Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TSA - a monster of our own making

Youngest son reports that the security check at Dulles was no big deal, contrary to the breathless predictions only a couple of days ago. No protesters, no long lines, no junk. He said he wasn't even scanned. Yet another blown-out-of-proportion story; a product of our 24/7 news cycle and a cynical few on both sides who want to game for their own purposes.

Glenn Greenwald, while guilty of ramping up the amps in his Salon article, Government yells "Terrorism" to justify TSA procedures, has some pointed observations to make that pretty much leaves all the actors in this latest bit of Security Theater with eggs on their faces.

First the Transportation Safety Administration:

This is the all-justifying, cure-all solution for every problem: government officials run to the nearest media outlet they can find and anonymously scream "TERRORISM."  No evidence is needed; the anonymity precludes all accountability; fear levels are quickly ratcheted up; and everything the Government wants to do then becomes justifiable in its name.
But lest you think the Republicans (and here I include Tea Party sympathizers) are on high moral ground:
In one corner we have the American Right, magically re-discovering their alleged belief in privacy and government restraint now that they see an opportunity to politically harm Obama by waving that flag once again.  These, of course, are the very same people who spent the last decade cheering on every radical expansion of unchecked government authority and privacy destruction when it was their Party doing it -- ones far, far worse than these airport screening measures -- and who will undoubtedly do exactly the same thing the next time a Republican occupies the White House.
 But there is plenty of bad faith to go around:
In the other corner, we have the Democrats, who -- in perfect unison -- would be screaming bloody murder about these methods and waving the Flag of Civil Liberties if George W. Bush were still President, as they would smell partisan advantage from doing so. 
Finally, least you think the citizenry is the victim in all this, Greenwald delivers the knockout punch:
And then we have the indignant, put-upon American People. They're not angry that the Government had adopted inexcusably invasive and irrational security measures.  They're just angry that, this time, it's being directed at them -- rather than those dark, exotic, foreign-seeming Muslims who deserve it, including their own fellow citizens.  And if there were a successful bombing plot against a passenger jet, many of those most vocally objecting now would be leading the way in attacking the Government for not having kept them Safe, and would be demanding even more invasive measures -- just directed at those Other People, the Bad Dark People over there.
To quote (yet again), the late, great Walt Kelly, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Go to Salon and read Glenn Greenwald's whole post.

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