Alan Dershowitz's common sense approach to airline security
by Lakrosse, Sat Jan 09, 2010 at 05:43:26 AM EST
On Christmas 2009, we almost saw another Islamic terrorist attack on the United States suceed and hundreds get killed. This after terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan shot up Fort Hood in the name of Allah. And all of this after September 11. Now I don't wanna see airline security so inept that either terrorists get thru easily, or people who pose no threat get stopped constantly. If our civil liberties are stifled, terrorism wins.
However, we do not wanna see full fledged racism thrive in airports. As you all know, I abhor Islamic terrorism (as I abhor Christian-motivated or even Jewish-motivated terrorism, but those are done far less frequently) and Islamism, but I do not feel we should prohibit Muslims and Arabs from flying or make it difficult to fly based solely on ethnicity and religion.
How do we deal with the problem? Alan Dershowitz, prominent civil liberties lawyer and analyst of the Middle East, Israel, and Islamic terrorism. http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/dershowitz/entry/will_the_next_underwear_bomber
We must adopt a multi-tiered approach to airline security. Frequent flyers who pose no security threat should be eligible for a non-transferable telemetric security card that is keyed into their retina for near foolproof identification. They could quickly pass through metal and explosive detection. Other fliers can opt for increased security or increased privacy. Those who opt for increased security would be subjected to intrusive scanning, without a metal box protecting their private parts. After all, it was the private parts that were the location of the most recent explosives.
Now this is a good idea! A business man who constantly flies, old ladies with grandkids, etc. should not be stopped forever on lines when they pose no threat. While yes, its a shame subjective measures have to be used, it is a sad fact of life.
...Those civil libertarians who claim that increasing security will not work are simply lying. It will work (though not perfectly), and it will also diminish privacy and civil liberties (though not significantly). Life is composed of tradeoffs. Those civil libertarians who deny that there are tradeoffs are serving neither the interests of civil liberties nor of truth. Among the most important civil liberty is our ability to travel without excessive fear of terrorism, and without excessive intrusion into our privacy.
We must increase the quality and training of the security personnel at the airports. It should become a job for retired and experienced law enforcement officials. It should pay well and it should be subject to rigorous testing. Security "testers" should be using every available tactic to try to evade security. Those in charge of protecting us should be graded by their ability to spot terrorist threats.
Why the hell not? We shouldn't have just retired cops and second rate security guards being responsible for the lives of hundreds, or even thousands of people.
And lastly, Alan discusses the idea of profiling:
There must be more searching interviews of travelers who do not opt for the security card or the scanning. There is nothing wrong with profiling, so long as it does not lump together all members of a particular race, religion or ethnicity. Profiling, based on a wide variety of characteristics that are directly associated with the risk of terrorism, is a good thing. So is "negative profiling" - that is excluding certain categories of travelers from super-scrutiny based on their obvious non-involvement in terrorism.
Finally, we must have air marshals on every flight. This will be expensive, but nobody ever said that safe travel coupled with reasonable privacy would be cheap.
Why are there NOT air marshals on every flight? El Al has them, and they are known as one of the world's safest airlines, dealing with terrorism for decades. There is no reason American airliners should not have them.
Now to add my two cents, it is a disgrace a guy like Farouk could even get into an airport! After being on watchlists of possible terrorists, he should not have even been in North America! With regards to profiling, as I've said, I am not for indiscriminately profiling every Arab or Muslim. I hate racism, which is why I oppose Islamic terrorism, the most prominent and widespread/supported terrorism around today. Islamism follows in the path of German Nazism and Soviet Communism. But the sad fact is that while most Muslims by far are not terrorists, most terrorists by far are Muslim. But how should we apply this sad fact to airports?
Simple: have stricter immigration standards and quotas for countries where Islamic radicalism is prominent.
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