Captain Underpants vs. Professor Poopy-Pants?

Marc Lynch has a new post at Foreign Policy, Don't Let Captain Underpants Bring Back the GWOT, on the mass over-hysteria about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his failed bomb plot on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

But is too much to ask that the national discourse over the failed bomber be more mature and analytical than "Captain Underpants vs Professor Poopypants "?

Lynch cites with approval this WAPO op-ed, "Don't Panic, Fear is Al Qaida's Real Goal," which is well-worth a read. He also correctly notes: [More...]

It was the media -- egged on by right wing critics eager to score political points, but manifestly enthusiastic all on its own -- which took a failed plot and blew it up into a major national crisis.

Lynch wrote a few weeks ago that the Arab media was ignoring the event. No more. Today he writes:

The initial Arab response to the attempt was a collective shrug, indifference at yet another failed plot by a marginalized actor. Now, the Arab public seems increasingly fascinated by the story, with more articles and commentary about a resurgent al-Qaeda than in the immediate aftermath, and Arab commentators seem increasingly angered by the Obama administration's reactions. Between them, the American media and political gamesmanship transformed yet another al-Qaeda failure into what it can now claim as a success. They must be very proud.

While Lynch's foreign policy views generally make sense to me, I also come away from his articles struck by how much he defends Obama. Today, first he defends Obama:

It is just wrong to suggest that Obama has not taken al-Qaeda seriously just because he doesn't use the magic words so beloved of his critics. His administration has continued or expanded a wide range of effective measures to degrade and dismantle its networks across the region and world. Its escalation in Afghanistan was, for better or for worse, largely justified in terms of degrading and destroying al-Qaeda's South Asian base.

Then he refers to Obama's early mis-steps:

Faced with this political frenzy (over the holidays, no less), the Obama administration did seem to be falling back into those old habits of the GWOT, likely against their better foreign policy instincts. This led to some off-key messaging from an strategic communications perspective. Obama's stern declarations that we are at war with al-Qaeda tended to drown out his simultaneous insistence that it would not force the U.S. to compromise its values.

And the effect of Obama's early comments on the Arab world:

Rightly or wrongly, to Arab and Muslim ears this sounded much like the old Bush talk, and the announcement of extra screening for people coming from primarily Muslim countries sounded much like the old Bush deeds. Arab commentators noticed and complained bitterly. Such talk reinforces the increasingly dangerous narrative in the Arab media that Obama is really no different from Bush, and that whatever his intentions he can't deliver real change.

He gives this advice to Obama:

It's not too late to walk this particular frenzy back. The worst thing which Obama could do now is to return to the old GWOT frame to placate domestic critics while losing sight of the strategic urgency of reshaping American relations with the Muslim world.

And ends with a statement of confidence in Obama:

I think that Obama's team really does understand both the security demands of combatting an adaptive and resilient but small jihadist core and the strategic demands of marginalizing al-Qaeda and reshaping America's relations with the Muslim world. I hope they get back to it.

I'm nowhere near as confident in Obama's balancing act. I sense a continuation of the Bush Global War on Terror, just without the name. Obama keeps referring to some greater Al-Qaeda, as if Osama bin Laden is running the show world-wide, as if al Qaeda in Afhanistan and Pakistan are directing the actions of AQAP, AQ in Somalia and other regional AQ branches.

I'm tending more to believe these off-shoots do not have a central command. The more Obama makes it seem we are fighting a single entity, Al Qaida, wherever located, the more he embues them with a power greater than they actually have. The more changes he makes to our way of life in reaction to his universal AQ theory, the happier these off-shoots are. They are getting the equivalent of a free public relations company to increase the perception of their brand.

Yes, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thwarted from committing a horrible act of destruction. Yes, he has said, and it's probably true, AQAP has 20 more like him, already converted and waiting in the wings to commit some as yet undetermined suicidal bombing act.

