Monday, December 28, 2009

Jihadi Motors

The recent Detroit terror dust up should remind us that there is, realistically, not much that can be done to completely eliminate the terror threat to commercial airliners considering that religious whack-jobs not only do not mind dying in the attempt but eagerly anticipate it. I'm fairly certain that short of an El Al style level of security that some incendiary Islamist will succeed in glorious self-immolation in one or more instances. Fine you say, let's have that level of security.

Not so fast bunky. El Al can afford to be the safest airline in the world because it is an arm of the Israeli government and that entity is not even slightly solicitous of the current western pieties of multi-cultural color, race, gender, and ideological tolerance. If an El Al official so much as doesn't like your looks then you don't get anywhere near an aircraft and you'll likely find yourself hustled off and detained, possibly indefinitely. If some Israeli ambulance chaser objects to such treatment on behalf of someone then he may very well be hustled off as well.

This is a pure police state approach which is entirely understandable in Israel and most everyone there accepts this as a price to be paid for their security, indeed their very continued existence. Whoo boy I'd like to see an airline try that here. They'd be immediately assaulted by flying brigades of panting legal beagles and reinforced divisions of federal bureaucrats who would hound company officials into court, jail, and commercial oblivion in that order. Many many are those who think that if we have to have to resort to such draconian civil liberties shredding then we are no better than our enemies, an attitude fraught with problematics to be sure. Even those that don't object, or at least think they wouldn't, are not likely to welcome the massive delays and cost increases that massively intrusive passenger screening would entail.

If there are a couple of jihadi "successes" then the public may well clamor for radically increased security but will at the same time inevitably balk at the huge inconveniences necessitated. And the response of a significant number of the flying public may torpedo an already struggling commercial airline industry. They will take to their cars. Possibly in the millions.

This will of course cause a huge dislocation in the country's economy if a trillion dollar industry goes moribund and the automotive and road service industries expand to meet the need. The jihadists may well count this as a job well done so in this case terrorists would "win". Howsomever in the fullness of time such a dislocation will severely irritate the American public to the point that they electorally reverse the ongoing wussification of U.S foreign policy and create a citizenry freshly riled up over this dubious win.

Terrorism works but it rarely works in the way it was intended which is to cow a populace into fear and indecision. A jihadist success every few years will simply insure that the country will keep the long knives sharpened and tend to elect leaders who treat terrorist nutbars as dishuman insects to squash instead of members of an oppressed underclass deserving propitiation.

The American airline industry may circle the drain but such a circumstance would inject life into the stumbling automotive industry which is far larger in terms of infrastructure and employment. Americans are a traveling folk, just about no matter what, so heading out onto the highway will be their main choice when needing to visit aunt Gertrude or cousin Bernie a couple of hundred or several thousand miles away. And no they will not want to crowd onto trains or megabuses because those will in short order become terrorist targets themselves. There will appear to be in this case relatively safety in small numbers.

Of course opportunities for terrorism on the highways abound as well, primarily in the form of bridges and tunnels, but a couple of attacks on those soft targets will rile the populace further and smartly ratchet up the savagery of reprisals. The mideast may be a lake of molten glass before Joe Six-Pack, or even Jason Pouilly-Fuissé, will ever be entirely denied the company of Gertrude and Bernie.

Greatly increased road travel and increased expenditures on infrastructure will undoubtedly enrage environmentalists. Understandable since they are presumably smart enough to know that more evil CO2 "pollution" will be released by the usage of millions of cars instead of thousands of airliners. But in two years or six enviro-progressives will have had their turn at bat and the pendulum will swing back in favor of the Big Stick and possibly the Road Trip. I suspect it will do that even in the absence of jihadist mischief but if such occurs the swing will be truly spectacular.

Progressives will have only themselves to blame considering their gormless approach to terrorism as merely a law enforcement conundrum instead of the epochal struggle of irreconcilable ideologies that it actually is. If the jihadists play the progressive political class for suckers then the Pendulum Prez is liable to make George Bush look like Ghandi and "Shock and Awe" seem like tea with the freakin' Queen.

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