Star Parker

The common explanation of why we cannot implement Israeli-style airport security here, despite acknowledging that the Israeli approach is the world's best, is logistics.

Israelis don't rely on machines. Their approach is human centered. All passengers get a quick interview by an agent trained to identify revealing behavior.

Such an approach, the reasoning goes, is possible in a nation dealing with 10 million passengers annually, but with the 600 million we deal with, the logistics become unmanageable.

But this is not the whole story.

It's true that the Israelis use primarily people rather than machines to screen. But the real difference in the Israeli approach and success is reliance on human judgment.

Human judgment can never be removed from the equation. We've been sold, and we're buying, the big lie that machines can replace human judgment and responsibility.

All technology starts with people. It is people who define problems and then design machines to deal with those problems. If the problem is incorrectly defined to begin with, then the machine, no matter how technologically sophisticated, is not going to solve it.

In other words -- garbage in, garbage out.

The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. The Israelis know their enemy. They know exactly what to look for and their priority is to identify and stop them.

I wish I could say the same here. But I can't. And this is the problem.

How can we possibly use technology to identify and root out terrorists when the leaders of our country cannot, or refuse to identify with clarity who these individuals are and what they are about?

This latest round of humiliation that we citizens have to endure - electronic strip searches or intimate physical groping of our bodies - is the result of the so called "underwear bomber" incident from last Christmas.

Can we possibly forget that our Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the nation after that incident that" the system worked?" Or can we allow ourselves to forget that when Napolitano began her new job she wanted to expunge the word "terrorism" from our vocabulary and call these incidents "man-caused disasters?"

Or can we forget the exchange in congressional hearings between Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Attorney General Eric Holder where Holder refused to acknowledge a link between terrorism and radical Islam?

Holder said then, "There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them potentially religious."

Israelis can identify terrorists because they know exactly who they are and what they're about.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.