Friday, October 29, 2010 at 5:10 AM
Like me, every frequent flyer I know has complained about the useless and overly intrusive security measures that have worsened the nuisance and stress involved in traveling these days tenfold. Here, for example, is a sample of the simmering indignation I’ve expressed in this respect:
9/11 has made us permanent hostages to amorphous threats by Osama bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda jihadists…; surveillance cameras monitor our movements as if we were all terror suspects; and the security screenings one has to go through have become a surreal fusion of the sublime and ridiculous that leaves one inured even to the most intrusive or asinine measures. Apropos of this, instead of everyone taking off his/her shoes for scanning, some people should be required to keep on their smelly shoes in the interest of public health!
(Washington scrambles … terror alert, The iPINIONS Journal, May 11, 2005)
There’s a great deal of handwringing (and some finger pointing too) going on over the spectacular failure of post-9/11 security measures to prevent an al-Qaeda wannabe terrorist from nearly blowing up a Northwest jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day. But I fear that, ultimately, only dumb luck will be our saving grace (as it was in this case - with all due respect to the passengers who finally jumped him after his detonator failed)…
[Anyway] here’s to getting over prudish self-consciousness and welcoming all-seeing, full-body scans…. Mind you, nothing demonstrates what a haphazard farce airport security has become quite like the fact that, after the shoe bomber bungled his attempt in December 2001, we were led to believe that every passenger had to take off his/her shoes for separate scanning to ensure air safety. For if this made any logical sense, after this underwear bomber bungled his attempt, surely every passenger would have been required henceforth to take off his/her underwear for separate scanning…, no?
(Terror in the sky…, The iPINIONS Journal, December 29, 2010)
[N]o matter how many “enhanced” security measures are implemented at airports across the U.S., there’s no way to ensure that similar measures will be implemented at every airport across the globe from which over two thousand flights depart for the U.S. each day…
Obama should lead, and the U.S. should fund, a global initiative to standardize airport security. And more priority should be given to training airport personnel to properly screen or profile travelers based on established factors than to having them frisk people, including old ladies, indiscriminately.
Ultimately, though, I cannot reiterate enough how delusional it is to think that America can win this war against terrorism – when the mere threat of an al Qaeda attack, or even a man carelessly walking into a restricted area of an airport, is enough to panic and evacuate airports from coast to coast.
(Obama: We screwed up…, The iPINIONS Journal, January 8, 2010)
Yet, despite the patent absurdity and evident futility of America’s airport security measures, one would’ve been hard pressed to find a single government or airline official anywhere to acknowledge this (on the record) until today. For here’s how ABC News reported yesterday on a veritable insurrection that is developing among European officials about having to comply with these security measures:
European air officials accused the United States of imposing useless and overly intrusive travel security measures, calling Wednesday for the Obama administration to reexamine policies ranging from online security checks to X-raying shoes.
British Airways’ chairman made the first in a wave of complaints, saying in a speech to airport operators that removing shoes and taking laptops out of bags were “completely redundant” measures demanded by the U.S. He was joined less than 24 hours later by British pilots, the owner of Heathrow airport, other European airlines, and the European Union.
And to get a sense of how suffused with indignation these complaints are, here’s the clarion call British Airways’ chairman Martin Broughton has sounded:
[British authorities should not] kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done. We shouldn’t stand for that.
(ABC News, October 27, 2010)
Hear, hear! I just hope these Europeans – who have become infamous for speaking loudly but swinging a small stick – find the balls to finally defy the Americans. Because the only way to force the Obama administration to get rid of these useless and overly intrusive security measures, almost all of which were implemented by the fascistic Bush administration, is for European officials to demonstrate their abject folly by refusing to comply with them.