The sole objective of airport security post-9/11 has been to accomplish the impossible -- remove all sharp objects from a plane -- in order to prevent an attack that won't ever happen again. (OK -- well, that and finding out what color of lingerie Ann Coulter prefers.)
The plan seems to be to make flying so unpleasant that terrorists -- like the people who write laws about airport security -- will refuse to fly commercial air. On that theory, we could also keep terrorists off planes by forcing passengers to undergo root canal surgery before boarding, making them stand on their heads for an hour, or enacting an "all Whoopi Goldberg in-flight movie" policy.
What stopped last week's terrorist attack was ethnic profiling. We don't know the details of the British intelligence work that nabbed the 24 Muslims because The New York Times has not been able to obtain that classified information and publish it on its front page yet. But it is a fact that you could not catch 24 Muslim terrorists by surveilling everyone in Britain equally.
Without the ethnic profiling going on outside of airports, no security procedure currently permissible inside airports would have prevented a terrorist attack that would have left thousands dead.
Airplanes, ports, bridges, subways and shopping malls cannot ever be sanitized against every type of attack that can be dreamed up by fanatics engaged in asymmetrical warfare. We have to target the fanatics themselves. Baby formula doesn't kill people. Islamic fascists kill people.
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