The Corner

Fortress of Solitude, Cave of Cowardice

My New York Post column today, a companion to Friday’s piece, argues that it’s time to press our advantage over al-Qaeda and to take the fight to the enemy but good — not only abroad but right here at home:

Since 9/11, Americans have regarded al Qaeda with fear and loathing, as if the terrorists are all 10 feet tall. But the newly released photographs and videos of bin Laden show an old man living in squalor that would disgrace your average college student, working the remote control amidst a jumble of wires as he watched video coverage of himself.

The fact is, we have been lucky in our enemies. Since 9/11, most of the plots have been amateurish or inept, severely hampered by the Middle Easterners’ technological incapability. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to find Arabs who are any good at this work?” the Saudi terrorist Abu Zubayda, captured in Pakistan in 2002, is said to have asked his US interrogators.

One of the lingering after-effects of bin Laden’s lucky, lethal sucker punch is the ongoing criminalization of the vast, vast, vast majority of American citizens any time they have the effrontery to fly. Guilty until proven innocent: It was an unforced error by the Bush administration and its dopey transportation secretary, Norman Mineta, who was busy working out his own unresolved issues about the Japanese internment camps during World War II. 

Last month, the video of a TSA goon intrusively patting down a 6-year-old at the New Orleans airport justifiably went viral. Here was a little girl being subjected to the kind of treatment that would be called molestation were it not conducted by a government employee.

This sort of outrage has got to stop. The TSA — an organization that arguably doesn’t even need to exist at the federal level — needs to show the same sort of targeted aggressiveness that the Special Ops units do, and stop playing defense by essentially criminalizing everybody who walks into an airport…

Which means PC shackles need to come off. Surely the TSA can come up with a system that allows American citizens whose families have been here for generations, who fly frequently and who have no criminal records to board an airplane expeditiously — in other words, the vast majority. If that “discriminates” against recent immigrants and tourists from the Muslim world, tough. There are more important issues at stake than somebody’s feelings.

The notion that we need to cringe helplessly while a government employee freely fondles our children at the state’s behest ought to be repugnant to every red-blooded American. And the crack TSA’ers certainly didn’t stop incidents like these — which in at least two of the cases were handled by the passengers and crew themselves. 

Meanwhile, our crack media, caught between a rock of multiculturalism and a PC hard place, writes something like this about the incident in San Francisco:

He was identified as 28-year-old Rageit Almurisi. He carried a Yemen passport, but it wasn’t clear if his nationality was also Yemeni . . .

Yemeni, Schmemeni, who can tell? At least they didn’t describe him as a Swede. When your only notion of nationality is a travel document, you’ve long since abandoned the idea of the nation-state and descended into bureaucratic, politically correct, culturally suicidal madness.


Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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