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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 11/19/2010

How much will we do to ensure the terrorists don't win?

By Kevin Huffman

My daughter's middle school debate team began work two weeks ago on its new topic: Should the Transportation Security Administration use full-body scanners to search airline passengers? After some research and some soul-searching, she came out squarely on the side of the Don't Touch My Junk man, saying, "I think those guys are pervs."

John Tyner's iPhone and YouTube-enabled outburst at the long groping arm of the federal law is now a viral archetype of 21st century libertarian theory. And while Tyner may not be the next Milton Friedman, he burst into public consciousness the same week George Bush and Dick Cheney returned to center stage and Ahmed Ghailani faced a jury of "his peers" in New York City, providing a stark reminder that we are now in our tenth year of grappling with the same unavoidable question: How much freedom are we willing to trade for incrementally more security?

If you answered "lots," then you are squarely in the mainstream of American public thought. Tyner may be an internet folk hero for trying to stick it to The Man, but it turns out 80 percent of the country thinks we should get scanned or groped.

I'm confident next week's polling will show a similarly high number of Americans think Ghailani got off light, using legal niceties like the right to counsel to walk on 284 of 285 counts. He didn't really walk per se, since he got 20 years-to-life, but did you see him hug his lawyers at the end? We can't let the terrorists win!

That's the beauty of being a terrorist in a free society, of course: you win even by losing.

Rarely have we seen two more ridiculous villains than the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, each of their evil plots foiled when they were unceremoniously man-handled by fellow passengers and tied to the seats. Yet every time we travel now, the shoes come off and... just a quick little peek inside your undies, por favor.

The Post's editorial board defended the practice Friday, writing that "the government would be irresponsible not to employ all reasonable means -- and all available technology -- to protect the lives of innocent people."

But if looking at or touching our junk is "reasonable," what is unreasonable? And if we deploy all available technology, in a world in which technology governs every aspect of our lives, where does it end? You can have your life, good sir, but please hand over those last scraps of liberty.

Charles Krauthammer dislikes the scanners too, but he argues that the solution is to truncate this freedom-wrenching process. Since, as he writes, "everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness," we should just hand-pick a smaller group of people to violate. Presumably we can just do a quick Koran check and subject that crowd to a little touchy-feely. What's a little First and Fourth Amendment among friends?

Seeing Bush and Cheney on stage in Texas brought reality crashing home for me. These guys took our national anxiety and used it to dramatically expand federal power. Republicans today may pretend to hate big government, but nothing has done more to pick our pockets and grope our privates than the global war on terror. You don't like our trillion-dollar deficit? Well how about we let Saddam Hussein nuke you and see how you feel. You don't like starring in an R-rated back office video? How do you like blowing up in mid-air, you pansy!

Like clockwork, when the Ghailani verdict came down, Lynn Cheney and Bill Kristol released a statement with their own unique ode to the American judicial system: "Bad ideas have dangerous consequences. The Obama administration recklessly insisted on a civilian trial for Ahmed Ghailani and rolled the dice in a time of war....this result isn't just embarrassing. It's dangerous. It signals weakness in a time of war."

Did you catch that, America? Remember what we told you: Dangerous. Weak. That's you. Now give me your wallet, your pocket Constitution, and your pants.

The security-at-all-costs crowd tells us at every turn that our rights, our liberties, our way of life are insufficient to protect us against the Richard Reids and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallabs of this world. Yeah, sure, it was the people and not the government who saved our bacon on those flights. And, well, that civilian jury did actually convict Ahmed Ghailani and send him off to jail. But what about next time, huh? Are you willing to risk it?

It's been ten straight years of strip poker for us, as we willingly remove our liberties one garment at a time. We turned Uncle Sam into a perv, and we're now a bunch of faceless naked bodies standing docilely in front of government agents.

But, hey, at least the terrorists haven't won, right?

