Emmett Tyrrell
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We are at war with savages who sneak explosives onto airplanes and turn them into bombs. Such brutes have no sense of discrimination between a war zone and a civilian zone. Actually, if they could mark off a war zone, wherever would it be? They are total nihilists and want to kill us all -- and themselves. They cannot possibly win, but surely we can lose, and one of the things we will lose first is our freedom.

The scanners are opposed on two grounds, health and privacy. It is claimed by some that the radiation emitted by the scanners is dangerous. The government denies it, saying more radiation awaits passengers on their flights than comes from scanners. The other ground is constitutional, the right to be free from unreasonable searches. I am not knowledgeable enough in science to address the first matter. Suffice to say, given the choice of a terrorist overhead with a bomb or loose on my airplane and a spot of radiation, I would choose the radiation. On the constitutional matter, I am more comfortable.

Terror poses an enormous threat to the free society. The terrorists can attack us anyplace, which is why I rather like the idea of citizens free to carry arms. The scanners and the pat-downs are a dreadful threat to freedom and personal dignity, except for what they are meant to combat, terrorists -- thugs who would attack the unarmed and innocent. Scanners and pat-downs can be executed with care or with stupid disregard for our dignity. In the event that we are violated, we can protest. We will not have a chance to protest the terrorists.

In an age of Facebook and social networking, it is a little difficult to take all the protests over airport security seriously. How many of Donnelly's legions have a Web presence? And of course, no one is forcing us to use airplanes when we travel. Doubtless, in time we shall have a technological fix for airport security. It seems we always have in the past. Until then, we shall have to live like the Israelis. Be vigilant and thwart terror. They do it all the time, and an Israeli neurotic about personal liberty is just as neurotic as any American.

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Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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