Now that the news about The Plot to Blow Up Airliners is old news, let's leave fantasy land for a flight to the Land of Facts and Figures. Lets do this before we, as the inheritors of freedoms that other generations have fought and paid for with their blood and children, decide to roll over and surrender more freedoms to this increasingly Orwellian police state called America. Lets do it while we still can.
If you thought flying was hell last Wednesday, by last Thursday airline passengers found themselves in an even worse place. Just when travelers may say to themselves, "Well, at least airline travel can't get any worse," guess what? It did.
Married to a British wife, I have the pleasure of frequent travel to England (8 hours from here, direct, 13 hours from start to finish) with three kids, ages 7, 5 and 2. While the airlines have continued to cut back on comfort services (like beverages and food), we've of course been forced to bring our own.
On Thursday, the day that British officials announced the foiling of an evil plot to destroy midair up to ten American airlines enroute between Britian and the United States. Predictably, as they have done all along, Homeland Security imposed tighter after-the-fact restrictions on airline passengers, even as the terrorists have (if history is our guide) moved on to more nefarious plans. "Oh, well," a harried traveler said on TV while being interviewed in some major US airport, "If it makes us safer, then its a good thing."
Is it? And are we truly safer?
The U.S. Government is guilty of exposing the biggest weakness of our Democratic system. That is, that democracy only works when the governed trust the government. Bush's continued lies that the war on terror has made us a safer nation is ludicrous, and patriots have the duty to challenge this lie. The fact is, if the terrorists goal is to destroy America (I believe it is), then Al Qaeda doesn't even need to blow up airplanes. They only need to TRY to blow up airplanes. They only need to be ACCUSED of trying to blow up airplanes. I don't know if a link to Al Qaeda has been proven in this instance, but just for fun, lets say it has.
Al Qaeda knows that by provoking the U.S., George W.'s administration will, predictably, overreact, overreach, overcommit, overextend, and over indebt America, especially in this election year.
Al Qaeda knows that by sacrificing just 25 of their people in an operation that will likely have cost them less than a million dollars, they will provoke George W. into doing their work for them, which is to take away the Freedoms of the American people. They know that that by provoking George W., that the U.S. will probably now spend even more billions and billions and billions of dollars, forcing America spend its children's future by adding even more debt onto the unbelievable 7 trillion dollars that we owe, and which is casting doubt on the future of our children and aged.
Al Qaeda's genius is that they are using us against ourselves. By spending millions, they provoke us to spend trillions. They only need out-wait us: out-wait our pocket book, our national resolve, our ability to endure humiliating search, and our boiling anger at losting our precious civil rights.
So what should be done? Should we not try? Should we simply allow U.S. airliners to be blown up?
If the answer has to be yes or no, then my answer is... yes.
Let me try to explain quickly before the thought police whisk me away to a secret European prison or Guantanamo Bay.
The risk of dying in a terrorist attack continues to be miniscule. Bush and Homeland Security have blown the airliner trheat out of proportion for political gain by this U.S. administration.
According to the CDC, in a post 911 world, here are your lifetime odds for dying in certain types of situations:
1 in 55,928 of death by lightening
1 in 20,605 in your clothes igniting
1 in 10,455 of dying in your bathtub
1 in 10,010 by falling from a ladder or scaffolding
1 in 9,396 due to excessive heat
1 in 8,389 due to excessive cold
1 in 7,972 in a drowning accident
1 in 6,842 in a railway accident.
Now your odds of dying in a terrorist attack during your lifetime:
1 in 88,000 of a terrorist attack
1 in 1,500,000 of a terrorist-caused shopping mall disaster assuming one such incident a week and you shop two hours a week
1 in 55,000,000 in a terrorist-caused plane disaster assuming one such incident a month and you fly once a month ( 1 )
Wow! Dying in a terrorist cause plane disaster is a fairly rare occurrence, isn't it?
According to CDC, your lifetime odds of dying in a car accident are 1 in 81. This a MUCH greater risk than flying.
By making air travel so restrictive, so uncomfortable, so painful and unbearable, that millions of people will head for their cars instead of the skies, George Bush and Homeland Security will kill more Americans than Al Qaeda simply by scaring Americans out of airplanes.
The reason that I don't feel any safer on a plane today is that I know our security system is reactionary. Whatever butt-probe TSA is sticking up the ass of a traveler today, the terrorists have already found a way around it.
Lets not kid ourselves. Air travel is as dangerous today as it was last week before the British terror suspects were rounded up.
It's also just as safe.
George W. Bush, stop waging a campaign of lies on the American people to justify taking away their rights.