We have so much intelligence capability. Help Yemen locate the AQAP leaders so Yemen can take them out. Take some of our FBI agents who are so adept at going into chat rooms, pretending to be 13 year old girls to trap the men who are soliciting them, and put them on duty infiltrating the chat rooms and forums being used by AQAP as recruitment tools. Let some agents enroll in the schools that have produced the most recruits and infiltrate, the way they infiltrate the mob, drug cartels and motorcycle gangs. Violent crime is down in this country, and the War on Drugs needs a break, we can spare a few.

Instead, we're going to make every airplane traveler's life miserable and spend billions of dollars on more airplane security, in the hopes that if some violent group puts another recruit on a plane, we'll thwart it. As if that will deter them from just trying again. They love how they have disrupted our lives and dominated our media and consciousness since Christmas. It's time to take another tack and stop responding to them by aggrandizing them. We don't need military intervention, we don't need more profiling, we don't need mass body imaging or spying on Americans. Obama needs to focus more on being pro-active instead of re-active -- and on the bigger picture, which is not one giant, unified mass called al Qaeda that marches in sync and harmony.

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    The Obama Administration underestimated (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:28:15 PM EST
    the public concerns--reactions that were not abstract but readily identifiable by all travelers and their families, and during a peak travel season to boot.  Brave passengers seemed to be the only barrier after all this time and money. Yes, the underpants played into the issue in terms of the tactic as well as the cringe factor of starting a fire in one's crotch. Moreover, the bits and pieces that did became available, including issues that most thought were addressed long ago (cash purchase of tickets, no checked luggage, no coat on a journey to Detroit in December) were mind-boggling to all.  The situation only became more disconcerting with additional information--a seemingly credible father turning in his son to the embassy and direct discussion with CIA officers, the revoked Brit visa, the multiple entry American visa, the confusion with the miss-spelling of his name, intelligence from Yemen that a Nigerian was recruited.  It was all too " heckuva job Brownie-like". The story had more legs than a centipede, and the Obama administration's blase response was not what was needed. Secretary Napolitano's and Robert Gibbs's clumsy attempt to calm the situation went amiss.  The fact that the Director of Counter-terrorism even asked if he could stick to his ski vacation on Dec 26 so as not to disappoint his seven-year old son was revelatory to his read of the situation, and Brennan's approval was borderline malfeasance. And, of course, the president's response was less than spectacular, although he did return from his vacation one day early, and, apparently, concluded that things "were screwed up", thereby undercutting some of his best holiday apologists.

    Pannetta (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:31:08 PM EST
    didn't interrupt his vacation either, nor did the Deputy Director, so I guess it wasn't that important.

    "Brave passengers" (none / 0) (#18)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:44:07 PM EST
    had little, if anything, to do with foiling the attack.  

    The bomb simply caught fire rather than detonate....No one stopped the underwear bomber from trying to detonate the bomb.  If there were a working detonation device, the passengers would haved died before finding that out.....They were successful in helping to put out an onboard fire.

    What foiled this attack was the lack of a detonation device.  There are two possibilities:  (1) al Qaeda is too inept to equip its bombers with viable detonation devices, or (2) the airport screeing prevented the bomber from carrying-on a detonation device that works....

    But everyone runs around in a panic....with some advocating torture....


    Maybe some are not (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:59:35 PM EST
    appreciative of  the "brave" and courageous passengers who quenched the fire and  forestalled its likely consequences, but most do.  After all, fire on an airplane is not a good thing, and an explosion even worse by most peoples lights.

    I did not say I was not appreciative (none / 0) (#31)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:03:45 PM EST
    But, overdoing it, and ignoring the failure of the detonation device....is also a mistake...

    We often over-react to national security threats...And the over-reaction can be very terrible indeed.  Pearl Harbor created the internment.....9/11 led to the invasion of Iraq....

    Not losing our heads is the best way to correctly assess the threat....


    Your comment that the (none / 0) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:20:40 PM EST
    brave passengers had little, if anything,  to do with foiling the attack was confusing, so thank you for the clarification.  I do agree that a certain comity is necessary so as not to lose our heads, but I believe we have been assessing the threats to airline travel for a while now, and the underwear bomber's tactics were not so new--we just "did not connect the dots", that is all. Perhaps, we will learn more about the detonation device at a future press conference now that everyone is back from vacation.

