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.

9 Responses to “Government vs. Common Sense”

  1. Amen. I flew over the July 4th holiday, and the screeners were there en masse. Doing nothing. Questioning no one. No one asked me about my birthday present carry-on, a ceramic cookie jar with a tightly closed lid. It was a big joke. But no one was offended, and lots of union guys now have cushy jobs.

    I think the terrorists will try to attack via air, precisely because of the humiliation to our security it would afford. Bush will then lose, Kerry will win, and we will become Israel.

    PJ (133563)

  2. One hopes the “civil rights training” provided to the pilots includes a lengthy session on the 2nd amendment.

    ras (edf21c)

  3. Yup at the very least this article highlights some very serious problems with our Government. They are part of the problem and it looks like it will take a few or more thousand of us to die before we get motivated enough to fix it.

    Pierre Legrand

    Pierre Legrand (b29911)

  4. “Our government is actively working against the use of common sense in combating terrorism.”

    This is exactly the conclusion I have arrived at as well.

    I also think that the innocent people who are a part of the class being profiled are protected just as much as anyone else by this action. They need to realize it is for their benefit as well as the entire population.

    I don’t expect many to understand that though, they will be too busy screaming “Discrimination!”.

    Jim (9ca764)

  5. Until I read the article I had no idea that airlines were being punished for these obvious security precautions. Maybe that’s part of the problem. If the airlines loudly and repeatedly made this sort of nonsnese public then it’d be much more embarassing to the gov’t then to them.

    Imagine the impact of airlines publically stating “Well, we’d like to actually make you safer, instead of just inconveniencing you. But the government has other priorities they believe are more important.”

    Bryan C (eca9a7)

  6. No more than two of any particular persuasion? Odd. Of the past four times I’ve flown since March 10th, I’ve been singled out for just such extra security measures every single time. If memory serves, all of whom were singled out were white males, although there might have been a female or two.

    RedLion (3a8c4e)

  7. Terror in the skies? Or in the courts?
    Is it conceivable that terrorists or their supporters might resort to litigation as one means of pursuing their goals? I don’t know, but I have something I thought I should share. James Lileks makes an excellent point while contemplating a…

    Classical Values (6ec4b2)

  8. Terror in the Skies Again…or how Donald Sensing is trying his best to discredit this story.
    The FBI was skeptical of its agents when they wanted to examine Moussaui’s computer, Atta’s roommates telephone number was on that computer, one opportunity to stop 9/11, poof. Cause? Political Correctness and a unhealthy skepticism of the sort that ca…

    The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill (4e4387)

  9. Trojan Huddle: Monday Morning QB edition
    Monday morning is the day for second-guessing; it is always easier to be quarterbacking when you know what happened the day before…and today’s blogosphere is in a tizzy over things said over the weekend: The Government is hurting its own…

    BoiFromTroy (96766d)


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