November 21, 2010
Just a Thought

There he goes again.

President Barack Obama stood by new controversial screening measures Saturday, calling methods such as pat-downs and body scans necessary to assure airline safety.

Speaking at a NATO press conference in Lisbon, Portugal, the president called the balance between protecting travelers’ rights and their security a “tough situation.”

Seriously tough. You’re forced to choose to do nothing, which is sensible but politically impossible; actually try to make air travel secure, a ridiculous concept that would also make it too unpleasant for any but the most dire situations; or implement a silly and useless protocol that harasses regular passengers (that is, non-terrorists) enough to make them feel like something’s happening when it isn’t.

“As you travel this holiday season, I want to remind you that TSA’s mission is to ensure the safety of you the traveling public and we are committed to doing so efficiently, courteously and professionally,” [TSA Administrator John] Pistole said.

In Portugal, the president vowed he’d try to find a way to make passengers feel more both comfortable and safe, whether it is through the current policies or with new ones.

“Every week I meet with my counterterrorism team and I’m constantly asking them whether — is what we’re doing absolutely necessary? Have we thought it through? Are there other ways of accomplishing it that meet the same objectives?” he said.

Yes, there are. Stop bombing and invading other countries. Stop kidnapping people around the world, assassinating foreign leaders, and torturing folks. Stop spending two-thirds of the national budget on the military. Stop stealing the resources of other countries. But that would harm our elites, who don’t get patted down at the airport because they don’t fly commercial.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at November 21, 2010 01:45 AM
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James Fallows has written about this extensively on his blog, particularly the "Security Theater" part and has excerpts from hundreds of letters he's received about the mess. Including airline pilots, who have to go through the screening and have their tubes of toothpaste taken away. despite the fact that they are about to pilot and airplane and could conceivably such an ax provided for them in the cockpit for safety reasons in case the plane crashed or to repeat the events of 9/11 if you believe that was not a fluke or part of it was a controlled destruction.

Incidentally, Fallows reported last night that Chalmers Johnson has died. In case no one has seen that yet. It wasn't on the NY Times the last time I checked.

Posted by: Buck on November 21, 2010 8:16 AM

no shit!

Posted by: One Fly on November 21, 2010 10:02 AM

Right now I'm a hell of a lot more threatened by airlines that seem to consider "pilot" to be unskilled labor than I am by terrorists. Who is the TSA going to body-search when there's a plane crash because the pilot was too tired from working his second job to concentrate properly on the flying of the plane?

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on November 21, 2010 11:09 AM
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