Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fly The Friendly Skies

"Coffee, tea, or peroxide-based liquid explosive?"

I have to get on a plane tomorrow morning -- my first since the arrest of the British terrorists who were planning a large-scale attack on international flights. I don't look forward to the long lines while waiting to be "screened" by the TSA employees at National Airport. At least I have a few thoughts to occupy my mind during the wait:

1. It has been known for years that terrorists plan to use a liquid cocktail, mixed in flight, to blow up planes. The Bush Administration's response has been -- almost nothing. The technology to discern potentially lethal liquids in carry-on bags is a work in progress but the Bush team has never pushed hard to close the gap. In fact, the Department of so-called Homeland Security sought to cut $6 million from the budget to develop dependable detection devices (Congress woke up just long enough to stop DHS and then went back to sleep). Question: We've got over $300 billion for an unnecessary war in Iraq but we can't afford a few million to keep our planes in the air?

2. While your water bottle will be confiscated at the gate several hundred pounds of cargo will be loaded onto your plane -- without ANY screening whatsoever. Although some packages (and your bags) are screened, lots of large items (indeed, big enough to hold hundreds of SNAKES) are casually rolled on board. Unless there is a passage in the Koran that commands terrorists to die along with their victims it would seem that all they have to do is start shipping bombs similar to the one that brought Pan Am Flight 103 down on the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Of course, Lockerbie was almost 20 years ago so we can't expect the Bush team to have its act together yet. Besides, the security around the cargo areas at most airports is essentially non-existent, so the terrorists could save postage by simply walking up to the warehouse and leaving a "boom" box.

3. And let's not even think about shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missles. After all, it's a safe bet that Bush isn't, either.

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