Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bush set to open military airspace to ease holiday travel. Is that really such a good idea?

O.K., color me cynical. But how can President Bush in good conscience keep telling us that “we are at war” (“Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war,”) and then turn around and announce that one of the ways to ease your Thanksgiving travel nightmare is by opening up the military airspace for use by commercial airlines?

(You may fill in your own thoughts here as to whether or not president Bush actually has a conscience ....)

Well, look for an announcement this afternoon from our dear leader, telling us of his plans. According to ABC News:
the plan involves opening up some military airspace to commercial flights — essentially creating additional highways in the sky.
Now, I empathize with everyone who has to travel by plane this time of year. I'm fortunate enough to have most of my family within driving distance, but I do travel by air enough during the summer tourist season that I have an appreciation for what it must be like this time of year. Really, I do.

But, again, I thought he said we're at war. And when you're at war, you sacrifice things (you know, like certain civil liberties, etc.). And so the act of opening up military airspace to commercial airlines smacks a little like playing to the people, to me. The Republican party is going down the tubes in all aspects of current life. What they need is a good old fashioned feel-good move by the Republican president. (Do I see Karl Rove hovering in the background of this move?)

Oh, but wait. According to the AP:

Congestion is not the only problem for air travelers.

A report made public Wednesday said government investigators smuggled liquid explosives and detonators past airport security, exposing a dangerous hole in the nation's ability to keep these forbidden items off of airplanes.

The investigators learned about the components to make an improvised explosive device and an improvised incendiary device on the Internet and purchased the parts at local stores, said the report by the Government Accountability Office. Investigators were able to purchase the components for the two devices for under $150, and they studied the published guidelines for screening to determine how to conceal the prohibited items as they went through checkpoint security.

At the end of the testing, investigators concluded that terrorists could use publicly available information and a few cheaply available supplies to damage an airplane and threaten passenger safety.

Loud sigh.

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