Sunday, January 3, 2010

Prepare for the Pat-Down

Following the failed Christmas Kamikaze attack a week ago, the Transportation Security Administration announced that travelers flying to the US will face heightened screening measures. Passengers from 14 countries will be patted down and their carry on items will be searched. These are citizens of the following countries:

I wanted to test our readers' pulse and get an idea for what you think about these measures.
Will they make us safer?

Update: Colbert shares his views on the matter

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Ideal or No Deal
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy


Bill said...

Will this apply only to passengers who fly from one of those 14 countries to the United States, or for citizens of those 14 countries whenever they fly from anywhere (like, say Europe or Canada) to the United States?

Gregory said...

Will this really be enough?

What do you guys think about this:

Henry Vasquez said...

Let's make sure that this doesn't turn into a party issue. This problem runs deep through all of government. It was a problem for Bush's administration and it is a problem for Obama's administration. It is difficult to find the right balance. But I agree, there are times when security needs to be able to do its job effectively, and sometimes the internal politics of an agency can get in the way.

Gregory said...

I don't claim that under Bush we were doing this correctly either. And the dude being interviewed in that article was part of the Clinton administration (and other administrations as well).

But it does seem that political correctness is a culprit in this recent security failure.

Bill said...

I think the intelligence community should take responsibility for their own failings in this circumstance, rather than laying the blame on the nebulous "political correctness" boogeyman.

I agree with Woolsey that more scrutiny should be applied to men in their 20s and 30s, especially those who pay in cash or don't have luggage, but security's failure to do so in this most recent example doesn't strike me as an example of "political correctness". It sounds more like laziness.

I think another problem that he correctly pinpointed was the problem of the politicization of the intelligence community, but I fail to see the connection between "political correctness" and imposing artificial caps to a no-fly list.

This, along with the fact that in the same interview he argues against racial and religious profiling, makes me wonder if Woolsey even understands what "political correctness" means. It almost seems like he took a meaningless swipe at a favorite conservative whipping boy to appease the National Review's audience. I liken it to when I sneak my dog's medicine into a piece of cheese to get him to eat it.

Btw, if so-called "political correctness" was in any way inhibiting our ability to prevent terrorist attacks, that's certainly no longer the case if we're basing our searches on passengers' national origin.

ShamRockNRoll said...

As this specific policy is concerned, I really don't have a problem with it. But it sure isn't a silver bullet. There do need to be more comprehensive risk-based security measures in place, not just "random" screenings and things of that sort.

Gregory said...

I too found it to be funny that Woolsey was politically correct in his attack on political correctness. I'll chalk that up to the exigencies of contemporary political discourse, and not to idiocy on his part.

This national origin thing is indeed somewhat anti-PC, but it's pretty mild. And probably fairly ineffective. What about all the Islamist terrorists from Western nations? I think they might as well make some even more un-PC rules (though I guess I wouldn't necessarily expect them to make this rule public.) I think this case and the Hasan case shows how some people still value political correctness and ideology over actually keeping people safe from murder. Does anyone here actually think treating Muslims and non-Muslims as if they were equally likely to be terrorists is an effective way to fight terrorism? We should also consider psychological profiling, which the Israelis use. E.g. watch how people react to surprising noises or visuals in the airport. Apparently they've got it down to a science or something.

And I don't understand the dichotomy: that we should either blame the intelligence community or political correctness. I think I'm blaming the political correctness (and stupidity, etc.) of the intelligence community. I don't see why I need to choose one or the other.

ShamRockNRoll said...

Blaming political correctness is setting up a straw man. I fail to see how being "politically correct" resulted in any security breach. It's simply a lack of innovation in security measures within DHS. This can be improved, but I also find it silly to think that we can keep every potential terrorist off a plane.