December 27, 2009

Airline Travel Enters Lower Ring of Hell

From this day on, the official language
of San Marcos will be Swedish.
ln addition to that, all citizens will be required
to change their underwear every half hour.
Underwear will be worn on the outside -- so we can check.  
[General Esposito, driven mad by power,  gives a speech following the 
successful revolution in Woody Allen's "Bananas." (1971)]

I'm so glad the "system worked," as Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, assured us this morning, having read and memorized her copy of the memo from the Message Control Team at Obama, Inc. Can you imagine what a tragedy we would have had on our hands if the system hadn't worked so well?

It's worth a shot, you know, requiring all airline passengers to wear their underwear on the outside from now on. It would be fun to see (in some cases - not all, of course. It might be a better rule for Brazil.). Plus, this new rule would fit right in with the Me Too approach of the TSA in reaction to any given breakdown. Whatever a specific terrorist does, in a specific instance, becomes the basis of the new rule. For example, this guy Abdulmuttalab waited till the flight was on its final approach (spooky new implication there) before he went to the bathroom, put a blanket over his lap and tried to set his pants on fire. So the new rule is that you can't have anything on your lap, and you can't go to the bathroom, during the last hour of the flight. The Shoe Bomber tried to blow up his shoes, so now you have to take off yours. Those British flakes were going to make bombs out of liquids. So now you can only bring 3 oz. bottles on board. Whatever just happened, that's what they're going to prevent. This should tell you all you need to know about the reality of this "security."

The last hour of the flight isn't actually the problem, of course. But since the Department of Homeland Security won't do its job, they use words and the imagery of safety in place of actual security. Why can we go to the bathroom and put something on our laps in the middle of the flight? My guess is that this was what Abdulmuttalab actually had in mind when he boarded the plane in Amsterdam - to blow the plane up over the Atlantic. He lost his nerve, he lost track of the time, the in-flight movie was too good - something held him up so that he waited eight hours or so before he tried to detonate the bomb.

The "system" didn't work. What also didn't work was the detonator - that's all that saved those souls aboard the Northwest/Delta flight, and everybody knows it. The "system" had this guy on a list, and that data point was enhanced by the warnings given by his prominent banker father to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. The way that Napolitano and Robert Gibbs and the rest of them are reporting the story now is that the warning from the father took the form, "My son has gotten extremely religious."

I don't know why they start out like this every time, because we all know this story is not going to hold up. We're getting into the Soviet mode now: "No fact is true until the government officially denies it."

I'm trying to imagine an analogy. Let's say that I know a Greek citizen, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, who wants to go to mass every day, who keeps talking about Orthodox liturgy all the time, and I become concerned. So then I call the Greek Consulate and tell them, "My friend Constantine, he was always Orthodox, but now he's gotten very, very Orthodox. I think you should look into it."

The father of Abdulmutallab said more than that, or he wouldn't have called the U.S. Embassy. He was trying to avoid the very thing that almost happened two days ago - he knew his son was hanging around with Islamic radicals and had become dangerous.

But we have to listen to Janet Napolitano tell us about how the "system worked." The hell it did. This is essentially the same pathetic lesson not learned after 9-11. The FBI, the field offices, did their work. They reported that a group of Arabs were taking flying lessons in a very unconventional way - midflight steering, but no landing or takeoffs. And the CIA had followed two al-Qaeda operatives and 9-11 conspirators from Malaysia to Southern California - and then they were allowed to live unmolested in San Diego, even listing their names in the phone book. So after all of that, this new bureaucracy, this tremendously expensive, complicated Department of Homeland Security, gets set up and basically does the same thing all over again.

And they can't tell the truth about it. They can spin it, they can drench you with the cognitive dissonance of telling you (as Napolitano did this morning) that travelers are "completely safe," even when the events of Christmas Day refute this statement as it leaves her mouth. Let's face it: they don't do anything. Their internal testing and monitoring constantly demonstrate that it's easy to get explosives, guns, knives, small nuclear devices through airport screening. The only safety is in numbers - there are many more flights than would-be terrorists. That's it. That's your margin of error, and asking you to hold it for the last hour of the flight isn't going to make any difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment