2011-12-02 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

Scale Back Airport Screening
By Peter Stubben

A sick and thick fog of evil enveloped the earth on September 11, 2001. One week later America was again under attack ... this time by obscene homegrown terrorists who attacked unsuspecting American media outlets and members of Congress with one of the world’s most deadly bacteria ... spores of anthrax. In both cases America’s advanced transport and communications networks were used against us.

The new President – who campaigned against meddling and muddling in foreign affairs – reversed himself immediately; put the US on a war footing; dispatched expeditionary forces to Afghanistan and then to Iraq on missions of search and destroy; and then reformatted and shored-up domestic security through the Patriot Act into Homeland Security. Not since WWII has domestic security played such an intimate role in American life.

Today – ten years later – those domestic and foreign enemies are decimated ... by the brilliance of our in- telligence operations and our military’s superb and deadly force. The wild forces of asymmetric evil now sit at the table of world affairs with ‘aces and eights,‘ while their offspring – the young men and women of the Arab street – clamor for democracy and freedom! The cost in American (and Rockaway’s) blood has been formidable ... 1,716 soldiers killed and 14,837 wounded in Afghanistan and 4,484 soldiers killed and 31,921 wounded in Iraq. On the other hand, our so-called allies governing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan still stealthily finance networks of terrorism.

As we win and evil loses, President Obama is rolling back America’s on-theground military presence in the Mideast. Likewise – I ask – isn’t it time for our President to also roll back America’s domestic security too ... especially at our 375 airports? I think so. A wacko would-be terrorist once tried to take down a plane with a shoe-bomb and FAILED (thank God!) ... now more than one million airline passengers per day must ‘de-shoe’ before boarding. For the business rep making a call in Chicago Monday morning and returning, he’s gotta take off his shoes twice that day in the name of American security: How Absurd! A wacko would-be terrorist once tried to take down a plane with a bomb in his underwear and FAILED (thank God!) ... resulting in x-rays and pat-downs for 1.7 million airline passengers per day in America. Again, for the business commuter that’s twice per day, but for the family visiting Grandma for the holidays it’s a one-hour (or more) wait in line and then pat-down humiliations with TSA personnel: How Absurd! Further, all travelers are subject to such outlandishly foolish TSA requirements as 3-ounce lotion bottles, rolled up toothpaste tubes and quart-sized Ziploc bags all time-wastingly measured, calibrated and checked by 65,000 TSA employees.

Enough already!!! Must the 720 million Americans to fly next year continue to have their dirty underwear and shoes clumsily and clunkily handled by 65,000 TSA agents? For security, Mr. President – not just overseas but at our airports, too – let’s substitute Rumsfeld’s ‘strategic’ for Clausewitz’s ‘overwhelming.‘

Open up our skies, our transportation systems and our communication networks, I would suggest for the New Year, to intelligent, thoughtful but SELECTIVE screenings.

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