Jewish World Review June 29, 2011 / 27 Sivan, 5771
Rage Against the TSA Machine
By Jonah Goldberg
The backdrop for my favorite science-fiction novels,
I bring this up because I'm wondering why we can't have a Reppertian Jihad.
Its namesake would be
That's apparently why
Mandy's father says he wrote to the TSA and got an apology and a promise that agents would be retrained, but horror stories like these keep mounting. I'd tell you how thorough the TSA search was of blogger and advice columnist
And that's what brought to mind "Dune's" Butlerian Jihad. The holy war against machines was also a war against a mind-set. "The target of the jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," a character explains. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments." In the aftermath, a new commandment was promulgated: "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."
It seems the first commandment of the TSA is that every mind must be trained in the likeness of a machine. "Garbage in, garbage out," is how computer programmers explain the way bad outputs are determined by bad inputs. Likewise, if TSA workers are programmed not to use common sense or discretion -- surprise! -- TSA workers won't use common sense or discretion.
Why not? One reason is we've institutionalized an irrational phobia against anything smacking of racial or religious profiling. Once you've decided that disproportionate scrutiny of certain groups is verboten, you'll have to hassle everyone equally. Thus we're told that a 95-year-old woman's diaper is just as likely to be the front line in the war on terror as a 22-year-old Pakistani's backpack.
Defenders of the TSA insist we can't abandon such mindlessness because if we do, clever terrorists will start using adult diapers as IEDs. Others say we know that profiling isn't effective because the Israelis don't use it.
Both lines of argument assume security personnel cannot be trusted to be much more than automatons, mindlessly acting on bureaucratic programming. If that's true of the current personnel, it's not because it has to be.
In fact, the reason the Israelis don't do simple profiling is that they use intelligent profiling conducted by highly intelligent screeners. At
Does anyone think that the personnel searching
include "/home/jwreview/public_html/t-ssi/jwr_squaread_300x250.php"; ?>
© 2006 TMS