Friday, 26 November 2010
Profiles in cowardice
Many -- on both Left and Right -- are upset at these invasive measures.
Conservatives, especially on blogs like American Thinker, propose that instead of random in-depth searches -- which have led to ridiculous cases of nuns, kids and colostomy-clad pensioners being given the full once-over -- the TSA should profile passengers. Profiling as done at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
That is, not racial profiling, but criminal profiling. Trained operatives scan departing passengers before they've even entered the Terminal. Passengers are then scrutinised and sometimes questioned before they get to check-in and again before they get to Immigration, and finally there's the security and immigration check itself. Only those that arouse some suspicion are subject to closer inspection.
Discussing the issue on BBC News a few days ago, Ted Koppel, a "senior news analyst" at left-of-centre National Public Radio, discussed the objections to TSA's new policies from both left and right. He made two points in objection to Ben Gurion-type Profiling.
(1) He said that those who suggest Profiling "forget" that Israel has only one international airport whereas the US has 450. In this he was parroting TSA talking points: John Pistole (bummer of a name, John...), head of TSA, had used the very same words the day before.
But think about it. Is it really the case that if something is done at one airport it can't be done at 450 airports? In that case, what about Air Traffic Control, say? We don't hear ATC's saying, "well, of course, they land planes safely in Ben Gurion, they've only got one airport to deal with. How can we possibly land aircraft safely at 450 airports?!" Of course, that's nonsense, and we can do ATC at 450 just as easily as at one Same with Profiling. It's just a matter of scaling up; if you want to do it, you can.
And, I'm not sure saying Israel has only one international airport is relevant, or even true: it has two international, including Ovda at Negev. It also has 10 domestic airports, and I would expect (though I don't know for sure) that they have the same level of security as the international ones, for surely if they didn't, they would be soft targets. After all, to terrorists, downing a domestic Israeli plane would have the added advantage of killing a greater proportion of Jews....
(2) The second point Koppel makes is that passengers at Ben Gurion have to get to the Terminal FOUR hours before take-off, to go through the profiling procedures, "and Americans wouldn't put up with that" he says. The interviewer didn't pick him up on this point. He should have.
Because it's not true.
I checked with an old mate of mine who lives in Israel and travels frequently. The arrival time to Departures is the same as any other airport -- they ask you to be there TWO hours before departure. The FAQ's on the Israeli Airports site says the same.
So: both points made by Koppel (and fellow travellers on the left) against Israeli-type profiling are false.
The reason that there is no profiling is because the Obama Administration is afraid of causing offense to one minority (Muslims) at the expense of causing vast offense and upset to the majority of travellers (non-Muslims). This is the Profile of Cowardice. Or, perhaps, Profiles in Dhimmitude. For dhimmitude means submitting to the demands of "the best of people", to the demands and hyper-sensitivity of hewers to the "Religion of Peace".
Obama has shown himself more than solicitous to the demands of Islam, even unto bowing to the Saudi King (a quite shocking video, really!). So, nothing will change while he's there.
Passengers better get used to the flip side of Profiles in Cowardice. No profiles at airports, so you, your granny, your kid may be groped upside your privates.