We live, it seems, in a national security “homeland” of little angry bureaucrats who couldn’t be happier to define what “safety” means for you and big self-satisfied officials who can duck the application of those safety methods. Your government can now come up with any wacky solution to American “security” and you’ll pay the price. One guy brings a failed shoe bomb on an airplane, and you’re suddenly in your socks. Word has it that bombs can be mixed from liquids in airplane bathrooms, and there go your bottled drinks. A youthful idiot flies toward Detroit with an ill-constructed bomb in his underwear, and suddenly they’re taking naked scans of you or threatening to grope your junk.
So think of it as an irony that, when George W. Bush and his cronies decided to sally forth and smite the Greater Middle East, they exulted that they were finally “taking the gloves off.” And so they were: aggressive war, torture, abuse, secret imprisonment, souped-up surveillance, slaughter, drone wars, there was no end to it. When those gloves came off, other people suffered first. But wasn’t it predictable -- since unsuccessful wars have a nasty habit of coming home -- that, in the end, other things would come off, and sooner or later they would be on you: your hat, your shoes, your belt, your clothes, and of course, your job, your world?
And don’t for a second think that it’s going to end here. What happens when the first terrorist with a suppository bomb is found aboard one of our planes? After all, such weapons already exist. In the meantime, the imposition of more draconian safety and security methods is, of course, being considered for buses, trains, and boats. Can trucks, taxis, cars, and bikes be far behind? After all, once begun, there can, by definition, be no end to the search for perfect security.
You must have a friend who’s extremely critical of everyone else but utterly opaque when it comes to himself. Well, that’s this country, too.
Here’s a singular fact to absorb: we now know that a bunch of Yemeni al-Qaeda adherents have a far better hit on just who we are, psychologically speaking, and what makes us tick than we do. Imagine that. They have a more accurate profile of us than our leading intelligence profilers undoubtedly do of them.
Recently, they released an online magazine laying out just how much the two U.S.-bound cargo-bay bombs that caused panic cost them: a mere $4,200 and the efforts of “less than six brothers” over three months. They even gave their plot a name, Operation Hemorrhage (and what they imagined hemorrhaging, it seems, was not American blood, but treasure).
Now, they're laughing at us for claiming the operation failed because -- thanks reportedly to a tip from Saudi intelligence -- those bombs didn’t go off. “This supposedly ‘foiled plot,’” they wrote, “will without a doubt cost America and other Western countries billions of dollars in new security measures. That is what we call leverage.”
It’s a formula for leaving you naked in airports, while increasing the oppressive power of the state. And here’s the dirty, little, distinctly Orwellian secret: the national security state can’t do without those Yemeni terrorists (and vice versa), as well as our homegrown variety. All of them profit from a world of war. You don’t -- and on that score, what happens in an airport line should be the least of your worries.
The national security state is eager to cop a feel. As long as Americans don’t grasp the connections between our war state and our “safety,” things will only get worse and, in the end, our world will genuinely be in danger.
Yes, there's a terrorist threat. Intelligenc and law enforcement are constantly working on it, but nooooo, it has to get a lot more up close and personal. We're all terror suspects in 'airport kabuki theater'.
A coupla goat humpers send a package with "Phony Bomb Inside" printed on it and laugh their asses off when we spend $Billions$ to counter it and humiliate our own citizens under threat of law. Big bad fearless cowboy macho America looks under Grandma's dress out of fear*. The terrorists have won.
*Insert yer own joke about Repugs being deathly afraid of what Grandma might be packin'. Heh.