By Kevin Huffman  | November 19, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Huffman  | Tags:  Kevin Huffman  
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Comments

"You don't like our trillion-dollar deficit? Well how about we let Saddam Hussein nuke you and see how you feel."

Saddam didn't have WMDs, remember?


Posted by: lindalovejones | November 19, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the terrorists don't abide by the 1st and 4th Amendments. But they do seem to cling to the 5th and 6th.

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Posted by: dsfgsdhfsd | November 19, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I do not support, endorse or condone my government taking away my dignity or liberty in the name of "enhanced security". Just because I am standfing in an airport does not mean that I am no longer standing on US soil and am entitled to protection from illegal search and seisure. I have done nothing illegal or suspicious, I am holding a valid boarding pass and possess valid ID that says I am an American born citizen. To be frisked and groped like I am a common criminal has gone too far. There is no oversight. There is no regulations or guidelines that define where security overlaps our rights and dignities.

Posted by: mjoy | November 20, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

You'd think the election would teach people that calling everyone who doesn't agree stupid doesn't work. The TSA has simply crossed a line. It has never happened that a would be terrorist puts his shoes through a scanner and airport security tackles him and saves the day. You can argue that it hasn't happened because they won't try it when people are scanning shoes, but that takes faith. Faith that if he had a bomb in his shoes and put it through the scanner he would be caught. People are willing to take that for granted if all they have to do is take their shoes off. People aren't willing to take it for granted if they have to submit to a search that would be a crime anywhere else. Nobody forgot the intention is to keep people safe, it is just too much of a leap.

Posted by: Dremit97 | November 20, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

"I do not support, endorse or condone my government taking away my dignity or liberty in the name of "enhanced security". Just because I am standfing in an airport does not mean that I am no longer standing on US soil and am entitled to protection from illegal search and seisure. I have done nothing illegal or suspicious, I am holding a valid boarding pass and possess valid ID that says I am an American born citizen. To be frisked and groped like I am a common criminal has gone too far. There is no oversight. There is no regulations or guidelines that define where security overlaps our rights and dignities.

Posted by: mjoy | November 20, 2010 12:38 AM"
=============================

I wholeheartedly agree with you, mjoy, and would like to add that as a US-born citizen who has a Middle Eastern background (though I am an Atheist), I shouldn't also be subjected to humiliation and the loss of my dignity for simply having dark hair and eyes. I am no more of a terrorist than your average next-door neighbor. I have not committed any crimes.

To me, it's disgusting how the same people who are appalled at being groped at airport security are seemingly okay with us Middle Eastern 'subhumans' being groped. (This comment isn't aimed at you, but at others who routinely say that we should profile while in the same breath complaining that they shouldn't be subjected to searches.)

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | November 20, 2010 2:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm saddened to hear any middle school student would even be exploring THIS for a topic.

Highly disturbing to me.

There was a child in a story in the news recently.

He was in fifth grade in 2001, on 9.11.

He's now 20 and fighting in Afghanistan.

I find THAT disturbing.

Imagine recruiters getting at the kids early.

They come out ? and say- I know what I want to do - I want to go fight those terrorists !

This is ALL so wrong.

SO wrong.

I wonder if any recruiter told him the latest statistics on suicide in the US.

20% of ALL suicides in the US are NOW returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maybe they should have been exploring why it is some people in Iraq blow themselves up in suicide and some come home to do it in private - blowing up families.

Had Delay NEVER had abused campaign finances to make sure the GOP took the House ?

We'd never have GONE to Iraq.

Had those pesky genius terrorists driven a car with C4 into the trade center ?

What ? would we be stopping every driver ? and patting them down ?

Did we pat everyone down after McVeigh blew up the FBI building ?

This is so wrong.

Once you start living with the TSA in your lives, the sky is the limit to what civil liberties will be infringed upon next- ALL in the name of those 800,000 FAT jobs at Homeland - growing larger, higher paychecks ! And all to protect the nation that we let Goldman destroy in terms of housing asset value.

