Because of the reaction of the American people to heightened security at U.S. and other airports in response to the United Kingdom’s Thursday announcement that it had broken up a terrorist plot to blow up planes en route from the U.K. to the U.S., the Homeland Stupidity threat level has been raised to HIGH (orange).
The Home Office said Thursday that it had arrested 24 people across the U.K. in connection with a terrorist plot to carry liquid explosives onto planes from the U.K. to the U.S., assemble a bomb in flight and blow up the planes over the Atlantic Ocean.
Transportation Security Administration officials immediately boosted the terror alert for commercial air travel and banned liquids and gels from passengers’ carry-on luggage. The prohibited items included shampoo, bottles of water, hair spray and sunblock.
“This was clearly an active plot, clearly going to be a massive devastating attack, and we just are not going to take any chances on that,” TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said in an interview. — Washington Post
TSA also screened people at gates and began more thorough screening of checked luggage.
Homeland Security also threw what little common sense it still had into the ubiquitous trash cans, he said, which they brought out very early Thursday morning just for the occasion.
“Even the pilots, some of whom are allowed to bring guns onto the plane, can’t even bring a cup of coffee,” the screener said. “I’m surprised that pilots don’t get an exemption; they don’t need a bomb to bring down the plane.”
This screener asked the common sense question of whether sealed, unopened drink containers could be brought on board, at which point even his co-workers heckled him. “I’m surrounded by retards,” he said.
A terrorist plot disrupted in 1995, known as the Bojinka plot, involved smuggling explosives on board airplanes in bottles of contact lens cleaner. And U.S. and British officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the U.K. terror plot involved smuggling liquid explosives in sports drink bottles, assembling an explosive device in flight and detonating it using a consumer electronic device such as an MP3 player.
Lines at U.S. airports began stretching for hours, and Americans, who for some reason persist in holding a fantasy of living in a free country, just took it.
“I just think it goes from sublime to ridiculous when I can’t bring contact lens solution on a plane,” said Garnet Woodham, 43, of Silver Spring, Md. “Now they allow scissors, but they don’t allow deodorant, shaving cream or cologne? I’m willing to curtail some of my liberties in the interest of public safety and flying, but at some point, it’s enough already.”
Just how much of your freedom are you willing to give up before you say enough is enough?
Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said he appreciated quick action and hoped better measures were put in place soon.
“If one week from today we’re still having three-block-long security lines looking for toothpaste and everybody is the same threat, then they will have overdone it,” Woerth said, adding that he was concerned that the government’s first response to such incidents is to “paralyze the system.”
“No system can survive if everyone is treated like Osama bin Laden himself,” he said. “We need to move away from that kind of system. Is this forever, at every airport, everyday? We’re going back to two-hour security lines and missed connections. What are we doing here?” — Washington Post
“You can see from the disruptions why no action was taken against that until it was deemed necessary,” said Robert Ayers, a terrorism expert with Chatham House in London. “The question is what’s practical? Where do you draw the line? Flights could be even safer if everybody was required to fly naked and with no luggage.”
And the point of this dog and pony show is not to make people safe. The point is to make people feel safe. Only by first terrorizing the people, (PDF) and then offering to make them feel better, could these egregious violations of our liberty be carried out — and then demanded by the people!
President Bush on Thursday called this terrorism plot “a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.”
Anyone in the U.S. who actually wants freedom risks getting shot by someone with a badge and a very large gun, and very frequently do get shot, which is why I’m starting to have trouble telling the difference.
The government not only cannot make you safe, that’s not why it’s there. It’s there to make itself safe from you. It has no responsibility to protect you, the courts have repeatedly said. And if security fails, you have no recourse.
If you want real security, rather than this giant illusion, get it out of the hands of the government.
And about those terrorists: They keep coming because the U.S. foreign policy invites them. They don’t hate our freedom; they hate our government screwing around in the Middle East and other places it doesn’t belong.
That wasn’t just my own conclusion; it was the conclusion of a Pentagon report (MP3) to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But as long as the U.S. continues to meddle in the affairs of other countries, there will continue to be terrorist attacks against the U.S.
Our foreign policy, according to Thomas Jefferson, should be: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” It’s never been so in my lifetime. And that’s why you aren’t safe.