple as blowing up the right things. But, if he keeps the sheep afraid, perhaps he can keep his approval rating above 30%. And besides, if it were a war, and this is how we’re going to fight it, we lose.

The jihadists must be pleased; they can just sit back and watch as we do most of the work of destroying ourselves.

7 thoughts on “Umm.. what about big strong hands?”

  1. Also: you can buy many liquids inside the “sterile” gate areas of most airports. So, are people somehow being de-liquified at the gates prior to boarding? So stupid.

    The only common sense on the matter I’ve seen in the press all day has been Tucker Carlson’s show, where he is asking all the right questions (such as “Are we thinking deeply about why these people are willing to kill themselves to hurt us, and what are we doing about that?”)

    A couple tidbits from his exchange with Bush security advisor Frances Townsend:

    Townsend [on profiling]: “We find that offensive..”

    Carlson: “Yes, it’s offensive. On the other hand, so is waiting in a line for three hours or destroying the American economy…. why aren’t we smarter about it?”

    Townsend [on the ‘airport inconveniences’]: “Do I resent [the inconvenience at the airport]? Yes. But I’m not angry with the government and I’m not angry with the screeners. I’m angry with the bad guys who’ve put us in a position to make us have to go through that..”

    Carlson: “Simply because there are bad guys trying to hurt us doesn’t give us the right to be dumb.”

    Thanks Tucker, we need ya buddy.

  2. Also: you can buy many liquids inside the “sterile” gate areas of most airports. So, are people somehow being de-liquified at the gates prior to boarding? So stupid.

    The only common sense on the matter I’ve seen in the press all day has been Tucker Carlson’s show, where he is asking all the right questions (such as “Are we thinking deeply about why these people are willing to kill themselves to hurt us, and what are we doing about that?”)

    A couple tidbits from his exchange with Bush security advisor Frances Townsend:

    Townsend [on profiling]: “We find that offensive..”

    Carlson: “Yes, it’s offensive. On the other hand, so is waiting in a line for three hours or destroying the American economy…. why aren’t we smarter about it?”

    Townsend [on the ‘airport inconveniences’]: “Do I resent [the inconvenience at the airport]? Yes. But I’m not angry with the government and I’m not angry with the screeners. I’m angry with the bad guys who’ve put us in a position to make us have to go through that..”

    Carlson: “Simply because there are bad guys trying to hurt us doesn’t give us the right to be dumb.”

    Thanks Tucker, we need ya buddy.

  3. You have a point about the stupidity of the reactionary measures that have been taken in British airports. But unfortunately, your example takes away from your argument. If terrorists could wreak a significant amount of damage with their bare hands, then they wouldn’t go to the trouble of trying to smuggle explosives or other weapons onto a plane. Furthermore, hands have uses other than to hurt others, even “big strong” ones. Explosives are meant, quite obviously, to explode. The liquid variety can easily be used to bring down a plane.

    I don’t blame the President for trying to use the incident “to his political advantage.” If a crisis can be used to strengthen the government’s leadership and to unify the country, then great. Of course, if you’re of the camp that believes that Bush should be impeached, you might think differently. Just remember – we have to stay strong until the second he leaves office, no?

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