    And, it may be that (none / 0) (#40)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:28:11 PM EST
    we hear nada about the detonation device.  If it was a flawed design, do we want to broadcast to everyone exactly how it failed....Better to let al Qaeda keep its flawed design.

    If it wasn't a flawed design but just put together wrong in the plane bathroom or where-ever he put on his shorts, or if the bomber just messed up pulling the trigger, I don't think we want al Qaeda to know that either....

    Probably shouldn't become public information...haven't seen much about it actually....

    Putting out a fire onboard a plan is no mean feat....but would be different than what most seem to be implying...


    My guess is that (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:23:37 PM EST
    al Qaeda is a step ahead of us on these bombs. They do have their training camps, those recruited are there for a while, based on Umar's travels, and, surely, they test these devices, if not somewhere in the desert, in a crowded market.  Indeed, the recent assassination attempt on the Saudi prince used the same device sewed into his drawers.  The most recent al Qaeda number two, has probably figured it all out--Umar could not bring himself to act until approach--it may have been one thing for him to be part of the bomb, but the thought of using  such a personalized wick might have set him aback.

    Was it the same device (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:51:23 PM EST
    or just the same explosive?

    Not sure, but I (none / 0) (#56)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:48:36 PM EST
    think John Brennan said, in the joint pressor with Janet Napolitano,  that they were the same--and he even went off to Saudi Arabia to check it out.  But, it could have been the underpants part only.

    They put out the fire (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:06:23 PM EST
    And since he was sitting over the fuel tanks, and since airplane interiors are highly combustible, I'd disagree with you and say they had a great deal to with foiling the attack.

    The failure was a fluke (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:37:58 PM EST
    Fire was not a major danger, but the explosive device was odds-on to detonate properly and leave airliner  remains spread over vast area with little clue what happened or whodunit.

    This understandably alarmed - and alarms - TSA.

    Factor in the CIA take-out in Afghanistan, and you may begin to understand why security insiders in various capitals are rethinking their threat matrices.


    I am not so sure (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:00:24 PM EST
    it was a fluke....

    I would be interested in knowing what information is out there on the detonation device....


    From Qaeda claim of responsibility: (none / 0) (#89)
    by RonK Seattle on Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 03:35:01 PM EST
    "The Mujahedeen brothers in the manufacturing section had succeeded in developing a very sophisticated explosive device. It had been tested for effectiveness and the trial tests proved to be successful. It had also been tested against detection machines."

    "The spokesman went on to warn that the device would be perfected." (CBS)

    Simpler, less detectable and more reliable detonation schemes are available ... it's only a matter of time.


    Oh - and by the way... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by lentinel on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:49:48 PM EST
    as you wrote, "airplane interiors are highly combustible".

    This is another thing that they have done nothing about.


    Detonation Nation (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:21:53 PM EST
    Look, regarding things like the underpants bomb, the bottom line, no pun intended, is that at some point an explosive can simply be used right there at the crowded security checkpoint in the airport.

    Unless we want to become a complete police state, a measure of sanity is, indeed, needed. We are flesh and blood and temporary in nature. No amount of security is going to change that. Of course we should be smart and reasonably do what we can. Reasonably. But once we go beyond that, and we have already in many ways, then, simply, we lose. We succumb.

    Explosive at security (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by Raskolnikov on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:08:56 AM EST
    A few years ago, there was a terrorist threat at LAX that shut down an entire terminal.  As a result, there must have been 1000 people just mingling around the entrance, in front of security, and at the time I couldn't help thinking that this was such an easier target than trying to blow up a plane.  All you'd have to do is drive a car with a bomb into the terminal and you'd have killed a hundred people.  Personally, I'm rather surprised and actually encouraged that there hasn't been a major attack in a while: the truly bad ones are few are far between.  I'm with Kdog on this one, freedom is more important than protecting against a tiny tiny percentage of people who mean harm.

