Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BURN: The Collective's TSA Civil Liberty Two-Step

Fisking a Eugene Robinson piece is too easy.  I feel guilty...most of the time.  "Fish in a barrel..." and all that.  But Robinson and several other Collectivist "thinkers" are curiously comfy with the TSA police-state policies, and they invert both fact and logic...again.  Some more...

Eugene starts from this premise; sure, the TSA policy is stinking bad, but the only alternative is the civil-liberty destroying monster of PROFILING.  Those two choices he offers us, and nothing more.
Sure, the "don't touch my junk" guy touched a nerve. I spend enough time fighting my way through airport security lines to share his frustration at ever-changing procedures that seem capricious, intrusive and sometimes just bizarre. But what, specifically, is the alternative?  [My emphasis]
Apparently, Eugene does not have time to read.  Or think much.  Why, for instance, were we not subjected to invasive pat-downs nearly a year ago, when the Fruit-Of-Kaboom bomber very successfully brought a bomb aboard a US bound flight?  The TSA says that the full-body scan machines were not ready before recently, but TSA people with hands and gloves were in no short supply a year ago.  Why now?

If Eugene could find the time, he would read excellent mind-expanding pieces like this, from Michael Totten, describing the Israeli method for airline security.  I mean, I'm a practicing attorney, and I found the time.  Eugene would have learned that RACIAL PROFILING is not what the Israelis do.

They also don't look for stuff primarily.  They look for people.  They are PROACTIVE, where our TSA is REACTIVE.  We are looking for the stuff people used LAST TIME.  Which is beyond stupid.  The 9/11 murderers weaponized airliners using OUR REACTIVE POLICY in response to conventional hijacking.  They used box-cutters, so all "sharp objects" are now verboten (including finger-nail files).  Never mind that one can kill you at least as effectively with a common ball-point pen (which nobody cares about).

What the critics really mean is not that the TSA should let underwear bombers board planes. What they're saying is: Don't search me, and don't search my grandmother. Just search the potential terrorists.
Hmmm...  That sounds SUPER REASONABLE to me.  Eugene never offers any rationale why that might be a bad idea, except...
In other words, they want profiling. That's a seductive idea, I suppose, if you don't spend a lot of time worrying about civil liberties. But it couldn't possibly work. Our terrorist enemies may be evil, but they're not stupid.
"Profiling"...OMG, we could not have THAT.  But some of us DO spend a lot of time worrying about civil liberties...and how the tension between them and public safety ALWAYS has to be carefully weighed.  Eugene and Howard Kurtz, among other Collectivists, seem quite sanguine about the CIVIL LIBERTY invasions the TSA thinks are mandatory.
If we only search people who "look like terrorists," al-Qaeda will send people who don't fit the profile.
But nobody suggests that we do that, Eugene.  Nobody.  That would be as stupid as our TSA policy is right now.  We have the INTELLIGENCE to deal PROACTIVELY with terrorist threats, and that would not entail stupid prohibitions on U.S. air travelers, mowing down civil liberties, OR worse than useless practices that expose us to another attack.


  1. The Israelis use another tool. There are trained observers watching everyone in the terminal on CCTV. You can train and practice all you want to - but when you are getting ready to blow yourself up your behavior changes in recognizable patterns.

    The TSA suffers another shortfall compared to Israel. If your "officers" make only $17-20K you get what you pay for. Sorry, but simple observation tells you the majority of these folks are obese and not highly intelligent. Couldn't make the police academy, so settle for anything where they can wear a badge.

  2. A COMPANY of trained, intelligent, EFFECTIVE people is always better than an army of bumblers.

    Seems a no-brainer.