Monday, December 28, 2009

Hitchens on Airline Security

Christopher Hitchens has an excellent piece up at Slate in the aftermath of the attempted Christmas airline bombing. He does a great job of summarizing the state of our security: incompetence in detecting terrorists, combined with overreacting and imposing collective punishment on everyone else in the name of increased safety. Here are some excerpts,
somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a "central repository of information" don't prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition
You have to wonder if anything would have been done if he had worn a t-shirt with the words, "I'm a Radical Muslim Suicide Bomber" written across the front. Like Major Hassan, all the warning signs just weren't enough. But what do we do instead?
our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It's also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.
This is what government does in regard to almost any perceived problem. It doesn't matter what it is, the important thing is that the government be seen to be doing something. Don't worry about whether that "something" is useful and effective, or even counterproductive. Gun control is a prime example. Every time there is a high profile shooting, the usual suspects start screaming for new laws that penalize law-abiding gun owners -- to supposedly make us safer from people who don't follow laws.
fresh idiocies are in store. Nothing in your lap during final approach. Do you feel safer? If you were a suicide-killer, would you feel thwarted or deterred?
Instead of putting in new, ridiculous security measures, wouldn't it be better if the government actually took effective action to investigate & detain suspected terrorists before they got on board? No, it's much easier to just institute new security restrictions for everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment