Saturday, December 04, 2004

Political Correctness Still Cripples Airlines' Anti-Terrorism Efforts

We are slightly more than three years removed from the murderous events of September 11th. In addition to the horrific events of that day, we have seen equally horrific events across the globe -- none as great in scope, but all equally reprehensible. And for those who are willing to open their eyes and see what is happening, it has become apparent that the threat of large-scale terrorism flows from one source and one source alone: radical Islam.

It has become equally apparent, however, that some people have failed to understand the source of the threat -- and this failure may yet lead to another disaster, on our own soil or elsewhere. Recently, American Airlines (AA) has suffered financially at the hands of politically correct federal civil rights lawyers because the airline had the audacity to (hold on to your seats, folks) screen passenger lists, cross-check them with terrorist watch lists, and prevent persons from boarding whose identity could not be confirmed before those flights departed. In essence, for doing the smart thing, and taking reasonable precautionary measures to protect their flights, AA was taken to court by our own government, and will ultimately pay millions in judgments to people who might even be terrorists. It goes without saying that other airlines have felt the pinch, or will in the future. (And you wonder why we are paying for snack mix on flights these days . . . )

This is the insanity of political correctness: it prevents people from exercising common sense in the name of national security, and if this madness continues, Americans will be killed by more terrorist attacks.

What decades ago was called good detective work -- i.e., taking a clue about what to look for and applying it to future situations -- has somehow been smeared with the false moniker of "racial profiling." We learned on September 11th that young Muslim extremists who originated from the Middle East were willing to board flights and do anything they could to hurt Americans. That is a pretty damn significant clue, and we would be foolish to ignore that fact. It is therefore irrational, and a waste of precious resources, to apply the same screening efforts to, say, Presbyterian aerobics instructors from Minnesota or Methodist real estate agents from Arkansas.

I expect such a P.C. mantra from the left: that somehow, by screening flight lists and looking for high-risk individuals, we're hurting the wittle feewings of offended Muswims. Awwww. I could care less about their feelings when national security is at stake. I would rather a thousand Muslims have their feelings hurt than one American citizen die. I would also like to think that an American citizen who is Muslim or of Arabic descent (who also, by the way, benefits from these protections) would understand that such a basic screening process was business and not personal, and would take it in stride.

What I find most frustrating about this latest episode of political correctness run amok is that it is coming at the hands of our own government -- specifically, the Departments of Justice and Transportation.

In essence, what we have is a situation where the airlines were accused of being too lax on security prior to September 11th. Now, they are being penalized for following the government's instructions to secure flights and make passengers safer. If we are going to ask airlines to make things safer, we cannot sue the proverbial pants off of them if they do what we ask. Only a common-sense shift will stop these lawsuits, encourage airlines to do what is necessary, and improve safety conditions at home.

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