When "the terrorists win", it won't be because they turned this nation into a smoking crater, or killed every American in the world. They will win because we died of complete and utter absurdity.
I wrote over the weekend about my experience in "alternative screening" at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood airport. Getting on a plane has become an ordeal. I often carry two laptops when I fly -- my work laptop and a netbook for blogging and personal use. So for me to go through security requires at least three bins. Each laptop has to go separately, with nothing else in it. Then off comes the shoes. Then you get felt up or go through body scanners. And no matter how we react to whatever the last thing that Al-Qaeda has come up with, they always come up with something else.
Because explosive material was found in toner cartridges, toner and ink cartridges are now banned from overseas flights. As David Dayen says:
I can’t wait for the day terrorists try to put a bomb in a baby. Because then we won’t be allowed to bring a baby on the plane.
I've been saying for years that we go through all this reactive security theatre while people check their bags at the gate, where the bags go directly onto a plane, because the flight is so full that not everyone's wheelie suitcase is going to fit into the overhead compartment. Cargo coming into our ports is largely unscreened. And yet like sheep we allow unskilled TSA staff to zap us with x-rays "for our safety.
When you think about how we survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, which very well COULD have resulted in this country being turned into a crater, it's mind-boggling that we have been brought to our knees by boxcutters, shoes, underwear, and toner cartridges.