Chris Floyd has a look at the recent "underpants bomber" episode - Balance of Terror: From Detroit City to Ghazi Khan.
A lone man on an airliner makes a badly botched attempt to ignite what appears to be some kind of hastily cobbled-together device that might or might not have caused some kind of unspecified but apparently non-crippling damage to the plane. The plane lands safely; no one is killed.
Yet the reverberations from this half-baked enterprise quickly roiled the entire world. Within hours, a whole range of new, even more intrusive and draconian security procedures were imposed on travelers across the globe. Governments hastened to launch "security reviews," and promise "tough new measures" not only to thwart terrorists but to root out nests of agitators and "radicalizers" clinging to the soft underbelly of our all-too-tolerant, too-nice-for-its-own-good Western world.
Perhaps most significantly, the non-igniting of the homemade device has "rejuvenated [the] debate ... over the proper balance between security and privacy," the New York Times informs us -- while quoting several "experts" who let us know just which way this "balance" is now going to tilt. These "experts" include Bush retreads like ex-Homeland Security commissar Michael Chertoff, who now dabbles profitably in the "risk management and security consulting" industry -- yet another of our great and good for whom every act of terror (real or imagined, successful or unsuccessful) means boffo box office.
The sudden insertion of Chertoff into the story gives us another example of a grim, enduring truth: the construction of "conventional wisdom" among our media and political elites is always driven, in large part or in whole, by raw, brutal self-interest. The new CW now being assembled before our eyes is a "rejuvenation" of one of the ruling tropes of the 21st century: "Liberty bad, security good."
Lew Rockwell has a column pondering whether or not this is a scheme to make us all remove our underwear when we pass through airports - The Old 'False-Flag Trick'.
You know, Chief, this nude bomb might solve a lot of problems. For one thing, flashers.... And there'd be no more trouble with concealed weapons. I mean, if everyone were nude, there'd be no place to hide a gun or knife. Well, there is a place, but it could be painful.
Maxwell Smart, the redoubtable Agent 86, finding the upside to KAOS's terrorist threat to destroy the world's clothing with its dreaded Nude Bomb.*
In an utterly predictable response to an unsuccessful attempt by a would-be Jihadist to emasculate himself in mid-air by detonating a small explosive charge (a very small one, of course), the Regime is moving, slowly but inexorably, in the direction of requiring airline passengers to strip nude.
There is plentiful evidence to suggest that the same Regime acted as an accomplice – most likely a passive one – in that same failed bombing attempt. Call it a delayed-action nude bomb: One Nigerian nutcase conceals a firecracker in his wedding tackle, and before long everybody will have to strip nude in order to fly.
Granted, the nudity would be "virtual," temporary, and limited in its exposure. Passengers would be violated one at a time by the same thoughtful people who have made a career out of rifling through other people's dirty underwear.
Airport security screeners have "got to have some way of detecting things in parts of the body that aren't easy to get at," insists former Homeland Security Commissar Michael Chertoff. "It's either pat-downs or imaging."
A third alternative is to avoid commercial aviation outright whenever possible. I suspect an ever-larger number of Americans are going to join me in choosing what's behind door number three.
Government is the only human enterprise that profits from failure. Once that principle is understood, many otherwise inexplicable choices made by ruling elites and their servants can be made intelligible.
For instance, we can begin to understand the perverse persistence governments display in courting preventable catastrophes, and then capitalizing on such incidents to enhance their power to do exactly the same things that resulted in disaster. In this case, in addition to requiring the helotry to undergo unconscionable personal violations before flying, the Regime is exploiting the incident aboard Northwest Flight 253 to escalate the ongoing military assault on Yemen, thereby increasing the human misery that helps propel international terrorism.
And so it is that the Regime – which has squandered trillions of debased dollars in the name of "fighting terrorism" (hundreds of billions to build a domestic garrison state, and even greater sums to conduct wars of aggression overseas) – will continue to do exactly the same thing following an episode that demonstrates, beyond serious dispute, that the "war on terror" has done exactly nothing to make Americans safer.
While it's not clear that the flight was in mortal danger, it is clear that the plot failed because a detonator failed to ignite, and a group of passengers shed the shackles of government-imposed docility to subdue the terrorist suspect. The attempt to massacre the passengers of Flight 253 was stopped without the Regime's help – and in spite of what has to be considered, at very best, the Regime's criminal negligence.
Owing to what must have been an anguished report from his father, Umar Abdulmutallab was known to the CIA and the State Department as a potential terrorist. Umar Abdulutallab the elder, a banking official from Nigeria, met personally with CIA officials to express concerns that his son – who had gone to Yemen for the supposed purpose of studying Arabic – was falling into the company of suspected terrorists.
U.S. officials took this valuable intelligence and promptly buried Abdulmutallab's name in an official database. Yet it was not placed on the official "no-fly list"; apparently, that status is reserved for people who make themselves troublesome to the Executive Branch without actually posing a threat to innocent people.