Sunday, July 18, 2004

"Terror" in the Skies - A Question

Given that

  1. The USAF now has clear instructions to shoot down any aircraft that might be under the command of terrorists planning a spectacular, and
  2. The much greater number of people to be found freely roaming the terminals of any major airport, or sitting in a public facility like a sports stadium,
  3. The much greater vigilance displayed by most passengers since September 11, and
  4. The intensified scrutiny that airline security has continued to recieve since that incident,
what sense would it make for rational terrorists to try instead for yet another aeroplane spectacular? If the goal is to maximize casualties, taking down another aeroplane certainly wouldn't be the way to do it, as there are any number of much softer targets that would provide a far higher bodycount. Targeting aeroplanes wouldn't even make sense if the goal were to maximize terror, rather than simply to get the highest possible bodycount: flying can nearly always be avoided with sufficient effort, so it would make sense to hit people while they were engaging in some other activity they'd assumed to remain safe from terrorism, and in which a broader spectrum of of the populace would be expected to participate.

Unless someone can provide a cogent explanation as to why the objections I've raised don't constitute good reasons to expect any hypothetical new terrorist strike to occur in a manner that utilizes the element of surprise, I'll continue to maintain that the only reason people are giving this ridiculous story about possible Syrian "terrorists" the milage it's obtaining is because it caters to their pre-existing prejudice that they ought to be spared the indignity of increased scrutiny, while other, swarthier persons should be made to bear the whole burden, as if such profiling would ever catch another Timothy McVeigh, Richard Reid, Jose Padilla or the white Australian convert Jack Roche.