I'm REAL SORRY your child's school would ENCOURACE the kids to be engaging in debate about TSA.

It's a crime to rob a child of peace of mind. TSA does just that.

What kind of future do you think the kids think they have to look forward to ?

It's ONE thing to experience a bomb going off, it's ANOTHER to live your ENTIRE LIFE IN FEAR of another one going off.

US is in a state of FEAR - it's Fear terror here on out until the Bachman's and the Palin's and Tea PArty's End Days shows up ? really ?


I hope humanity makes it past this DECADE of ignorance.

Posted by: HRPuffinstuff | November 20, 2010 3:42 AM | Report abuse

from article:

Charles Krauthammer dislikes the scanners too,...

Gee- CHucks face doesn't reveal he likes much at all - I mean, what DOESN'T Chuck dislike.

CHuck was chief of pediatric psychiatrics at Mass Gen hospital, yes, Chuck was a psychiatrist.

It's peculiar he made a reference about Gore being off his lithium. That's not par for quality doctors in my view.

BUT - Imagine if some kid came into Chuck's office "The world is about to end, it's End Days, and the terrorists are going to get us all "

Chuck COuLD say- you're delusional -

OR he could say "Ah, yes, you've been watching Fox News"

Which is it Chuck ?

Fox lives to keep people in fear.

I'm surprised Fox doesn't run ads for anti-psychotics...

Well Fox does have it's handful of psychiatric drug ads.

I wonder who owns stock in the companies Fox promotes.

I find it interesting the three top Christian fundamentalist on Fox News ? LAura Ingraham ? Mike Huckabee and Glenn Beck ? Go figure- they ALL promote fear- and all three just all happen to be on the front page of Goldline.com - they are the 3 official sponsors.

Gee- Gold and Jesus !

Now, Goldline SAYS they sell gold, and bullion, but if you call ? they QUICKLY steer you to these gold coins - which have 50% melt value - so INSTANTLY - you just cut your $200,000 dumped into gold ? worth now $100,000. It's a SCAM - a ripoff.

So is the message they promote.

And last I checked - Krauthammer spends more time on Fox News than he does at the Washington Post.

Looks like Krauthammer went from trying to subdue psychosis in children to instilling it !

To author: Please don't bring Chuck into any reasonal exploration into human nature. The guy is out to lunch at the all you can eat Fox News buffet for fear mongering.

Posted by: HRPuffinstuff | November 20, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

H.R. Pufnstuf,
Who's your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can't do a little cause he can't do enough.

Once upon a summertime
Just a dream from yesterday
A boy and his magic golden flute
Heard a boat from off the bay
"Come and play with me, Jimmy
Come and play with me.
And I will take you on a trip
Far across the sea."

But the boat belonged to a kooky old witch
Who had in mind the flute to snitch
From her broom broom in the sky
She watched her plans materialize
She waved her wand
The beautiful boat was gone
The skies grew dark
The sea grew rough
And the boat sailed on and on and on and on and on and on.

But Pufnstuf was watching too
And knew exactly what to do
He saw the witch's boat attack
And as the boy was fighting back
He called his rescue racer crew
As often they'd rehearsed
And off to save the boy they flew
But who would get there first?

But now the boy had washed ashore
Puf arrived to save the day
Which made the witch so mad and sore
She shook her first and screamed away.

H.R. Pufnstuf,
Who's your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can't do a little cause he can't do enough.

H.R. Pufnstuf,
Who's your friend when things get rough?
H.R. Pufnstuf
Can't do a little cause he can't do enough.

Posted by: HRPuffinstuff | November 20, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Kevin Huffman is a real pundit. The fakes and losers who recently went through the pundit contest are cheap imitations by comparison. This one article is better than the entire list of submissions in the recent contest.