    You just made an excellent argument (none / 0) (#51)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:58:10 PM EST
    for a preemptive strike.

    On what? (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:03:58 PM EST

    Taking out al Qaeda camps is one thing....A general bombing campaign against an entire country such as Iran is another.....


    My point is that Dadler is correct (none / 0) (#57)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:55:13 PM EST
    There can be no real security as long as the enemy has the capability and desire to attack us.

    The purpose of a war is to remove that capability by destroying the infrastructure surrounding the enemy and and killing enough of them that they lose the desire to attack.

    I have speculated before, on this blog, that at some point the country will have to decide if it wants to suffer defeat by a 1000 cuts or go to war using all our technology and forces.

    The Left, in general, has wanted to treat this as a criminal justice matter. Do nothing but react to an attack and try to prevent them with "bars on the windows."

    The Right, in general, has wanted to treat this as an attack on the country and go war.

    The criminal justice approach led to 9/11.

    The "go to war" approach of Bush has worked only to an extent because we became basically involved in nation building rather than war winning and started using "proportionate response."

    We are now back to the criminal justice approach and so far it appears that the enemy sees this as weak.

    Worse, the "war winning" strategy is being given only lip service, as it was in Vietnam, and this will only get a lot of US military killed.

    Obama should either pull the military back and go on defense or go to a full out war.

    He won't because he knows defense won't work and he won't face the political heat that would come with a successful attack within the US. And make no mistake. NW 253 was close. Very close. The actions of the passengers were great, but they would never have had a chance if the detonator had worked as designed.


    What is your definition of defeat? (none / 0) (#58)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:14:32 PM EST
    I'm serious - is it that Al Queda takes over America? Kills a certain number of people? What is the "defeat by 1000 cuts" that you think some endless series of pre-emptive strikes can forestall?

    Good question (none / 0) (#60)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:34:29 PM EST
    I don't see AQ "taking over." What I see is a wearing down of the cultural fabric until we change the country into, basically, a caliphate that offers no resistance to the imposition of such things as Sharia law, hate laws against criticism of Islam, etc.

    And I don't see an endless series of preemptive attacks. What I see, at some point, is an all out sure enough war against those countries that we see as not controlling AQ, or actively supporting AQ.

    AQ exists in the societies of these countries and if they do not eliminate them we certainly cannot with the existing governments in place, just as we could not eliminate Nazism as long as Hitler and his henchmen were in power.

    Sooner or later you have to convince the people that the choice is between the evils of having their lives and homes destroyed or getting rid of AQ. And that will be a very deadly, horrible and bloody affair.

    And I wish I didn't believe that.


    Truly chilling post (none / 0) (#77)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 11:57:37 AM EST
    Changing a cultural fabric can include elimination of our civil liberties--in other words eliminating what makes us American....

    You really think the U.S. would become a caliphate?  Sharia law in the U.S.?  That is flat out delusional...

    And you talk of "an all out sure enough war against those countries"--pural, as in war against many countries....Punishing entire countries for their failure to oust al Qaeda.....

    What a truly sinister view....Endless war....And with basically our entire Army in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, just where all are those troops going to come from to invade Iran, Yemen, Syria, Egypt--and better think about Russia too if you are going to try conqueirng the Isamic world....And, if we "just" bomb instead, millions of innocent civilians would die horrible deaths...and would barely touch al Qaeda which is not tied to any fixed position....

    Also, your prescription would not work....What conservatives fail to understand is that this is not like World War II with enemies that had armies and tanks that could be targeted....It is a guerilla war against a loose and migrating organization--and a relatively small organization at that....The only way to defeat such an organization is through the help of moderate Muslims....That is how al Qaeda lost its grip in Al Anbar....

    Your view would kill millions and yet not end the threat....You would only increase it....You can't kill your way out of the threat posed by al Qaeda.

    This type of ultra-hawkish view is the Curtis LeMay view that JFK resisted during the Cuban Missile Crisis....If he hadn't, there would have been a nuclear war....


