Good Thing I'm Bald
So, I get to the airport at five this morning and after the TSA folks verify that yes, I am a pilot and yes, I am going to take the controls and fly large numbers of people from wherever to wherever today, I have to ditch all of my toothpaste, mouthwash and shampoo. Luckily, they don't insist on making me get rid of the several thousand gallons of jet fuel that I tend to carry with me on these flights.
This annoys me.
So I do what I almost never do and call this special phone number I have and ask to speak to Donald Rumsfeld. Don always knows the real deal with these things:
Me: "Mr. Secretary, why did I just have to dump out my whole toilet kit? I'm in the Midwest working a domestic flight and there are people outside who have been standing in line at Security for two hours. Is this going to make air travel safer?"
DR: "Well, golly gosh, of course it is! You just never know what might be in a shampoo bottle or a makeup case. It could be anthrax or plutonium! Saddam's WMD's have to be somewhere
, you know."
Me: " I think the threat that the TSA is worried about is explosive devices, Mr. Secretary. But liquid explosives have been a threat to airliners for years. In fact, the US broke up a major plot to blow up 11 US airliners
using this method in 1995. The plotters were al Qaeda and had even set off a test bomb on one flight that killed a passenger
. We didn't make passengers in Albuquerque, Atlanta and Albany dump out all of their liquids then, so why are we doing it now?"
DR: " Gee willikers Mr. 9Driver, you sure like to ask questions! Does the TSA know you like to ask so many questions? That plot then was different! The plotters had different names and everything. And they were using contact lens cases and Casio watches! It's not the same thiong at all! Besides, Clinton was president back then and he didn't care about your safety the way we do."
Me: "Mr. Secretary, we've established that these two plots are pretty similar. This latest plot apparently was foiled in Britain and Pakistan. Why are we subjecting Americans who aren't going to or coming from those places to this kind of frenzied, fear inducing treatment? Do we have intelligence that indicates that this kind of attack is being prepared here?"
DR: "Sure, those other plotters were al Qaeda and sure, they were targeting 11 US airliners, but they were way out in the Phillipines. That's a little island way, way far away on the other side of a big ocean. It wasn't close to home. Why, London is practically across the street from Baltimore! Our intelligence is as good as it always is. It tells us the things that we know, and the things that we don't know, and even the things that we know we don't know. But jeepers, you just can't expect it to tell us the things that we don't know we don't know. You know?"
Me: "I'm getting the feeling that this is the beginning of the fear and distraction campaign that the Republicans are going to use for the fall elections, Mr. Secretary. There doesn't seem to be any other reason for this massive overreaction."
DR: "Oh, bosh and piffle! You can never be too careful when it comes to terrorism, especially in an election year! Why, just the other day I was having lunch with Senator Joe. He wasn't careful, and look what happened to him! We'll be working extra, extra hard to keep every single American voter completely safe until after November. And we'll remind them constantly about how safe we're keeping them--you can count on it!"
Me: "Thanks, Mr. Secretary. I've got to go fly now, 'bye."
I'll be glad when November is over.