The Times on scan and grope

Psst. Want some comic relief? Read today’s New York Times editorial defending the naked body scan and grope regime.

Also, in the classic and absolutely predictable Times manner, the editorial says that the attacks on scan-and-group “are purely partisan and ideological.” Since 1992 when the degenerate leftist twerp Baby Sulzberger took over as publisher, the Times has not published a single editorial in which it acknowledged that the conservative side of an issue was rational and based in good faith, though wrong. Without exception, the Times declares that the non-liberal position on every single issue is driven by irrationality, bigotry, or cynical partisanship. There is only one rational and good-faith position on every issue in America: the liberal position.

Politicizing Airport Security

In their eagerness to pin every problem in America on President Obama, prominent Republicans are now blaming his administration for the use of full-body scanners and intrusive pat-downs at airports. Those gloved fingers feeling inside your belt? The hand of big government, once again poking around where it should not go.

Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a Republican presidential hopeful, called the scanners and the pat-downs a “humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional intrusion,” in an interview on Fox News. If the president thinks such searches are appropriate, Mr. Huckabee said, he should subject his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law to them. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said the Transportation Security Administration had gone too far, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas suggested T.S.A. agents be sent to the Mexican border, where he said, absurdly, that “we need security substantially more than in our airports.”

Seeing conservative Republicans accuse the Obama administration of trying too hard to protect America from terrorists is a remarkable spectacle of contortion. But many of them are making a far more pernicious point. They want the government to start “profiling” passengers on the basis of ethnicity or nationality or personal history to single out those most likely to commit terrorism. That would spare decent people from the indignity of a backscatter machine.

Representative Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the outgoing senior Republican on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said profiling “only makes sense” to narrow the targets. Mr. Huckabee wants to do the same, as does Rush Limbaugh, and, inevitably, Sarah Palin, who recently sent out the following message on Twitter: “TSA: why politically incorrect 2 ‘profile’ anyone re: natl security issues? we profile individuals/suspects in other situations! profile away.”

It is bad enough that many of these politicians seem happy to trade away a long and proud history of civil liberties over a few moments of inconvenience in the airport. But even beyond the violation of such a basic principle, it has long been clear that the substitution of profiling for searches simply doesn’t work. The T.S.A. already pulls aside travelers for extra searching and questioning based on their nationality and travel patterns.

But terrorists, tragically, aren’t fools, and constantly adapt to the screening regimes. Before the T.S.A. started searching for bombs in shoes, underwear or printer cartridges, that’s where they were hidden. If terrorists learn that elderly white women from Iowa are exempt from screening, that’s exactly whom they will recruit.

Some individual pat-downs have gone too far, and the T.S.A. was ham-handed in answering those concerns. But the Obama administration should weather this storm by realizing these attacks are purely partisan and ideological. Americans know the difference between a big scanner and big government.

[end of editorial]

- end of initial entry -

November 25

Hannon writes:

After reading the laughable NYT editorial on scan and grope, particularly its stance on profiling, it occurred to me that the primary reason the liberal establishment does not oppose scan and grope is that it is egalitarian. It does not violate their non-discrimination principle. So long as everyone is debased on an equal likelihood basis it is okay.

It must be said, however, that any proposed expansion of profiling efforts, whether under Obama or a future president, must consider the calibre of people who are hired for those jobs. I heard recently that in Israeli airline security they hire college graduates who are selected for high intelligence and ability to discern. An alert and perspicacious TSA staff will always be our most crucial front line of defense against airport terrorism. I think they know this but for whatever reasons their standards are not what they could be.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 24, 2010 06:05 PM | Send

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