September 11th, 2012

Fully accounting for the costs of September 11

I wrote about my personal experience on 9/11 last year, so I won't rehash it here. I do, however, want to give a link to what is still my favorite Onion article ever, when they came back two weeks after the attacks - "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule."

I think the anniversary is a perfect opportunity to mention the outrages visited upon us by the Transportation Security Administration. Yesterday, the TSA News blog posted an item that doesn't surprise me in the least: "Even Congress can’t stop the TSA from assaulting passengers." After a litany of snippets from letters from various Representatives, Senators, and Congressional committees, Sommer Gentry concludes:
What’s most striking about these letters is how utterly impotent even Congress has been to stop the molesting – these letters were written 18 months ago, yet the TSA is still grabbing and groping and grinding the genitals of thousands of travelers every day.

A staffer told me recently that every single member of Congress continues to hear complaints about the TSA. I’ll admit it: seeing that even members of Congress, under a deluge of phone calls and letters from their constitutuents, can’t stop TSA Administrator John Pistole from ordering his underlings to sexually abuse innocent people makes me feel hopeless.

How exactly did one man declare himself above the Administrative Procedures Act, above the Americans with Disabilities Act, beyond the reach of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, invulnerable to Congressional oversight, and immune to prosecution for all the children molested at his orders? Can nothing stop this monster?
John Pistole should be dismissed from his position and forfeit his pension. I'd prefer to see him charged with something (perhaps we start with "contempt of the D. C. Circuit" and work up from there), I'd settle for him slinking off somewhere, never to be heard from again.

The TSA is likely the most obvious and visible example of how the United States has changed as a country over the last eleven years. Several more appear in Gene Healy's column in today's Washington Examiner. And criticize this new normal of security measures, or suggest that more could have been done to prevent the terrorist attacks? It's not only crazy talk, but unpatriotic. The longer the War on Terror drags on, the more it feels like it acquires the characteristics of the war with Eurasia (or is it Eastasia today?) described in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Thus to properly remember the September 11 attacks, it's imperative to mourn not only the lives taken from us, but the freedom we willingly surrendered in response.