US Transportation Security is back in the headlines. President Obama has stepped into the arena and he is swinging, “unacceptable” failures - as he put it, and he vows to change that. The headlines are full of TSA (Transportation Security Agency) “failures” and Intelligence Agency “failures”. According to the media, approximately the entire system does not seem to be working. Screening equipment that has raised privacy questions in the past is being reviewed again, the “List” of possible threats is being reviewed and updated, and it doesn’t stop there.
The Politically Incorrect word of the day is “Profiling.” Recently there was a quasi demonstration against El Al in South Africa. Their gripe: El Al uses profiling, which is unacceptable to the South Africans.
Not surprisingly, almost anytime Israeli security is mentioned in the media, there is someone out there that brings up how “bad and evil” the Israelis are. The security at Ben Gurion Airport has been cited over and over again as arguably the best in the world and El Al security policies are being re-examined once again. Israel has lived with the threat of terrorism since its creation; due to lack of choice, the Israeli security apparatus has had to excel in all fields, always a step ahead of the game.
For all of those that like to demonstrate against security methods used by Israel which are now being adopted by other countries, here are a few thoughts for you.
In the “enlightened” world, profiling is a no-no. The latest statements are that there will be more measures taken to secure flights coming out of certain regions, i.e. most of the Arab countries; European and Canadian airports will be making extra efforts and will be adding new procedures and processes to the security assessment of passengers traveling to the United States. The full body scan is being reintroduced, as is closer screening on passengers.
This is very impressive. Very. Impressive. Indeed.
Let us take a look at this “terror” alert and scare, shall we? Extreme Islam is the agreed upon threat, with Al Qaeda as its flagship. Who makes up Al Qaeda and Extreme Islam? Drum roll, please… You got it, Muslims. This means security personnel will be paying a lot more attention to Muslim passengers, especially if they come from Arab countries. Of course, they “might” pull out 20 passengers from various backgrounds, but we all know who they are really looking at, and it is not Sister Mary Frances.
The fact is that “Profiling” is and has been used forever in the security world and it will continue to be used. “Randomly selecting” a nun over someone who fits the “profile” is more than silly. It’s laughable. After all, what are we trying to achieve? Safety, an uneventful trip, and getting back to our families in one piece.
The fact is that the Islamic world has produced more terrorists than any other group, and this reality comes with consequences. This is not racism, not apartheid. This is pure, common-sense security, whose only goal is to protect. And we “apologize” that our job translates to what others view as “mean.” This is not an easy or sensitive world – we are concerned about people’s lives.
I am sure there will be those that will shout “Privacy rights,” “Racism,” and so on. But I think the majority of the traveling public will agree that a safe, uneventful trip is far more important to them then hurting someone’s feelings or offending people who look the part.
It should be known, that the security agencies of the United States have great people working for them, they need to be allowed to work and succeed. Of course they need to be under control, and sensitivities must be monitored, but never at the cost of the lives of innocent people.
The TSA should be hiring talented and skilled people; it should not be an alternative to Welfare. The Department of Homeland Security should realize that Political Correctness is not part of the equation: the only factor is keeping travelers safe, and most importantly, alive.
Call it what you may: screening, increased security, even profiling. Whatever you choose, I conclude as I began “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”