Posted by: jeffy2345 | November 20, 2010 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Still blaming everything on Bush, eh? He's gone -- get over it -- and the latest bugaboos (increased engagement in Afghanistan, irradiation/groping at the airport, multi-trillion dollar deficits) are occurring at the hands of the Obaminator. Hold on tight, 'cause the political pendulum is swinging back to the right, and you might get knocked over by its supersonic shock wave.

Posted by: Apostrophe | November 20, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

The terrorists won a long time ago -- as soon as our country gave into fear and decided to start restricting our liberties.

I still don't understand the reason for a lot of what's really false security at our government buildings.

We need to sign IN at buildings, but there's no need to sign OUT? Hello? What's secure about that?

I watched a repairman with a toolbox waived on through without undergoing ANY security check one day and questioned it, as I fumbled with my belongings to dig out my photo ID. I was castigated by the guard, who then told me the repairman had previously gone through security. Come again? He just needed to go out to his truck to get something? And WHAT was that THING?? Nobody checked...

Then there was the day that the security guards insisted that my 100% human-flesh-and-bone knee was setting off the security wand. Does this equipment even function correctly? Does anyone ever check it?

Is this all for show just to keep the American public "in our place"?

Posted by: Kathy8 | November 20, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

"Like clockwork", indeed.

You should do some research on America in WWII. It wasn't all Glen Miller and the Andrews Sisters. The cognitive dissonance in your head comes from the inability to even openly name and villify your enemy, let alone take the war to them properly.

People endured rationing, blackouts and ever growing federal power then too. Difference was, they had leaders that were working to end the war, not prolong it while jockeying for enhanced global control.

This http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LK20Ak02.html
is from a lefty and I don't wholly suscribe, but it is worth thinking about.

Posted by: jdwill07 | November 20, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

What is this free society? We keep on using free and democracy all this time but we are not a democracy. Noted that in Athens nearly 2/3 of the people were slaves. I don't think 2/3 of american population are slaves...maybe 1/3 considering 20% are unemployed or part time.

Now the freedom part I question as most people get pat downs by the TSA instead of pat down by KGB. I don't think the change in letters are making us free. Considering that almost everyone has a file on them similar to KGB it is not clear this is freedom either. Has anybody noted that computers are in use today.

Still we do have 300 million people in United States and having so many people does give one in 300 million a better change to be overlooked. Is this what everyone means by freedom?

Posted by: artg | November 20, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

The terrorsts have won.

They won when Bush/Cheney decided torture was a-okay. They won when we invaded Iraq. They win while we stay in Afganistan holding the hand of corruption. They win when K Street Lobbyists sold the TSA body scanners that invade each and every consumer trying to fly on the airline with how much radiation? They win with each and every consumer trying to fly home for Thanksgiving by being suject to sexual gropings. They win, we lose.

While evey flyer is being looked through clear to China by the scanner and felt up like a criminal the terrorists is free to walk into any public place in the United States and do their business without anyone paying attention, go figure.

Posted by: rannrann | November 20, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Only in America where we go nuts to protect against failed attempts. So if we get another shooting at a school, should all students go through body scanners? What about malls or mass transit like subways etc?
An NFL coach once carried a gun by mistake into an airport. He was stooped by old metal detector. Was he planning terror, I don't think so.
We must understand that we have to take some risk; otherwise our dignity and our liberty are at risk.
I am considering voting against any politician who supports the body scanners. I will vote for those who oppose it on the basis of protecting our freedom and upholding our dignity.

Posted by: faithemanus | November 20, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

They HAVE won. They have killed thousands, destroyed millions and millions of dollars worth of property and have permanently altered our civil rights and way of life in America.

Posted by: dgal | November 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the terrorists won. They turned us into a nation of frightened people, cowing in fear every time some feeble-minded fanatic comes up with a new way of causing havoc, even though those new threats are ridiculous failures.

All we really need to check for are guns and knives. The Pennsylvania flight on 9/11 proved passengers themselves can prevent box cutters from being effective, and if the cockpit is locked, passengers can't get to the pilots anyhow. .