    He's been pushing that exact same (none / 0) (#79)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:42:50 PM EST
    spiel here for years. Im starting to think this paranoid-style-of-the Right is hard-wired. They cant help it.

    And before the WOT filled the peace dividend void, it was, "We'll all be forced to read Das Kapital if we dont.."


    The right needs a villain (none / 0) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:23:29 PM EST
    But to see it spelled out like that....

    I was writing the same thing (none / 0) (#59)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:19:35 PM EST
    when I got interrupted earlier...real life and all that.

    In fact, an explosion right in the middle of Security Theater, shutting down a major airport for weeks or more, would be a pretty major score.

    Eventually there will be another major attack of some kind. It is only a matter of when,how, and who, and who is unlucky enough to be president at the time. All we can do is take reasonable precautions and live like brave people and not cowards.


    That seems to have been the Jewish (none / 0) (#61)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 09:35:59 PM EST
    approach circa 1936 or so.

    How did that work out?


    The reference is obviously (none / 0) (#64)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 10:49:39 PM EST
    to the reaction of the Jews to the mounting attacks that proceeded and told of the coming death and destruction they were to experience.

    Perhaps we should discuss (none / 0) (#66)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 10:58:21 PM EST
    But when I read that we need to be brave and accept the attacks I find it pretty good.

    Yes (none / 0) (#80)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:50:05 PM EST
    if only they'd marshalled that enormous state and military apparatus they had at their disposal back then instead of waiting till the eleventh hour when it was too late.

    Tra la la (none / 0) (#1)
    by ricosuave on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:50:13 PM EST
    I hate seeing Captain Underpants sullied by an association like this!  He is a true hero for our times.

    It gives me great pleasure (none / 0) (#82)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:54:22 PM EST
    to see that someone else here knows who the good Captain is...

    Here he is (none / 0) (#83)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:17:35 PM EST
    Tra la laaa! (none / 0) (#85)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 01:24:25 PM EST
    It was a FAILED attempt (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:50:44 PM EST
    Perhaps the attempt failed becasue the underwear bomber could not get a viable detonation device past the normal airport screening....Perhaps that is why the explosives did not explode but just burn....

    If that is true, then Napolitano was right and the system did work....

    and fortunately so (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:00:49 PM EST
    if it had worked, as Colbert said, there would have been 23 very disappointed virgins.

    Where does Allah... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:13:31 PM EST
    find all these virgins I wonder?

    Personally...If I was gonna kill and die for some after-life action, I'd prefer partners with more experience...virgins are over-rated:)


    being a skeptic (none / 0) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:32:07 PM EST
    when it comes to deals that sound to good to be true I always suspected they were virgins because they were hairy ugly fat and smelly.
    you get there and go "WTF!?!?"

    Reassuring to know... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 02:59:26 PM EST
    some of the establishment brainiacs agree with me on this one...we've jumped the shark on terrorism.  The hysterical response to scrotum-bomber and the "defiant trespass" at Newark has been a national embarassment.

    So what do you suggest? (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:08:27 PM EST
    Some guy tries to blow up a plane carrying 279 people over a metro area (which would be hundreds more people).  What should we do?  Think this guy is an isolate nut and give him a slap on the wrist?  Or maybe look into the fact that he says there are 20 more like him right now?

    What should we do?


    Oh I don't know... (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:22:28 PM EST
    maybe a good start would be to follow his leads while obeying all applicable law-enforcement restrictions, foreign and domestic...staying cool, calm, and collected.

    And leave the 99.9% percent of peaceful airline travelers alone, and spare them the indignity of the "first day of prison" treatment to get on a damn plane?  Bombscreen if you want/must...but spare us the shoes-off, pat-down, bodyscan, "I'll take that shaving cream" nonsense.

    Shorter version...I suggest we be reasonable.


    I guess (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:07:18 PM EST
    You wouldn't go for something like this?

    Hell no... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:44:54 PM EST
    somebody brought up that thought crime detector thingie on another of these threads, forget who it was...way too creepy for my taste.  

    oh, and did we see this (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:00:32 PM EST
    Body scanners can store, send images, group says

    In the documents, obtained by the privacy group and provided to CNN, the TSA specifies that the body scanners it purchases must have the ability to store and send images when in "test mode."

