I have a theory about traditional terrorism (as opposed to Frank Rich’s excellent case for economic terrorism – see Prairie’s post below).
My working definition of terrorism is a situation where a small group of individuals causes a large group of individuals (say, an entire nation) to completely lose its marbles. Occasionally, there is just cause. But generally, the net result is that our over-the-top response simply provides comic relief for those living in caves. We are exceeding their expectations. We are, effectively, terrorized by them, and they needn’t do much of anything to keep us scared. Remember, they have the radical right’s support in the "oooh, oooh, oooh" bidness.
The goal of terrorists is, of course, to do something horribly destructive that will make big news. Big news, followed by massive, knee-jerk dithering and frenetic overkill. In his own way, the Christmas Day castrato succeeded in his otherwise spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to bring down Flight 253. Succeeded how? Look at us.
Once again, we are into sky-is-falling mode, this time seeking ways to ramp up underwear checks at airports and expose people’s privates to scrutiny.
Hairspray and toothpaste inspection. Shoes. Underwear. What next, I wonder.
Wait, wait! I have an idea! Read on!
Passengers shall be required to fast for two days prior to their flight’s departure. They will then lie head-first, bare bum skyward on the conveyor belt at the airport security checkpoint. Each in turn will have a colonoscope inserted into the appropriate orifice. Instead of a Homeland Security scanner, the procedure will be monitored by a gastro-intestinal specialist.
Now bear with me, because this is an incredible twofer.
First, we establish that there are no untoward objects secreted in anyone’s innards. Those whose little secrets are exposed will be cuffed and frog-marched to detention.
But here’s the payoff. Everyone else will receive a printout of their procedure as they scramble off the belt, grabbing their little plastic bottles, shoes and grundies. Assembly-line colonoscopies, people! Quick as a wink, cost-effective, and an upside (so to speak) to the indignity of invasive scanning. Everyone wins! HMOs, Medicare, the public, everyone!
So, you see? This really is an idea whose time has come. I wanted you to be among the first to know of it. No need to thank me. Really.