Posted by: samsara15 | November 20, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting!! Thousands of people are ticked off at the TSA searches and the WP only has one obscure writer who does a story about what his middle school daughter thinks of the fiasco!

Wow! The WP in on top of the story (like the Podunk Junction Gazette!)

What a great paper!!

Posted by: joeblotnik49 | November 20, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Commercial air travel is annoying for the well-to-do who are not quite wealthy enough to fly in general aviation or have their own planes. They have to get on the same planes and breathe the same air as the rest of us schucks do. Any other time they can live in gated communities, cheat on their taxes and their spouses, and do all the other things that they feel their privileged status in life has earned them. This accounts for a large chunk of the 20% who object to TSA screening, I believe.

Posted by: stillaliberal | November 20, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Great column. It is so strange and dispiriting the citizens of the alleged home of the brave and land of the free react like scared little bunnies to every risk, and willingly surrender their civil liberties (But don't raise taxes. Oh no, that would infringe on freedom).

Posted by: dwells3 | November 20, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

There are no winners - only losers. Twenty years is all most murderers get, anyway. How can you say they won?

How could Osama bin laden have known we would waste trillions of dollars going after him? How could he have known we would invade two countries and reign death from above with killer drones all over the world?

How could he have known we would pass totalitarian legislation called the Patriot Act and create Homeland Security to stomp on our Constitutional Rights?

Posted by: alance | November 20, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

In an era of asymmetrical threats and ever-changing risks, we need to balance the urge for political correctness and defense of civil liberties at all costs by scanning grannies along with bearded young men.... or choose to err on the side of caution. Why? To me, the most important right which I cherish above most is the right for me and my family to NOT get blown up while traveling by air or rail.
That matters more than the brief moments of embarrassment, and the reward is that you don't risk sudden death so some nut-job can get an early admission to their vision of a so-called paradise.
If that makes me intolerant, i gladly claim that particular honorific.
Live long and prosper; that's the best revenge.

Posted by: dbsinOakRidge | November 20, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The American people have become just so many sheep that don't mind constant monitoring by the state. Their political leaders trampled underfoot the Constitution many years ago and the majority of people in this country don't know or care that it has happened. So what happened to the Bill of Rights? You all forfeited that birthright. Yes, the terrorists have won and so as the ruling class.

Our federal government lords over us all now and nobody cares. When the Fourth Amendment is so clearly disregarded in the name of security, then just what is it worth? It only represents what we, the people, want it to. If most people desire safety over liberty, then why bother with our protections against unreasonable searches and seizures? Just step into the body scanner, little sheep, and be quiet. Go to sleep now, because your betters have your best interests at heart.

Posted by: txpenguin | November 20, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Baa, baa, black sheep,  Have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, Three bags full.

One for the Master, One for the Dame, One for the little boy Who lives down the lane.

We are a nation of sheep. We are victims of years of government propaganda. Your chances of dying on a jet by terrorists rank right up there with winning 75 million in the mega-lottery jackpot or hit twice by lightening while playing golf or dying from a bee sting. There is no such thing perfect safety.

We are indoctrinated to believe there is an evil terrorist behind every tree or queuing up in line behind us at the airport. People who give up their liberty to fly are pathetic thumb suckers.

Posted by: alance | November 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I am in a wheelchair and get 'patted down' in full view of the traveling public every time I fly. And I talk to airport employees. Between my experiences and what they tell me, I conclude what happens at passenger security checkpoints is strictly theater.

Being groped at the airport is just one act the US government commits in the name of security. US-led Coalition troops have killed thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America has gone deeper into debt over a war that's not winnable.

I would be interested in the author's views on possible solutions. How about it, Mr. Huffman?

Posted by: MsJS | November 20, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm fine with the groping as long as it's in private and I'm groped by attractive females. Heck, serve reasonably-priced drinks along with this service, and I bet lote of men would submit to it voluntarily even if they weren't going to fly that day.