    That requirement leaves open the possibility the machines -- which can see beneath people's clothing -- can be abused by TSA insiders and hacked by outsiders

    how long till there is a site dedicated to airport porn pics?


    Shee-it bro.... (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:08:16 PM EST
    some guard working one of the machines in the field has a internet file folder full on his laptop already I'm sure.

    The zoom cameras in use by state agents are definitely being used to ogle right now...well maybe not right now in NYC being its 20 degrees outside...but in the summer:)


    wait until (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:09:03 PM EST
    a cheerleader squad has to go thru "clearance" ten times.

    Thats another thing... (none / 0) (#36)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:20:18 PM EST
    our bedwetting has wrought...pat downs being reserved for all the sexy ladies and gents...mostly ladies.  There have been complaints.

    I guess I'm gonna have to chaperone my oldest niece to the airport on her next trip...


    I got patted down (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:22:31 PM EST
    When I flew from Detroit to DC before the new year - right after this failed bomb plot happened.  It was no big deal - a female TSA Agent patted down my arms and sides.  What caused more trouble was I forgot to remove my watch, and that set off the alarms, so I had to send it all by itself in one of those large gray trays through the scanner.

    Never patted down... (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:35:04 PM EST
    at the airport...did have a cop cop a cheap feel of my junk once...its not a cool place to find yourself...knowing your natural right reaction to such an invasion of space can lead to criminal charges.

    surely there must be (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:10:38 PM EST
    something in-between

    That's my question (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:15:32 PM EST
    What is his suggestion?  I'm open to hear some ideas.

    No torture, civilian court (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:46:32 PM EST
    that's a good start....

    At airport this am to drop off (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:16:45 PM EST
    an inexperienced domestic passenger.  So I went in.  Security line was was maybe 5 people.  Would have been easy to bolt through the area where arriving passengers walk and bypass security altogether.  USA Today headline:  majority of thos polled do not object to full body scans.

    That headline... (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:07:50 PM EST
    I have a hard time working up outrage regarding body scanners at the airport for some reason. I guess it seems more efficient than other methods, and also, I'm much more concerned with other kinds of private info that others have on me - like my credit history, earnings, expenditures, likes, dislikes, etc.

    I just can't get too worked up about some airport screener seeing a grey outline of my bod.


    I personally don't care either (none / 0) (#35)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:16:24 PM EST
    But the government, not too long ago in the hot little hands of Dick Cheney, is getting very powerful....just another step...

    Sounds like San Diego (none / 0) (#17)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:35:35 PM EST
    Great airport....accessible and the view from the plane on approach is really cool.....

    Bolt but not board (none / 0) (#20)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:51:32 PM EST
    I think I know where you are referring to....

    Sure you could run down that hall....but then the whole place would be shut down ruining everyone's travel plans....

    I don't see how anyone could bolt past security and run down the concourse and then down the boarding ramp and onto the plane.

    You wouldn't have to stop someone from bolting past the security checkpoint--just be able to catch him after he does, and they can do that easily if they are watching...


    Big "if." (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:04:57 PM EST
    Hah, exactly. And (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 04:47:23 PM EST
    gosh, if the gummint was doing its job with the current system, we wouldn't be having to have this conversation now.  But it didn't, so we do.

    Hey now! (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:19:52 PM EST
    Professor Poopypants was an environmentalist!

    linky (none / 0) (#13)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:29:24 PM EST
    no work

    Try (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 03:32:54 PM EST
    Less than one week ago the brave confessed (none / 0) (#42)
    by kidneystones on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:35:12 PM EST
    they no longer flew. Quit. Caved. Can't be bothered. Isn't worth the hassle. Done that, been there.

    Now, the folks who have given up on flying unless they absolutely, really, really, really have to want the rest of us who like traveling, who have families, friends and professional colleagues around the world, visiting new places, or just plain like going home to visit ma and pa are cowards because we're fed up, too?

