Patterico's Pontifications

7/17/2004

Government vs. Common Sense

Filed under: Air Security,Terrorism — Patterico @ 6:24 am

Relevant to that “Terror in the Skies” story about the 14-man Syrian band with a penchant for using (and taking objects with them to) the airplane lavatory:

If I headed Al Qaeda, I would assign some Arab people to create incidents on airplanes (like this), get tossed off, and file some discrimination suits. Once those suits were settled, and the airlines appropriately cowed, I would be able to send my terrorists onto a plane en masse — and if anyone tried to search them, I’d instruct them to cry “discrimination!”

But Osama doesn’t need to do this, because the government is already doing this work for him. As the New York Times reported in April, since 9/11 our very own U.S. government has filed and settled numerous lawsuits against various airlines for alleged discrimination against “travelers believed to have been of Arab, Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian descent.” As part of the settlement, the airlines (including American, United, and Continential) are required “to provide civil rights training over the next two years to its pilots and cabin crew.” In Continental’s case, the settlement provides that the training “must cost the company no less than $500,000.”

The government is no doubt using these suits to enforce its ridiculous policy preventing more than two people of the same ethnic persuasion from being singled out for extra security procedures.

I discussed these lawsuits, and the sensitive topic of rational discrimination, in this post in April.

There’s no question about it, folks. Our government is actively working against the use of common sense in combating terrorism.

This lack of common sense is, of course, the ultimate lesson of the 14-man Syrian band story — whether that article describes a group of Al Qaeda terrorists, or just a bunch of musicians with bladder problems.


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