C'mon, TSA. Do something smart for a change. Quit talking about security pat-downs and start advertising free lap dances with every airline ticket....

Posted by: roblimo | November 20, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Where was the Repub outrage against invasions of privacy when Shrub was President? If Mr. Obama decreases security measures he will be "soft on terrorism." Hopefully, Karl Rove get his "junk touched". Sorry to ruin your weekend with that image.

Posted by: BBear1 | November 20, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

But, hey, at least the terrorists haven't won, right?

No you moron Bin laden has got you by your balls by proxy using TSA agents

He has created the fear of the unknown and the Americans are spending billions.

It takes one Nigerian to scare the sh*t out of 310 Million Americans

Posted by: vaders1 | November 20, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

But, hey, at least the terrorists haven't won, right?

No you moron Bin laden has got you by your balls by proxy using TSA agents

He has created the fear of the unknown and the Americans are spending billions.

It takes one Nigerian to scare the sh*t out of 310 Million Americans

Posted by: vaders1 | November 20, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

But, hey, at least the terrorists haven't won, right?

No you moron Bin laden has got you by your balls by proxy using TSA agents

He has created the fear of the unknown and the Americans are spending billions.

It takes one Nigerian to scare the sh*t out of 310 Million Americans

Posted by: vaders1 | November 20, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

But, hey, at least the terrorists haven't won, right?

No you moron Bin laden has got you by your balls by proxy using TSA agents

He has created the fear of the unknown and the Americans are spending billions.

It takes one Nigerian to scare the sh*t out of 310 Million Americans

Posted by: vaders1 | November 20, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Huffman looks at two stupid ideas and concludes one stupid idea is right and the other is wrong:

1. Treating an enemy combatant as someone that gains full US Constitutional Rights once they pick up a gun or bomb and tried to use it against a US soldier or civilian for their sides "cause" must - "only be treated like a civilian, and subjected ONLY to civilian criminal trials". Because we ALL know that a Jihadi or a Nazi saboteur us indistinguishable from a mugger! Or a deadbeat dad!

Huffman's argument is the civilian jury, if too stupid to understand the guy killed 200+ people in an enemy attack on an embassy - still "convicted" on a count that would keep him locked away a long time and was therefore a justified strategy.

Next thing you know, Huffman will be saying that Bernie Maddoff should have gone before a military tribunal. And if officers had no cultural knowledge of Wall Street ways but managed to convict Bernie of a fraudently filed SEC-9 and IRS 1040 that puts him away for 20+ years while failing to find he harmed a single investor - well, wouldn't that prove the a military tribunal for Bernie was a wise idea??

2. Huffman is right that the porn scans and gropes are a bad idea. And that idiocy in part does indeed come from the "no amount of security is too much, no loss of liberty and privacy is too much when safety is involved" right wingers. But so is searching non-Islamoids. And that is all on the Left and their "muslim advocacy" allies. In an effort to avoid progressive Jewish, CAIR, and black Congrassional Caucus "shock! outrage!" over profiling. That is why 6 year old girls are getting their panties groped and pilots getting their nuts squeezed before going behind their locked cockpit doors. That idiocy "never profile" - is all over on the Left, with their Muslim allies.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | November 20, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Wait till next year. By then, no doubt, randomly-selected passengers will be required to glup down a powerful fast- acting laxative ... That'll stop suicide bombers hiding explosives where the sun don't shine! Wheeeeee!!

Posted by: chuck8 | November 20, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Wait till next year. By then, no doubt, randomly-selected passengers will be required to glup down a powerful fast- acting laxative ... That'll stop suicide bombers hiding explosives where the sun don't shine! Wheeeeee!!

Posted by: chuck8 | November 20, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

We don't need to be scanned, and we don't need to be groped.

Frankly, the TSA zap'em and feel'em is less than useless. It hasn't stopped one single credible threat. It IS a violation of our Constitutional rights. And worse, it is a greater threat to our personal health and safety than the 9/11 terrorists.