    The difference is, I don't feel like letting Osama tell me whether I can get on a plane or not. I am willing to have the US Customs service profile me in depth, including written and personal interviews even if that means lining up at an embassy. Cause that's what most visitors to the US have to do anyway to get a visa.

    I wouldn't, btw, advocate invading any new countries. What was that Condi said? One war per term.

    Hopefully the clown running the clown show either decided to stand aside, place in history assured, or is shown the door. I don't much care who replaces him. This is farce.

    You're one piece of work... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 05:49:44 PM EST

    I am willing to have the US Customs service profile me in depth, including written and personal interviews even if that means lining up at an embassy

    That is letting Osama tell us whether we can get on a plane or not.

    And the mere thought of such a place for a second gets me down.

    "These days its all secrecy and no privacy."


    Ha. Kdog, you think there's no profile (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:22:54 PM EST
    of you in some gummint file already, with all you say on these internet toob thingies?!

    Out of sight out of mind CC... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:26:34 PM EST
    no sense worryin' about stuff I can't control.

    Besides, if those little jerks don't know I'm harmless that's their problem:)


    If so, if there's no sense worrying (none / 0) (#48)
    by Cream City on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:34:21 PM EST
    about what you can't control, then just stop worrying about the topic of this entire post and thread. :-)

    Allow me to clarify... (none / 0) (#53)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:04:41 PM EST
    I don't worry about them coming for me, no more or less so then I worry about a bomber coming for me...of course I worry that they're coming for others.  And wonder why they have to come down so hard.

    Don't you?  I thought you were concerned as well...you're not just worried about your file are ya?


    If you can't tell the difference between Customs (none / 0) (#46)
    by kidneystones on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:24:14 PM EST
    and terrorists, you're the one with problems.

    You seem to believe you live in a benign non-intrusive society that allows individuals to do pretty much what they want. Don't confuse the freedom to download questionable viewing material and the powers that be turning a blind-eye to substance abuse if one happens to be the right color or from right zip-code. Liberty does not exist in any absolute or pure sense.

    I'm talking about retaining the freedom to use the toilet during the final hour of a nine hour flight; or work on a paper I may be presenting. I don't want to line-up anymore and I have no intention of changing my behaviors re: getting on planes.

    Screening everyone to make those from the demographics most likely to blow the rest of us up feel less culpable isn't my idea of responsible action.

    If we want a credit card, or a bank or car loan, or to join a good company, we agree to be investigated. This is normal. But I suppose you see your local bank manager as a kind of terrorist.

    Actually, come to think of it. She or he may be, I mean compared to a US customs agent. These people work for us. Get it?


    Agreeing to be investigated (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 06:49:51 PM EST
    I am not so keen on anyone doing that....A credit check is one thing....But being investigated before joining a good company....don't like that either.

    The U.S. Supreme Court gets a crack at workplace privacy this term in the Ontario v. Quon case.  A cop used a workplace pager to send racey pages....

    Kim Wardlaw of the Ninth Circuit held that because the cop's boss had a de facto policy of keeping the pages private if the cop paid for any use above the monthly plan, the cop had a reasonable expectation of privacy....Well, it appears that that decision will be reversed.

    There is less and less privacy....I am astonished at how little is really left....  


    Climbing into a cylinder with 200 (none / 0) (#55)
    by kidneystones on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:22:40 PM EST
    strangers and then hurtling 30,000 feet above earth at a speed of 600 mph isn't the same as sharing a cup of coffee.

    A background check seems entirely reasonable. Taxi drivers are compelled to display their licenses so we know they can drive.

    Any individual in an airplane has, we now know, the capacity to destroy all aboard. That's the fact.

    We're already invading everyone's privacy at airports. Now the TSA wants to turn flight attendants into prison guards. Let's compel everyone who wants to fly to submit to detailed background checks. Folks from high risk countries or backgrounds would get extra scrutiny and be expected to provide extra bona fides.

    Why not?


