Thursday, September 14, 2006

Garrison Keillor on "Homeland" Security

Garrison Keillor has a great essay up on the ridiculousness of some of our current security procedures (HT: Sullivan). He also makes fun of the word "Homeland":
It all began with the name Homeland Security. Somebody with a tin ear came up with that, maybe the pest exterminator from Texas, or Adm. Poinduster, because, friends, Americans don't refer to this as our homeland. It's an alien term, like Fatherland or Deutschland or Tomorrowland. Irving Berlin didn't write "God Bless Our Homeland." You never heard John Wayne say, "Men, we're going over that hill and we're going to kick those krauts out of there. And we're going to raise the flag of the homeland."

"Homeland" was a word you heard shrieked by a cruel man flicking his riding crop against his shiny black boots: "Zie homeland--ve shall defend it at all costs, achwohl!" Americans live in Our Country, America, the nation of nations, the good old U.S.A.
He also raises a frightening possibility:
God forbid somebody shows up at an airport somewhere in the world with an explosive tucked in his lower colon. The Achtung people will come up with some new security procedures that will effectively kill airline travel...
We've got to get it into our heads that there is an acceptable level of risk when it comes to airline terrorism. If terrorists blow up a plane every so often, it is a tragedy, but it's not worth strangling our economy or throwing away all scraps of dignity or comfort in order to avoid. I'd like to see some of the billions of dollars that these airline procedures must be costing us (in lost productivity alone, if nothing else) used instead to infiltrate terrorist groups or to set up false recruitment operations. I'd also like to see a good cost-benefit analysis for some of these anti-terror policies (and throw in one for the Iraq occupation as well.)


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