A right to fly
: Considering that airplanes are a weapon of choice of terrorists and nutjobs, maybe we should consider restricting access to the air — and to flight schools — to people who have passed security clearances: No unknown foreigners, no kids, nobody with psychiatric or drug problems. These people can KILL us from the skies. Add that to my list for Tom Ridge.
Do-Nothing Tom Ridge
: That’s the name Ken Layne gives to our head of Homeland Security this morning. Then the all-powerful Glenn Reynolds piles on: “You tell ’em, Ken.” And I’ve been beating this drum with a sledgehammer for a few weeks now (see first, second, third, fourth posts below with a few concrete suggestions about what Ridge ought to be doing).
Meanwhile, Ridge’s own Website does nothing to dispell this impression of inactivity.
And meanwhile, today, we find out that a mere 15-year-old — who may have a Middle Eastern name — got a plane and almost crashed into a passenger jet on behalf of Osama while Ridge denies that he has to pay attention to it. Yes, we feel safe.
Listen: We all know that Ridge’s job is tough. But we have to see him doing something to make us more secure and then make us feel more secure. That’s the job he took on.
So let’s keep the pressure on. Let’s see whether we can create a buzz in blogs that spreads and does some good. Who else is frustrated with Do-Nothing Ridge? Pile on, please. Then when folks like the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal notice the buzz, others in the media will pay attention (that’s how it works: buzz begets buzz) and then Washington will pay attention (buzz is power).
We have in our hands the Great Buzzmachine. Let’s put it into gear for our own good.
: Piling on: Will Vehrs says the teen terror pilot isn’t the point and he’s right there. The bigger point is a broader security plan. More from Vehrs here. He’s not fully on-board with, as he wonderfully puts it, my Million Blog March — urging some caution in expecting Ridge to waste his time bragging instead of doing — but he still does want Ridge to start doing.
Kathy Kinsley calls the teen a terrorist.
Add Paradox1x to the pile.
Now Charles Johnson jumps on.
As founder of the Former Pacifists Club…
: Six weeks after Sept. 11 — six weeks into our new lives — I realized — and confessed — that I was now a former pacifist. Facing an evil warmonger instead of an evil war meant that I now saw the necessity of arms.
Then Salon’s David Talbot did likewise (only I did in a paragraph what he did in a megabyte of type).
Now Bj¯rn StÊrk tears apart a document he wrote four years ago to argue that he was a conscientious objector and should stay out of the Norwegian armed forces.
Forget about my wanting to take credit for Naked Airlines. Instead, as my mark in blog history, I want the title of founder of the Former Pacifists Club. The ranks are growing daily. Considering the cause, that is too bad. But it is what it is.
And over at the Never Pacifists Club…
: From the Jerusalem Post: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ‘promoted’ Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat from the status of ‘irrelevant’ to Israel’s most ‘bitter enemy’ yesterday. He and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer also had some tough remarks about Iran, which they called the ‘center of world terror.’ ”
: Thomas Friedman’s latest argues that winning this first battle of the war on terrorism means killing bin Laden et al — now our job — and killing his ideas — a job that falls to Middle East nations. Says Friedman:
It was Israel that executed Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. But it was modern Germany that executed Nazism, by writing one of the world’s most democratic constitutions and living up to it. In so doing, Germans transformed Germany from a destructive to a constructive force for themselves, Europe and the world.
The problem is: “To counter his authentic message of hate, you need an authentic messenger of progress, tolerance and modernism.” And there are no such voices, he says, in these authoritarian countries influenced by fundamentalist (read: not progressive) religion.