    What would constitute... (5.00 / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 07:48:10 AM EST
    a denial to fly during the interview and background check?  Religous affiliations?  Criminal record?  Websites visited?  Political beliefs?

    Oh, I see. Rather than respond (none / 0) (#72)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:40:32 AM EST
    to what I wrote, you're now talking about 'denial to fly'.

    What I wrote was undergo 'extra scrutiny' and provide additional bona fides'. I'll stand by that.

    As for your paranoid query about who is going to be denied the right to fly no matter how carefully they're screened or who steps up to speak for them, I'd say that group would consist of many of the same folks we already believe shouldn't be in the air, the ones who visit Yemen  to learn how to become terrorists, for example. Plus the folks we don't know about because we're so busy searching every single person who boards a plane every single time they fly no matter who they are or what their background. Unless, of course, they're famous.

    You seem to believe that banning bathroom breaks or staying off airplanes is the right solution.

    I'd prefer to give a free pass to the retired couple from Topeka who arrive at the airport with proper identification and devote our full attention where it might do some good. You want everyone to stand in line.



    And when your scrutinizer... (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:15:17 AM EST
    doesn't like what they hear I assume thats followed by a denied stamp...isn't that the point of your scary proposal?

    And no, what I suggest is walking past a bomb sniffing dog or through a bomb puffer machine, as well as a metal detector...and call it a day, scrap the rest of the nonsense we both appear to think is stupid.


    No, we don't agree (none / 0) (#87)
    by kidneystones on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 05:25:48 PM EST
    Because I'm not going to subject people we can reasonably presume to be innocent through any 'bomb-sniffing' detectors. Routine customs and immigrations searches are intrusive enough.

    I don't consider you or ninety-nine percent of the people who travel to be anything worse than willfully obnoxious and ignorant on occasion.

    You support the farce. I want it to end.


    Oh I get it... (none / 0) (#54)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 07:07:27 PM EST
    see above, I know what its like to pay for a pat down...I don't wanna pay for a sky-screen too.  I don't wanna pay for someone elses denied for no good reason either.  

    My point had nothing to do with being scared (none / 0) (#68)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Jan 11, 2010 at 11:47:32 PM EST
    it had everything to do with not recognizing that an enemy is attacking us and for us to decide we should just be brave and wait.

    Follow the comment trail..... back to the original.

    Please quit claiming (none / 0) (#73)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 09:55:35 AM EST
    things I have not claimed.

    If the countries, after chance after chance, are not correcting the problem they are no longer allies.


    And you still don't get the point (2.00 / 0) (#74)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:06:14 AM EST
    When you win a war you are no longer frightened of the enemy. In fact we have a long history making friends with those we have defeated and helping then forward into democracy.

    See Germany. See Japan. See Iraq, although that situation is still not stable.


    Ignorance (none / 0) (#78)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:06:19 PM EST
    Al Qaeda is not Germany or Japan....We are not fighting against a country that has a leadership who can surrender and ensure peace by doing so....

    Al Qaeda is a guerilla organization that can survive the demolition of entire countries....It numbers just a few thousand, is constantly regenerating and feeds off of resentment of the U.S.  The more you kill, especially civilians, the more terrorists are created....

    Target al Qaeda--but not entire countries....Your way would ultimately entail war against numerous Muslim countries.....and probably when all is done, all of Islam itself and probably Russia too....Sheer madness.


    Well, DA (none / 0) (#81)
    by jondee on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 12:53:26 PM EST
    if you had read further, you would have found that Hussein is one of "them", which of course explains everything.

    In A Little More Than Two Generations, (none / 0) (#86)
    by bob h on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 02:42:57 PM EST
    we have gone from crushing Imperial Japan and the Nazis in Western Europe to hysteria over Captain Underpants.

    Professor Poopy-Pants (none / 0) (#88)
    by Left of center on Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 07:33:50 PM EST
    I though David Vitter was professor poopy pants.

    Site violator! (none / 0) (#91)
    by Zorba on Tue May 21, 2013 at 08:45:57 AM EST
    Spam.  In a very old thread.