The greatest deterrent to any group of terrorists is the presence of people willing and able to do whatever it takes to stop them. I'd rather fly with 500 un-searched total strangers all carrying a 5 pound ball peen hammer than be searched or scanned.

Posted by: mhoust | November 20, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The referenced surveys, regarding the instrusive pat-downs and full body scanners, should only be given to those who travel on commercial aircraft and have been made to undergo these procedures. All other opinions are meaningless and have no validity. Most people do not get on an airplane on a rgular basis - talk to the people who do.

At the same time, let's see what TSA has found during these searches. So far, I've seen on television: bottles of liquor, drugs and a few small knives and nail clippers. Show us the threatening objects that TSA has found with Mr. Chertoff's machines - the ones he said we HAD to have and now the ones he sells. How convenient! How profitable! What a scam!

Posted by: carolineC1 | November 20, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Uh, the terrorists have won. Nothing symbolizes the loss of our freedom more than the TSA.

Posted by: redskins5926 | November 21, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Redskins5926 is right. The point of terrorism isn't exploded airplanes; it is terror. If the underwear bomber had "succeeded" little would have changed. Because he "failed" we surrender our flying convenience, our dignity, and our civil liberties. He won.

The next terrorist may win not by exploding a bomb, but by getting caught seemingly in the attempt to explode a bomb inside his body. Then will TSA do body cavity searches of everyone, or will we close all the airports?

Posted by: MidRoad11 | November 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Let the market work; make a non-secure air system alternative for East Coast cities. I recently flew into Seattle, to a private air strip, on Kenmore Air; neither my luggage nor I were scanned and noticeably was the absense of visible guns. Just like old days the pilot walked about checking the plane, not us passengers

Posted by: aged | November 21, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Plain old fashioned metal detectors catch almost all of the problems, which are guns and knives. The incompetent shoe bombers and other wild eyed schemes were easily prevented from doing any harm by their fellow passengers. All we need is metal detectors. The rest of security is pure show biz, pure fluff. Body scanners are a waste of money.

Posted by: samsara15 | November 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Americans are not just idiots, but cowards. The odds of being struck by lightning in the course of your life are about 1 in 100,000. Your odds of being killed by a terrorist are about 1 in 10 million. Yet Americans are willing to piss away the rights that millions of Americans have died for over hundreds of years, over an incredibly remote possibility that will never happen.

I live in Newark, New Jersey. I bet I'm 100 times more likely to get killed walking to the bus to go to the airport than of being a victim of terrorism. It takes a nation of cowardly poltroons to submit tamely to this BS over a near-zero chance. As for the morons who say "even one death is too much," well, the backscatter radiation probably has a greater chance of killing you than the boogeyman terrorist they use to scare you into being a bunch of weak-kneed timid sheep.

Posted by: reynard_muldrake | November 21, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

The choice proposed is a false one.

TSA is not enhancing security by assaulting passengers flying in civil aviation.

TSA has never stopped a single armed real hijacker from getting on a plane. Never once. They have never once found a real explosive someone was trying to get on a plane.

TSA has found plenty of unlawful items but they have never found any unlawful item that someone intended to use to harm the aircraft.

Germany, Japan, etc. do not have the need to assault their passengers and they manage to keep their planes flying safely. So TSA's silly argument that their is no alternative to this is obviously false.

Posted by: lemondog | November 22, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

The terrorists get great aid and comfort from us. The best weapon in their arsenal to attack us is our devotion to political correctness. One of their strongest allies in promoting political correctness is the Washington Post.

Posted by: johne37179 | November 22, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

It is funny how, even though I agreed with the premise of your opinion, I didn't seem to see one word about the Obama Administration in this piece. I saw Bush, Cheney, Charles K, but nothing about anyone who is in the administration right now.

