Blaming the Right Targets
Although National Review has made the onerous decision to stop providing free access to an online edition of the print magazine to subscribers who receive the print magazine, an essay in the December 20 issue by former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security Stewart Baker expresses a perspective worth considering. Describing his experience with airport security as professional and efficient, Baker writes:
It’s not that the measures are popular. Nobody likes going through the new scanners or the new pat-downs. But attacking them without offering a plausible alternative is foolish, especially after Dec. 25, 2009, when al-Qaeda nearly succeeded in bringing down a plane with an underwear bomb.
The U.S. has long had an air-security system that puts far more effort into looking for weapons than into looking for terrorists. It is also committed to giving all passengers more or less the same screening. With such a system, there’s only one way to find weapons hidden in underwear, and that is to check all the passengers’ underwear. The privacy campaigners tried to blame the TSA for these facts of life. The rest of us may have disliked the procedures, but instead of the TSA, we blamed, well, the terrorists.
Of course, Baker’s very first suggestion for improving the system — looking for terrorists rather than weapons — shows his allocation of blame to be more rhetorical and political. Yes, as long as there are people who make airport security a necessity, the policies intended to provide that security should ultimately be blamed on them; that much goes without saying. But it isn’t unreasonable to blame the people who insist on politically correct walls around the policies that we’re permitted to implement.
I’ve written in many contexts that, were there specific, credible threats being made by a subculture of blond, blue-eyed white guys, I’d submit to the necessary screenings and blame my co-complexionists. Under such circumstances, it would be entirely appropriate for black women to blame a bureaucracy that treated them in like fashion to me.