November 27, 2010
Americans Learning to Submit
In the George Orwell classic Animal Farm, there lived a horse named Boxer. He was strong, willing, and dependable. In fact, Boxer was so dedicated to his assignments and his leader that he often said, "Napoleon is always right," followed by his personal pledge to "work harder" toward accomplishing the state's goals.
Boxer was a good, faithful horse. But his fault was his blind devotion to his leader and his willingness to sacrifice himself for Napoleon's grand schemes. Boxer never benefited from his loyalty or from Napoleon's phony promise of an easy future. When he was no longer useful, he was shipped to the glue factory, ironically under the guise of receiving state provided medical treatment. Let that sink in, ObamaCare advocates.
On Animal Farm, appeals to necessity, subtle changes to established rules, and revisionist history were the tools used to control Boxer and his comrades. Boxer willingly accepted his marching orders until his fate was sealed. The tactics that led to his demise and the enslavement of his friends are now deployed at airport security checkpoints across America. I can't help but wonder if we've become a nation of "Boxers."
Even before John Tyner's overblown confrontation with body image scanners and full-body groping sessions, there was Joe Sharkey, who wrote of his own experience with the TSA. Sharkey also refused to be scanned, which prompted security screeners to relay a vocal alarm that might have been necessary had Osama bin Laden himself tried to board a plane. But there was no reason to suspect Sharkey. There was nothing conspicuous or suspicious about him. His sin was balking at being treated like the terrorist he isn't.
Sharkey's article mentioned another flier, Bruce Delahorne, who faced a similar situation. When Bruce questioned the need for the unfamiliar tactics to which he was exposed, he was informed that nothing had changed in airport security screenings. "We have always done this," the TSA agent explained. After passing through the checkpoint, Delahorne asked the same question of another agent. He received a similar answer: "The process has always been the same."
Well, airport screenings haven't always been this way. Sure, we live in a post-9/11 environment, and caution is prudent. But body-imaging every air traveler isn't the same as intercepting specific phone conversations between Abdullah the Butcher and a cave in Waziristan. We're dealing with de facto strip-searches of everyday Americans, frisking of nuns, and confiscation of shampoo and nail clippers. All of this nonsense is done so as not to offend Islam, whose virulent adherents fostered this "necessity."
The rules are changed and history is rewritten so that everything appears constant. Napoleon is always right. And we, like Boxer, adapt and comply.
The TSA has released images from both the millimeter wave and backscatter imagers currently in use. The fact is that the TSA images aren't exactly fodder for next month's Playboy centerfold. Other images are circulating that depict an inverted scan that reveals both nudity and identity. But such photos are easily faked, and there appears to be no proof that they are authentic. That's little comfort to air travelers who are exposed to humiliating body scans and invasive pat-down searches. Even the stance assumed for the scans -- feet apart and hands held above the head -- portrays a submissiveness that belies a free people. Fellow Americans, our government has declared us guilty until we prove our innocence.
There remains the argument that body scanners prevent terrorists from smuggling bombs aboard aircraft. That's true to a degree, but realistically, the scanners do nothing to combat terrorism as a tactic. A terrorist attack isn't like an advancing army; it doesn't acquire territory, and it needs not commandeer or destroy an airplane to accomplish its goal. Terrorism needs only to sow doubt and fear to be effective.
When innocent Americans are electronically strip-searched in airport concourses, the terrorists have achieved a victory. In fact, terrorists are equally served without boarding an aircraft at all. Suicide bombers need only detonate their payload at a crowded TSA checkpoint. Scores of unsuspecting travelers would be killed or injured. Such an attack would do as much to shatter our illusion of security as blowing up an airliner.
We're being sold a false sense of safety from a federal government that can't muster the courage to identify our genuine enemies, much less target them. But Napoleon is always right. Thus, we'll be scanned and probed so as not to offend the very people who hate us, our liberties, and our culture simply because we've refused, thus far, to adopt their customs.
The day will come when we won't be able to enter a sports arena, a shopping mall, or a public parking deck without passing a body imaging checkpoint. Maybe then we'll realize we've become like Boxer, dutiful and obedient until securely locked in the knacker's wagon.
Anthony W. Hager has authored more than 250 articles for various newspapers, periodicals, and websites. Contact him via his website, www.therightslant.com.