The TSA was indeed talking about using the Full Body Scanners back in 2006 under a Bush appointee, but it was July 2009 when the plan became, under Obama's appointees, to make everyone go through them or a the pat down and not just those who failed the metal detector or showed some other reason that they should be screened more thoroughly. It was under the Obama administration that the plan was to have 1,000 of the scanners out by 2011. But you don't mention any of that - no it is just those dratted Conservatives who are responsible for the expansion of government, using fear to erode our liberties....it doesn't matter that Obama didn't LESSEN that erosion - he actually has increased it - he is not to be under any scrutiny for this because it is all the previous administrations fault.

No talk about how the Liberals are the ones screaming against profiling - like your Koran comment - no matter that all of the terrorist acts on major airline planes have been committed by Islamic Extremists - no you have to bring up the OK City bombing and that Environmentalist Wacko who flew a private plane into a building.....nope, you don't like the full body scanning and the enhanced pat down but don't want the TSA to use profiling either - so what does that leave us with?

The choice to not fly - the choice to begin to fight back against ANY politician who seeks to further erode our liberties in the name of "fear" and the choice to demand that someone, anyone, unequivocally state that the underwear bomber WOULD HAVE BEEN CAUGHT by being scanned and patted down.

Otherwise, the terrorists have won haven't they?

Posted by: LMW6 | November 22, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I believe I declared sometime on 9-14 or -15 of 2001 that the terrorists had, indeed, won by hijacking the entire national agenda.

Because if we allow public libraries to remain open, educate our children and provide health and humanitarian assistance to those in need, then the terrorist have won.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | November 22, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I will soon take all your rights and freedoms. You people are soft and easy! OBL

Posted by: texas234 | November 22, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"viral archetype of 21st century libertarian theory. And while Tyner may not be the next Milton Friedman"
______________________________________

So, this whole time the ACLU, whose mission is to protect civil liberties, have been "Libertarian" and not "Libural" this whole time? Golly! Whoda thunk it!

Nice try, with the whole co-opting thing.

Posted by: Patzer111 | November 22, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

“The Transportation Security Administration has a new pat-down procedure that includes a security worker running a hand up the inside of passengers' legs and along the cheek of the buttocks, as well as making direct contact with the groin area.”

The next time you go through the check point, just watch a see how many times the TSA does this without changing gloves. Hopefully the person that went before you doesn’t have anything that took a ride on those gloves over to your body.

I heard on the radio that one man was down to his underwear for the pat down and the TSA mad him put his clothes back on and then patted him down. What stupity.

Posted by: gfhoward258 | November 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Two thoughts.

1. Since we started having our shoes examined, there have been no reported cases of catching someone with explosives in his or her shoes. Since we are not catching anyone, it seems obvious that checking shoes is not necessary. OTOH, isn't it at least as likely that terrorists, knowing shoes will be examined, have decided they will not test the system, but could use explosives in their shoes once we stop testing?

2. Someone wrote (and a lot of people seem to agree):

"Huffman's argument is the civilian jury, if too stupid to understand the guy killed 200+ people in an enemy attack on an embassy - still "convicted" on a count that would keep him locked away a long time and was therefore a justified strategy.

"Next thing you know, Huffman will be saying that Bernie Maddoff should have gone before a military tribunal. And if officers had no cultural knowledge of Wall Street ways but managed to convict Bernie of a fraudently filed SEC-9 and IRS 1040 that puts him away for 20+ years while failing to find he harmed a single investor - well, wouldn't that prove the a military tribunal for Bernie was a wise idea?"

Since when is an acquittal a sign of stupidity? Why assume that if the government could not prove its case to a civilian jury it would be able to prove its case to a military tribunal? For that matter, why are we assuming the guy was guilty -- just because the government/military say he was a terrorist? Talk about giving up civil liberties in the name of security, how about giving up any semblance of a presumption of innocence simply because the government/military brands you a terrorist?

An acquittal means the system failed only if you assume guilt in the first place. Do we want to stoop to that?

Posted by: wvanpup | November 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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