Terror war follies / Dangerous dreams at State, TSA (NEW YORK POST OP-ED) By MICHAEL A. WALSH 04/26/12)
NEW YORK POST
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Psst, have you heard the news? The Global War on Terror is finito.
So an unnamed senior State Department official recently told a
National Journal writer: “The war on terror is over. Now that we have
killed most of al Qaeda, now that people have come to see legitimate
means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaeda
see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism.”
Translation: Thanks to the vigorous drone campaign against the
remnants of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization, and to the Arab
Spring, it’s safe for the Obama administration to embrace the Muslim
Brotherhood and other Islamists coming to power in Egypt and
The “War on Terror” meme is an unwelcome relic of the Bush era. It’s
time to move on.
There’s some truth here. President Obama’s administration has
vigorously continued and even expanded his predecessor’s relentless
hunting of al Qaeda terrorists, raining remote-controlled death from
But if the terror war is effectively over, why are 300 million
Americans still in a state of transportation lockdown?
If a few dead-enders are all that’s left of al Qaeda, why not end the
farce that is “airport security” under the widely loathed
Transportation Security Administration and return to the days before
9/11, when you didn’t have to be strip-searched to board a plane?
Instead, of course, the TSA is expanding its reach to bus and train
stations — and adding ever-more intrusive technology to its airport
And why is the Fourth Amendment (which protects against unreasonable
searches and seizures) still being violated if the threat has passed?
Because these two very different branches of our government have such
very different dreams.
Neither career diplomats at State nor their current Obama-ite
political overseers ever much cottoned to the War on Terror — which
made it so much more difficult to come to terms with our enemies. But
the threat was the mother of the Department of Homeland Security,
parent of the TSA, and remains the mother’s milk of its empire-
Both branches prefer to ignore their duty to the public.
Far from changing the antipathetic nature of Arab societies toward
the West, the Arab Spring — for now, anyway — is merely replacing
relatively secular dictators with hard-line Islamists, who openly
call for the destruction of Israel and the imposition of sharia law.
The Muslim Brotherhood credo: “God is our objective; the Koran is our
constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death
for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”
Not much resemblance to the Founding Fathers there.
Even the death of al Qaeda leaves us with the likes of Hamas and
Hezbollah — not to mention Iran. Oh, and homegrown jihadis like Maj.
Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 of his fellow servicemen at Fort Hood in
The threat remains — but it never justified most of the TSA’s
nonsense. Nothing excuses the rudeness and the pawing — let alone the
molestation and the pilferage. For all the show of security,
these “inspectors” miss as much as 70 percent of the weapons that
pass their way.
True, TSA is moving — well, creeping — toward a “trusted-traveler”
program to pre-clear the bulk of the citizenry. The agency’s even
testing the radical idea of letting passengers over age 75 keep their
shoes and light jackets on.
From State to Homeland Security, it’s the duty of the political
masters to remind the bureaucrats of the public interest — to demand
a realistic appraisal of threats and also guard our personal
The main issue in the upcoming election will be the economy. But
personal freedom and economic freedom are linked; you can’t have
growth without mobility.
So it’s time to call the politicians’ bluff. If the terrorist threat
is over, why not ease up on travel restrictions? Or are we all
condemned to suffering the so-called “long war” with no end in sight —
or even possible?
Which is it?
The man who best answers that question will be the next president.
(Copyright 2012 NYP Holdings, Inc. 04/26/12)
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