By now, you all are aware that yet another privileged young extremist man, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarded an airplane bound for the United States with the intention of blowing the plane up and in doing so, ending hundreds of innocent civilian lives. If you know that, then you also know that several passengers and the authorities caught Abdulmutallab as he tried to detonate explosives shortly before the Northwest Airlines flight was scheduled to land in Detroit — explosives smuggled in his underpants. What was President Obama’s reaction? Astonishingly, instead of reacting in a thoughtful way, he “did a George W. Bush” by reacting in the same mindless, kneejerk way that Bush was famous for: attacking the civil rights of innocent people by ordering that all air travelers in America undergo yet more invasive and degrading security checks.
Nevermind that such increased security screening would not have stopped Abdulmutallab since he was flying into the USA and had already passed through at least two security checks already.
Instead of asking how Abdulmutallab managed to board this flight, President Obama instead accepts that he deserved to board the plane — he paid for his ticket, didn’t he? Nevermind the fact that Abdulmutallab originally boarded his flight in Lagos, Nigeria — an airport that is recognized internationally as having generally subpar security. Nevermind that Abdulmutallab paid more than $2000 in cash for his ticket — a considerable sum of cash in any country. Nevermind that he did not carry or check any baggage for this long international flight. Nevermind that he was already on an international watchlist after being barred from entering the UK for claiming he was studying at a bogus college there. Nevermind that embassy officials were warned several weeks ago by Abdulmutallab’s own father regarding his growing concerns over his son’s increasingly extremist ideas.
All of this information was already known by airport security personnel. Any one of these behaviors is a “red flag” to airline security indicating an increased potential for terrorist behavior. Taken together, all of these “red flags” are sufficient to be added to an international “no fly” list. Yet all of these “red flags” were ignored at the Nigeria airport and at the Amsterdam airport, where Abdulmutallab boarded his connecting flight to Detroit.
Instead of using the information that they already have in their possession, President Obama openly advocates attacking every airline passenger’s civil rights through the use of full-body scans, which are expensive, time-consuming, ineffective and are a gross invasion of personal privacy.
One such full-body scan technology are “backscatter” machines, which cost more than $200,000 per unit. These machines reveal anything that a person is concealing on their body — from lost tailor’s pins in their suit jacket linings and nipple and belly button rings to sanitary napkins in women’s panties. These items appear on the scan as a “as kind of a gray mass,” according to Douglas Laird, former security director for Northwest airlines. When these “grey masses” show up on a scan, do I need to tell you what the inevitable reaction will be?
But full-body scans are yet another kneejerk reaction. Need I point out that few existing scanners can detect weapons carried inside a person’s body? Shall we require a complete body cavity search for every passenger prior to boarding their flights?
Need I point out that few existing scanners can detect chemical weapons? The equipment that we currently have can only detect one chemical at a time and must be recalibrated for each substance. How many weeks prior to our scheduled flights must we show up at the airport?
Worse, biological weapons are undetectable using current scanning technology — remember anthrax?
Oh, and need I mention that every pervert and misogynist will immediately leave the Catholic priesthood to receive training as a body scan screener at their local airport?
Where will this renewed demand for increased “security” bring us? Will all airline passengers be required to strip down completely and fly naked? This scenario isn’t as tongue-in-cheek as you might think. Don’t forget we are required to remove our shoes before passing through security due to infamous “shoe bomber” Richard Reid’s attempt to smuggle explosives aboard a flight in his shoes in December 2001. We aren’t allowed to bring liquids on board flights because of the 2006 plot to blow up jetliners using explosive liquids, discovered in the UK. Don’t forget that new mothers were forced to drink their own breast milk meant for their babies due to this particular security requirement.
Thanks to Abdulmutallab, I expect that the next time I fly, I will be required to take my panties off and send those through whatever security inspections are required, which will probably include a sniff test administered by a specially-trained pervert with a keen nose.