The Transportation Security Administration's demeaning new "enhanced pat-down" procedures are a direct result of the Obama administration's willful blindness to the threat from Islamic radicals. While better tools are available to keep air travelers safe, they would involve recognizing the threat for what it is, which is something the White House will never do.
El Al, Israel's national airline, employs a smarter approach. Any airline representing the state of Israel is a natural - some might say preeminent - target for terrorist attacks. Yet El Al has one of the best security records in the world and doesn't resort to wide-scale use of methods that would under other circumstances constitute sexual assault. The Israelis have achieved this track record of safety by employing sophisticated intelligence analysis which allows them to predict which travelers constitute a possible threat and which do not. Resources are then focused on the more probable threats with minimal intrusion on those who are likely not to be terrorists.
Here in the United States, these sophisticated techniques have roundly been denounced as discriminatory "profiling." Allegedly postracial America has been unable to come to grips with the difference between immoral and illegal racial discrimination and the prudent use of the types of techniques that police on the beat use every day, which is similar to practices the customs service applies to assessing which packages being sent into the country are licit and which were sent by smugglers. TSA believes an 80-year-old grandmother deserves the same level of scrutiny at an airport terminal checkpoint as a 19-year-old male exchange student from Yemen.
Let's revisit a column by Victor Davis Hanson from 2009, where he wrote about the unbelievable confusion exhibited by the Obama Administration on
But more than one-third of all terrorist plots since 9/11 transpired in 2009 — despite loud chest-thumping about rejecting the idea of a war on terror, reaching out to the Muslim world, and apologizing for purported American sins. A non-impoverished Major Hasan or Mr. Mutallab (or Mr. Atta or KSM) does not fit with the notion that our enemies act out of poverty or oppression or want.
In fact, what we are witnessing is a strange mishmash. On the one hand, after repeatedly trashing the Bush protocols in 2007–08, Obama has quietly adopted most of them — keeping the Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, renditions, the concept of tribunals, Predator attacks, forward offensive strategies in Afghanistan, and the Bush-Petraeus timetable in Iraq.
But on the other hand, the Obama administration has embraced largely empty symbolism — promising to "close Guantanamo within a year," mouthing euphemisms such as "overseas-contingency operations" ("this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'"), and "man-made disasters," while announcing showy new politically-correct moves (such as a public trial for KSM) and subjecting CIA operatives to legal hazard.
Apparently, the Obama administration came into office in January 2009 thinking that the notion of a "war on terror" was archaic and largely had been an excuse for the Bush-Cheney nexus to scare the nation for partisan political purposes. Given the long period of calm after 9/11, the somnolent "good" war in Afghanistan, and the sudden quiet in the "bad" Iraq theater, Obama preferred to focus on Bush's constitution-shredding rather than on national security. What vestigial danger remained could be changed by the charisma of Barack Obama, the obvious appeal of his ancestry to the Muslim world, and the ritual demonization of George Bush.
But Obama has discovered that there really are radical Islamic threats; that Bush's record of seven years of security was no accident; and that the "good" war is heating up. Obama has been forced by events to quietly find ways of emulating Bush's successful anti-terrorism formula, while making loud but empty declarations to mollify his liberal base (which so far seems pacified that Guantanamo is "virtually" closed, and that KSM is "virtually" facing an ACLU dream trial).
We continue to witness a strange mishmash of conflicting memes and confusing behaviors--not on the part of the terrorists, but on the part of Obama and friends. The terrorists are remarkably consistent and rather persistant in their desire to kill us.
The Democratics have adopted the Alfred E. Neuman "What, Me Worry?" approach to national security; and their denial about the threat of Islamic terrorism continues to evolve into complex rationalizations and nuanced idiocies that refuse to confront the true nature of the threat. In fact, their response is, by now, reflexive ("Don't jump to conclusions..."; ). Terrorism is just a four-letter word--BUSH! And it is merging ever closer with the post-colonial, postmodern feminist nonsense I wrote about earlier this week; i.e., a belief that it is America (or Israel) who are the root cause of the problems in the Middle East, and responsible for causing the poor helpless and oppressed radicals of Islam to want to kill people in the west. Just be nicer to them--reach out a hand of friendship and they will see it is only the EVIL REPUBLICANS AND/OR CAPITALISTS who are to blame!
If, they don't cut it off first.
On an instinctive and fundamental level, Obama and the minions of the progressive left understand that to confront the Islamic nature of the terror threat would cause an entire house of PC cards to come crashing down. And the last thing they want to do is to go there, because "going there" would force them to acknowledge some painful realities that they are not capable of dealing with.
I often wonder these days if there is ANY reality this Administration and its leftist base ARE capable of dealing with, since they all appear to happily reside in some sort of anti-reality happy bubble.
You could interpret all their behavior as symptomatic of a combined hysterical blindness, deafness and dumbness--but it is far too perverse and immutably out of touch with reality for it to be a simple neurosis. What we are witnessing is a collective political psychosis.