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Some Thoughts on the Latest Man-Caused Disaster Attempt

When someone from Nigeria named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is lighting his pants in the window seat, it's pretty hard to be politically correct and avoid reality.

by
Rand Simberg

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December 27, 2009 - 10:58 am
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A few reflections on the terrorist attempt aboard Northwest Flight 253:

1. What happened to “man-caused disasters”? I thought that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told us that we weren’t going to call it terrorism anymore? Or is the response to the Christmas Day terror attempt a sign (just like the Nobel acceptance speech) that the administration is finally embracing reality after the hopey-changey first few months? In fact, unlike in the case of the Fort Hood attack, there also has been no hesitancy from the press to call this latest incident terror. Why the difference?

I’m guessing that, as ridiculous as it looked for them to deny jihadism in the case of the murderous major, it would have been completely untenable in this case. Major Nidal Malik Hasan was an American after all, albeit a treasonous one, and they had the pre-post-traumatic-stress straw to grasp, at least until they finally got laughed off the stage. But when someone from Nigeria named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is lighting his pants in the window seat, it’s pretty hard to kick the litter over the turd, no matter how desperately the urge to be politically correct and avoid reality.

2. Once again, airline passengers 1, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) 0.

And the response of the TSA?

To further punish the passengers, of course. I see that now no one will be allowed to leave their seats one hour prior to landing or have items in their laps, including laptops and pillows. And of course, as usual, the new measures, hastily put into place because something happened, will be measures that would likely have had no effect on what happened. But since they already had measures in place, and something happened anyway, they have to do something new to keep the curtains open in the theater. What next? In addition to deshoeing ourselves, will we have to drop trou in security? It’s ironic that on the day commemorating the birth of a lone man who was supposed to die for all of our sins, a little over two millennia later, we are now going to all have to suffer for the sin of another lone man.

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