by Chris | November 23rd, 2010

Like usual the press (conservative and liberal alike) is obsessed with an issue of moderate importance.  This time the issue de jour is airport screening.  No, it’s not the first time this issue has been debated, and it won’t be the last.

Since President Bush expanded the reach and scope of the Federal government through the Patriot Act this has been an issue.  Those Republicans loyal to the party regardless of circumstance applaud this intrusion into our privacy citing the value it brings to public safety.  Democrats hated it because of the power it gave the government … until they held the reigns.

The truth is that it does increase public safety.  But then so would requiring every citizen to make every purchase through the Federal government to ensure that we are protected against those attempting to make homemade bombs; or routing everyone’s personal finances through the Federal government to mitigate money laundering from terrorist.

While these are important issues and worthy of debate there is a two-fold problem.  First the rabid fever with which this issue is being addressed, and second (but more important) is the fact that government bureaucracies way of dealing with this and any issue is not innovation and efficiency but by crafting new policies and micromanaging the application and results.

The problem is that because of our fear we have allowed the Federal government additional powers, and the Federal government has been myopic and naïve in its response.

Clearly terrorism is a real problem.  Clearly they used commercial airplanes as a weapon.  Clearly the use of airplanes as a weapon is something that needs to be addressed.  However, while everyone is running around arguing about what search methods should be utilized the terrorists are laughing and planning more attacks with different weapons.

The possibilities are endless.  They could use our water system, electrical grid, Internet (like the “flash crash” on Wall Street), human bombs in shopping malls, chemical attacks in our vaccines, et al.

I don’t know what the answer is … that’s not my job.  I do know that our obsession with the TSA has limited value and that by focusing on that leave us vulnerable in other areas.

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