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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Failed National Security Strategy

In response to Jeffrey Rosen’s editorial on the TSA recently published in the Washington Post, the full body scans and intrusive pat downs are beyond his descriptions of invasive, annoying, and unconstitutional. By using these tools to thwart another terrorist attack on our nation’s airlines, the TSA fails the final exam in The Art of War 101, by not giving a modicum of credit to terrorist organizations’ war-fighting capability. Every war-hardened general would warn against underestimating one’s enemies; give them credit for their strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses.

We are still at war with a terrorist enemy; aren’t we? If so, then at least give them credit for understanding that attempting another sabotage of the U.S. airline system is not a successful strategy. It certainly should not take Sun Tzu to realize that our bridges are more susceptible to terrorist attacks, as are our trains and subway systems, as are our tunnels, as are our shopping malls and restaurants, and God forbid, so are our schools and houses of worship.

What seems to be more chilling than the government’s willingness to violate our Constitutional right of protection from unreasonable searches or seizures is the fact that few citizens seem to have a problem with it. According to a Gallop Poll, conducted days after the failed 2009 Christmas Day attack on an airliner bound for Detroit, 75 percent of Americans approve of the full-body scans. My blood curdles to consider the possibility of a dozen synchronized attacks on bridges and tunnels while our security apparatus is preoccupied with toothpaste, shampoo, shoes and underwear at the nation's airline terminals.

When the Federal government can violate the Constitution – in this case the 4th Amendment – with impunity, then I must ask, “How far are we away from waking up one morning to a police state.” I mean, for Pete sake, even the Southern landowners fought a war before they embraced the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, I’m not suggesting an armed uprising…but then, on second thought, perhaps that is what the founders of this country urged when the government becomes destructive:

…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government (emphasis mine)…

Do you really think that the alter or abolish clause of the Declaration of Independence was referring to a well organized campaign to vote the perpetrators out of office; considering that the authors of that document were embroiled in an armed revolution of their own as a result of its succession from England? Anyway, I’ll leave that argument to the scholars. However, to be clear, in the day when the Federal government possessed little more than muskets in the national arsenal, an armed uprising from the citizens probably would have had a possibility of success. But in the day of the Cruz missile that can be targeted to hit the coordinates on one’s cell phone, an armed effort to unseat this intrusive government would be akin to suicide.

Unfortunately, and to our peril, unless the American citizen awakes from its deep sleep, this country will continue its somnambulist trek into a future with significantly limited rights.

Back to the indignity of full body scans and intrusive pat downs: here is a lesson from the third grade that I never forgot – lightening does not strike twice in the same place. And anyone who thinks that it does should be given a dunce cap and not control of our nation’s domestic security.

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