OK, I hope someone will tell me if I’m really way off base, but does anyone else see the kerfufle that’s been going on today at US and British airports as evidence of incompetence by the US and British governments?

So, the British catch, what, around 24 guys who are planning to blow up a bunch of planes using liquid explosives. Great. This is a sign that something is working and genuine kudos to the Brits!

But then the response:

1st – shut down a host of flights in Europe (sorry, I’d link to something, but I heard all this on NPR). Isn’t this a drastic response considering the success of catching these guys before they got onto the planes, and considering that nothing actually happened? They caught the guys! Yes, I guess there is the possibility that they missed some folks, but is it likely that they were all planning to get on planes today? This seems like needless overkill to me.

2nd – Immediately start screening passengers much more aggressively. No liquids on the plane. No cell phones. No books. Whew! OK, once again, the guys have already been caught. What are you searching for? And exactly how is a book going to be used as an explosive or as a detonator? And let me point out that they caught the guys, when they weren’t already doing this. Why is it suddenly a concern right now? Was it really worth tying up travelers on two continents?

Oh and by the way, they’ve known about this liquid explosive idea for over 10 years. This is by no means a new idea. So why did they stop screening drinks and other liquids years ago, once the initial scare from 9/11 was over? Is this was such a major concern certainly we should have been screening for these items already.

3rd – Raise the alert! Code red here in the States, ‘critical’ alert in Britain. Once again, the criminals have already been caught, and they were caught when the alert was somewhere down in the peach area. Why was the elevation necessary?

OK, Carpus, what’s your point? My point is that this whole episode is a sign of incompetence. One, we should have been screening for all these items all along, but we haven’t because there hasn’t been another big airline attack and we got lazy. Two, this shows incredibly poor planning on the part of the US and British governments. If we can shut down our airports after a success, what’s going to happen when another attack actually succeeds? Isn’t the idea to show the terrorists that they can’t affect our daily lives?

Three, what’s the point of these ridiculous terrorist alert levels? Shouldn’t they be elevated before we catch the bad guys? Isn’t the point to warn us of danger? What’s the point of raising the alarm after the danger has passed?

It’s all incompetence. Our governments have actually done a lousy job in exactly the area that they tell us is their main priority and that they are concentrating on the hardest. They are guilty of poor planning, poor execution, and scare mongering.

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