Dec 29 2009
When faced with a critical challenge I guess some people just need to feel like they are doing something, so they concoct useless and inane gestures to make it seem like they are doing their job. Then there is the whole ‘fool the people’ gambit as well, where you try and simply snooker people into believing you are doing a great job. Of course there is the big pretend, where you are kidding yourself into believing you have a handle on things, when in fact you should be stepping aside and letting someone else give it a go. Preferably someone selected for demonstrable skills and successes.
Whatever the root cause, the new security precautions imposed by panicked and not very inventive bureaucrats in response to the barely foiled Christmas Day Massacre aboard Northwest Flight 253 are going to be classic examples of useless & inane gestures of false security. Whoever thought these up is truly operating above their skill level – as Christopher Hitchens pointedly notes today:
No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won’t be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But 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.
But I’d be wasting my time pointing this out to 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 ofÂ 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.
For some years after 9/11, passengers were forbidden to get up and use the lavatory on the Washington-New York shuttle. Zero tolerance! I suppose it must eventually have occurred to somebody that this ban would not deter a person who was willing to die, so the rule was scrapped. But now the principle has been revisited for international flights. For many years afterÂ the explosion of the TWA plane over Long Island (a disaster that was later found to have nothing at all to do with international religious nihilism), you could not board an aircraft without being asked whether you had packed your own bags and had them under your control at all times. These two questions are the very ones to which a would-be hijacker or bomber would honestly and logically have to answer “yes.” But answering “yes” to both was a condition of being allowed on the plane! Eventually, that heroic piece of stupidity was dropped as well. But now fresh idiocies are in store. Nothing in your lap during final approach.
It truly is mind boggling how utterly stupid these protective measures were and are. Sadly, the brief restriction on pillows and blankets is a warning sign we have some serious incompetents in charge of our collective national security at the moment. Let’s just say that the bomb used on Fight 253 should not have fizzled but exploded, making the pillow or blanket unnecessary. There are plenty of stealthy ways to make a robust detonator from things that will pass security check points.
It is not those dastardly airline pillows which threaten us. It is people who are not maintaining watch lists, taking alerts from concerned parents seriously, or maintaining a vigilance required of those under attack from self proclaimed enemies. If you find yourself replacing the word ‘terrorism’ with ‘man-caused-disasters’ you are not defending, you are in serious denial.
And when it is pointed out that your response is pathetic, confused, incoherent ,and your response is ‘it’s not my fault’, then you really need to step aside. Because it is your responsibility, and that includes realizing you are not up for the job and that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of more qualified people who could better protect us.
So far, this administration’s response to the barely dodged Christmas Day massacre has been horrifying. What we are seeing is the result of electing an inexperienced person surrounded by a naive team whose collective ignorance is only outpaced by their arrogance.
When the next attack comes the Democrats will be held responsible – for decades to come. Unless they start making some serious changes, now.