Monday, January 4, 2010

Kelly’s Heroes

Jack Kelly, the poor man’s William Kristol (or is it Dick Cheney?), had another column this weekend in The Blade tearing down the Obama administration’s approach to dealing with terrorism. As usual, it was full of the faux bluster and butch talk that a charter member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists use, including quoting Michael Goldfarb masturbating over the idea of torturing the undie bomber instead of giving him a civil trial, and suggesting that the U.S. should institute the same security procedures that El Al, the Israeli airline, uses to screen its passengers.

Well, since a civil trial was good enough for Richard “Shoe Bomber” Reid during the Bush administration, logic dictates that under the same circumstances, it should be good enough for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Oh, wait… I said “logic.” Sorry, that doesn’t apply to Right Wing Talking Points. Oops, my bad. It also really says something about these people who have so little faith in our own justice system that they think we can’t convict, as Rachel Maddow put it, “some idiot confused rich kid who couldn’t even handle blowing up his own junk with a bomb that was secreted in his own underpants”.

If the TSA implemented the same security measures as El Al, the howls from the American flying public would be heard from here to Tel Aviv.

Passengers are asked to report three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel who patrol the premises for explosives, suspicious behavior, and other threats. Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding, allowing El Al staff to identify possible security threats. Passengers will be asked questions about where they are coming from, the reason for their trip, their job or occupation, and whether they have packed their bags themselves. The likelihood of potential terrorists remaining calm under such questioning is believed to be low (see microexpression). At the check-in counter the passengers’ passports and tickets are closely examined. A ticket without a sticker from the security checkers will not be accepted. At passport control passengers’ names are checked against information from the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Scotland Yard, Shin Bet, and Interpol databases. Luggage is screened and sometimes hand searched. In addition, bags are put through a decompression chamber simulating pressures during flight that could trigger explosives. El Al is the only airline in the world that passes all luggage through such a chamber. Even at overseas airports, El Al security agents conduct all luggage searches personally, even if they are supervised by government or private security firms.

Yeah, I’d like to see exactly how long that would last here, especially the personal interview… and how much it would cost to implement them at every commercial airport in the country. Talk about a massive government bureaucracy.

But the best part of Mr. Kelly’s piece is the title: “Blasting Liberal Shibboleths.” In the original sense, a shibboleth is a password; a test to see if someone is actually whom they claim to be. That may have been Mr. Kelly’s intention in his column, but he doesn’t do that, and I think he chose the word because he once saw it in an issue of Human Events and thought it was cool. But to quote the immortal Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Which, in his case, is not a big surprise at all.