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Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
24 Nov 2015
The Disappearing Governors

There is a painful irony in a recent decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on the side of … Read More.

24 Nov 2015
Political Translations

It is amazing how many different ways the same thing can be said, creating totally different impressions. For example,… Read More.

17 Nov 2015
Random Thoughts

Random thoughts on the passing scene: Some financial institutions may be considered "too big to fail," but … Read More.

Airport "Security"?


No country has better airport security than Israel— and no country needs it more, since Israel is the most hated target of Islamic extremist terrorists. Yet, somehow, Israeli airport security people don't have to strip passengers naked electronically or have strangers feeling their private parts.

Does anyone seriously believe that we have better airport security than Israel? Is our security record better than theirs?

"Security" may be the excuse being offered for the outrageous things being done to American air travelers, but the heavy-handed arrogance and contempt for ordinary people that is the hallmark of this administration in other areas is all too painfully apparent in these new and invasive airport procedures.

Can you remember a time when a Cabinet member in a free America boasted of having his "foot on the neck" of some business or when the President of the United States threatened on television to put his foot on another part of some citizens' anatomy?

Yet this and more has happened in the current administration, which is not yet two years old. One Cabinet member warned that there would be "zero tolerance" for "misinformation" when an insurance company said the obvious, that the mandates of ObamaCare would raise costs and therefore raise premiums. Zero tolerance for exercising the First Amendment right of free speech?

More than two centuries ago, Edmund Burke warned about the dangers of new people with new power. This administration, only halfway through its term, has demonstrated that in many ways.

What other administration has had an Attorney General call the American People "cowards"? And refuse to call terrorists Islamic? What other administration has had a Secretary of Homeland Security warn law enforcement officials across the country of security threats from people who are anti-abortion, for federalism or are returning military veterans?

If anything good comes out of the airport "security" outrages, it may be in opening the eyes of more people to the utter contempt that this administration has for the American people.

Those who made excuses for all of candidate Barack Obama's long years of alliances with people who expressed their contempt for this country, and when as president he appointed people with a record of antipathy to American interests and values, may finally get it when they feel some stranger's hand in their crotch.

As for the excuse of "security," this is one of the least security-minded administrations we have had.

When hundreds of illegal immigrants from terrorist-sponsoring countries were captured crossing the border from Mexico— and then released on their own recognizance within the United States, that tells you all you need to know about this administration's concern for security.

When captured terrorists who are not covered by either the Geneva Convention or the Constitution of the United States are nevertheless put on trial in American civilian courts by the Obama Justice Department, that too tells you all you need to know about how concerned they are about national security.

The rules of criminal justice in American courts were not designed for trying terrorists. For one thing, revealing the evidence against them can reveal how our intelligence services got wind of them in the first place, and thereby endanger the lives of people who helped us nab them.

Not a lot of people in other countries, or perhaps even in this country, are going to help us stop terrorists if their role is revealed and their families are exposed to revenge by the terrorists' bloodthirsty comrades.

What do the Israeli airport security people do that American airport security do not do? They profile. They question some individuals for more than half an hour, open up all their luggage and spread the contents on the counter— and they let others go through with scarcely a word. And it works.

Meanwhile, this administration is so hung up on political correctness that they have turned "profiling" into a bugaboo. They would rather have electronic scanners look under the clothes of nuns than to detain a Jihadist imam for some questioning.

Will America be undermined from within by an administration obsessed with political correctness and intoxicated with the adolescent thrill of exercising its new-found powers? Stay tuned.

To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is



15 Comments | Post Comment
The terrorists have won.

Tell me I'm wrong.

