No Christians On Airplanes

Not really --not yet-- but that's Michael Chertoff's solution to our airplane security problems: those nude scanner thingies, now with nothing left to the imagination thanks to technological improvements. ninme and vanderleun are discussing that.

It's just another instance of what Hitch rightly notes is our bizarre need to collectively punish the innocent rather than singling out the guilty.
It's getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won't be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a "central repository of information" don't prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition that stretches back to several of the murderers who boarded civilian aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, having called attention to themselves by either a) being on watch lists already or b) weird behavior at heartland American flight schools. They didn't even bother to change their names.
So we do nothing at all about the few bad guys, but we punish the multitudinous innocent with impunity:
flick your eye across the page, or down it, and you will instantly see a different imperative for the innocent. "New Restrictions Quickly Added for Travelers," reads the inevitable headline just below the report on the notoriety of Abdulmutallab, whose own father had been sufficiently alarmed to report his son to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, some time ago.
Just a little more, since he expresses my own sense of outrage so well:
In my boyhood, there were signs on English buses that declared, in bold letters, "No Spitting." At a tender age, I was able to work out that most people don't need to be told this, while those who do feel a desire to expectorate on public transport will require more discouragement than a mere sign. But I'd be wasting my time pointing this out to our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It's also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.
Hitch points out rather amusingly how utterly stupid our precautions are, besides being intrusive. ("Did you pack your own bags and have them under your own control at all times?" Wouldn't a terrorist have to answer yes to those questions?)

But let's forget the government's determination to crush the airline industry (some wag at the Corner, I think, said that this is the inevitable result of the government owning the auto industry). How about just the complete stupidity of treating this Nigerian fellow as a criminal rather than a terrorist? My spy in New York writes me this morning:
Forget the thousand ineptitutes that let him board the plane.But first thing out, he gets a lawyer who won't "allow" him to answer questions or give DNA. Arrrrggggh. He should have been questioned by the CIA while he was still smoldering, no need for "torture" above what he did to himself ("You want morphine? Who are your contacts?)but this lame excuse for a government gets him a lawyer who's also demanding he get skin grafts. These idiots are literally going to be the death of us.
But our nekkid body scans will last forever.