Fly Naked: Part II
– See my rant below on the only sure key to airline safety: We all have to fly naked.
– Ken Layne finds more benefits to my suggestion. First, Muslim fundamentalists won’t be flying around lots of nekked women! Second, the world will go on a diet. People will be thinner. I’ll have more elbow room and fat people won’t be shoving their seat back into my knees. Third, better hygiene: We can hose down smelly people.
– Now you might say to me, Jeff, don’t be ridiculous. At least we can fly in our underwear. But no. If enough C4 to take down a jet could be shoved into a shoe, imagine what could fit into a padded bra. I can see the headline now: Man Arrested at Logan With Explosive Codpiece. Ouch.
– The point, obviously, is that there is no sure cure here. If had not been for one very smart and heroic flight attendant who happened to catch the whiff of one very stupid terrorist’s match, we’d be watching wall-to-wall coverage of another jet crash this morning (still unsure at this hour what brought it down). This was way too close a call. Way too close.
– Note this morning that the would-be bomb sure didn’t look like a regular Brit. To a Frenchman, he might have, but not to any of us. He looked like trouble but he was let on the jet anyway.
– The report from Europe is that his name is Abdul and he comes from Sri Lanka.
Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
– The report is this morning that Rudy Guliani is Time’s Person (nee Man) of the Year. The right choice. And we predicted it in our meaningless WarLog poll.
Only a mother could…
Bin Laden’s mother says he was really a nice boy.
Merry Christmas, hawks
– An early gift from the Guardian: a big juicy dish of roasted Christmas crow served up to the anti-war crew. Henry Porter writes an exemplary opinion piece saying that the war was right and rightly executed.
Well, it hasn’t ended like Vietnam; in fact the result has been a complete vindication of the plans devised by the Pentagon, of the Bush administration’s resolve and of Tony Blair’s support. [Times columnist Matthew] Parris has yet to concede that he and other prominent doves were wrong but while we wait, it’s worth recalling another sentence in his column which captures much of the venom that existed between the two camps during the jittery weeks of autumn: ‘But they (the hawks) will know who they are, and we can guess who they are: the people who went the extra mile, and urged the troops the extra mile, towards the battle-front, and who did so not because they had to but as a matter of personal judgment and moral choice.’
That is exactly right. Every journalist, academic and expert called upon in September to write about or debate what should happen had to make a difficult personal judgment. But it was not just the hawks who made a choice. The doves did too, and although at the time it seemed a safe bet that to opt for peaceful means in Afghanistan was to claim a kind of de facto high ground, it turned out to be the less courageous choice and now demonstrably the wrong one….
He goes on to show great understanding for what we went through on that day and the decisions that came out of that in the White House and at No. 10 and at every address in America:
One hundred and three days on, it’s difficult to recall precisely how shocking the attacks were. The balance went out of life; people were stopped in their tracks; they talked of nothing else but the attacks and response; old friends fell out during bitter arguments….
Let’s not forget how altered the world’s condition was by nightfall on 11 September. The diplomatic grid had completed changed. The stock markets were closed and the confidence of the capitalist West badly shaken. More important, perhaps, was the prevailing mood of insecurity, the sense that absolutely anything might happen in the coming weeks. It was in these circumstances that Blair pledged his support to the US….
But he has just begun to sharpen his knives. Now he goes for the jugular, deftly cutting the doves down, deftly showing that their stance was not the moral one when it comes to fighting evil, when it comes to knowing who your friends and allies are, when it comes to defending civilization:
It may have been that the doves had the world’s best interests at heart, but there was an anti-American agenda in the peace party which was abhorrent if only because these people would never talk about any other nation in the way they did about the US. The US is, after all, a democracy and its citizens were, after all, the victims of a bewilderingly violent attack.
I suppose I might have been tempted by the doves had I not gone to the World Trade Centre and seen the destruction. When I came away, I knew that this was a crime that had to be punished and that America had every right to defend itself against similar attacks in the future….
To my mind the most serious mistake of the peace party was its failure to stand up for the democratic achievements of the last 100 years and for the reign of liberal values in which we thrive and indeed possess the freedom to debate the enormous issues that now face the world. That is still something worth fighting for and I am unembarrassed by saying it….
The hawks may forgive but they won’t forget that this was, as Parris said, a matter of personal judgment and moral choice.
Bravo! And give credit even to the Guardian for printing an attack on its own.