Comment: #1
Posted by: Tomas
Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:35 AM
Your stimulus dollars at work.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Fred
Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:06 AM
Your stimulus dollars at work.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Fred
Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:06 AM
Your stimulus dollars at work.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Fred
Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:06 AM
All these intimidation tactics have NOTHING to do with "security." They are all about pitting the people who cower and tremble at the very thought of "terrorists" and expect the government to "keep us safe from them even if we give up some liberty and dignity" against those who ask, "Who will keep us safe from our own government?" The overreach of this administration impacts me more on a daily level than any terrorist, and those who criticize as hypocrites those of us who oppose "freedom fondling" but do not protest the Patriot Act don't understand that the Patriot Act is targeted against those who have reason to be suspected--the over (or "under") reach of TSA is against average citizens who just want to "get home to see their loved ones" (as Powerbot Pistole so poetically phrased it). I think it's a way to find out how easily Americans will submit for a promise of "security."
The timing of all this (just before major holiday travel) is also suspect.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Political Diva
Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:37 AM
I find the excuse of "security" wanting due to two facts. The first: If Janet Incompetano were serious about protecting, and her boss, king obama I actually wanted to protect people, there would be serious action on our southern border problems, and second, if these two incompetent losers were serious about protecting the air transport industry, they would be profiling for the people who ACUTALLY DO POSE A THREAT TO OUR SAFETY.

Until these two do these things that would really work, I will not accept their excuses.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Jobe
Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:27 AM
Could we all wear a small sign, " I am helping to keep this plane safe. I am carrying a pork sandwich."?
Comment: #7
Posted by: Brenda Gleason
Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:30 AM
How interesting it is that those who are so adamently against profiling are the same ones who condemned California governor candidate Meg Whitman for not recognizing and reporting her housemaid for being an illegal alien.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Patrick Chase
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:04 AM
Uncle Thomas Sowell strikes again! If I were such a self-hating black man, I'd shoot myself!
Comment: #9
Posted by: Ray
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:46 AM
To Ray #9

You must be a liberal/progressive. You and your cohorts are the only ones who play the 'race' card.

Thomas Sowell is an American Patriot, period....
Comment: #10
Posted by: rusino
Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:59 AM
"opening the eyes of more people to the utter contempt that this administration has for the American people" this represents some of the same concerns I have for the current security measures. I was randomly selected for a pat down in the open which left me sobbing out of utter humiliation. I read an article in our local paper that quoted the president as stating that this in an inconvenience for travelers. Taking my shoes off is an inconvenience, being patted down like a criminal when not all people were being selected, is a travesty. It is the beginning of the end of the privilege of being free in our nation. Thank you for addressing the underlying issue.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Babbett
Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:15 PM
Profiling would be fine, but if couldn't be on the same scale as Israel's. Israel has fewer than 100 flights a day to and from; the U.S. has 7,000. I wonder what those who whine about the inconvenience will say if--one could almost say when--another Christmas bomber gets through and blows up a plane over a U.S. city.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Thomas Letchfield
Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:40 PM
Where was Thomas Sowell when the GOP was trashing our constitutional rights with such gems as the USA PATRIOT act? Could it be that only democratic administrations could be found by Mr. Sowell to be harming citizens rights? Sowell the researcher can be first rate. I find Sowell the columnist to often be little more than a GOP mouthpiece. I also suspect that Sowell would find the invasiveness of the Israeli system a bit over the top were he to be sorted out for close scrutiny.
I am glad that Brenda (Comment #7) is not the profiler-in-chief. Timothy McVeigh would be welcome on planes in her world, but not Jews, Buddhists, and vegans.
Thomas (comment #1), unfortunately, you are correct. The Bush administration lost no time in attacking our civil rights 911, and Obama has not had the political courage to return them. When the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight, many on the right credited, rightly or wrongly, President Reagan with bankrupting them with our military buildup. I wonder if fans of Bin Laden will someday say "Osama's team, armed only with box cutters, tricked the United States into taking its own citizens rights and bleeding itself into bankruptcy with two un-winnable wars. One war even took out one of our enemies!
This issue is complex. This screening method would likely have stopped the Christmas day bomber and the shoe guy. It would have missed the guy who recently attempted to assassinate a Saudi prince with a bomb hidden inside of his body. It also does not address the issue of air freight being carried in passenger planes. It is a work in progress and I am willing to give them a bit of time to sort it out.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Mark
Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:55 PM
Re: Ray
In the spirit of bipartisanship, I'll hold the gun for you to pull the trigger.
You probably don't know which end the bullet comes out.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Tom Frank
Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:01 PM
Your article on AIRPORT SECURITY? was EXCELLENT!! You have nailed the "Obama and crew " attitude towards the American people right on the head!!
Comment: #15
Posted by: DICK
Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:05 PM
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