Fly Naked: Part II- See

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.

Fly naked- So you can

Fly naked
– So you can sneak a bomb in your shoe. The only solution is to fly naked. You can’t bring anything on board; it all has to be shipped separately on cargo jet. There has to be an air marshall on every flight — no in plain clothes (because nobody’s in clothes) but sitting in front of the cockpit, heavily armed and ready. It’s getting that ridiculous. What can we do?

I’m not getting more than six feet off the ground ever again …

or I fear I’ll end up six feet under
– A man is stopped from setting off explosives in his shoes on an American Airlines flight from Paris thanks to quick action from flight attendants and passengers.

– He was traveling on a false British passport. Do I want to know his ethnicity? Yes. Do I give a rat’s rump whether you call that racial profiling? No. says he appears to be an Arab.

CNN: “Another official said the passport appeared “bogus” and that the man appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent.”

– OK, he could be a garden-variety nut as opposed to a card-carrying cell member. In either case, the guy gets on the jet with a wire sticking out of his shoe that a stewardess can see.

Ken Layne has lots of jet links.

– Matt Welch, if you’re watching from France in some cyber boitte, book the QEII to New York and then Amtrak from there to get back home. I’ll buy you lunch in New York on the way.

– Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit deputizes all passengers as a posse: “Screw airport screeners. It’s passengers who are the only source of security here.”

It gains something in the translation
– Thank goodness for Thomas Nephew. He translates part of a very good report from New York in Die Zeit. I couldn’t hope to translate it and so I’m grateful he did. The writer, Peter K¸mmel, comes out of the subway at Ground Zero and assesses the city. He writes about the daily tributes to the lives of the victims in the New York Times: “It’s a sociogram of the disappeared, a resurrection project in 30 dry lines per item, a catalog of the dead, with the subliminal message that we could be among them. And it is probably the greatest of all attempts to give this city transparency. New York is addicted to pictures, as survivors are known to be. ‘If a house burns, many people will first save their family photo album,’ Life Magazine once wrote, and that is exactly what has been happening for months: the city is producing and rescuing its family photo album…”

Love it or leave it
– I can’t believe I said that. But you will, too, when you read a poll of American Muslims in which 79 pecent “say United States foreign policy led to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

Top 10s from No. 10
– I usually don’t like year-end Top 10 lists — mainly because I had to write and edit so many of them for print. But at No. 10 Downing St., Tony Blair releases 10 great lists of 10 reasons to keep that upper lip stiff in our war against terrorism. You have to say that Blair has taken on Churchill’s talent for waging war with words. Like many a Brit, he knows how to be right and witty at the same time.

You’ve already heard from the Sun and some blogs about Blair’s 10 great media buffoons and their quagmire views that turned out to be wrong, starring Robert Fisk, John Pilger, America’s own Susan Sontag, Arundhati Roy, and the Daily Mail).

> Roy: “From all accounts, it will be impossible to produce evidence (of the sort that would stand scrutiny in a court of law) to link Bin Laden to the September 11 attacks.” Ha!

> The Mail: “It would be nothing short of a miracle if there was to be any quick and bloodless establishment of the representative and ethnically broad-based regime that the country now needs.” Ah, but that government was installed just today. Ha! Ha!

> Sontag: “And if the word “cowardly” is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s slaughter, they were not cowards.” Those words will live on in infamy. HA!

> Pilger: “The war against terrorism is a fraud.” HAHAHAHAHA! You fraud.

And the we have 10 things that have changed in Afghanistan thanks to our war:

> People can listen and dance to music.

> Men are free to choose whether to shave their beards.

> Women are free to choose how they dress.

> Women may leave their houses on their own.

> Football and games can be played.

> Children can fly their kites.

> People are allowed to watch TV.

> Women are allowed to work.

> Women are allowed to study.

> Hindus no longer need to have their houses daubed in yellow paint.

And I would add to that: People are not being starved to death, stoned, hanged, imprisoned, and shot on the whim of a one-eyed lunatic despot and his psychotic sugar daddy.

And there are 10 humanitarian efforts, 10 ways the international coalition is fighting terrorism, 10 chilling statements from bin Laden et al, 10 challenges for Afghanistan, 10 reasons to fight terrorism, and 10 reasons to be optimistic:

> Global community being constructed to fight terrorism.

> Fall of the Taliban.

> The destruction of the Al Qa’ida in Afghanistan.

> Multi ethnic interim Government in Afghanistan.

> Global resolve to support reconstruction in Afghanistan.

> Afghan people have opportunity to secure peace and redevelopment for themselves.

> New international legislation to tackle terrorism.

> World wide action taken to cut off terrorist finance.

> New recognition of global interdependence.

> As a result of the action taken by the international coalition against terrorism, you and your family live in a safer world.

Amen and Merry Christmas, world.

Meanwhile, back in ironyless America
– Bush’s Christmas message.

Charity begins…
– A Telegraph columnist complains that it’s politically incorrect to question the disparity of giving to the families of firefighters and police vs. the families of World Trade Center office workers killed on Sept. 11. Oh, there will be plenty of debate over that and over the calculations in the government’s payments that take into account the age and wage-earning potential of the victim; we’re also hearing complaint from victims of earlier attacks — namely, Oklahoma City — about not getting as much attention and money. I find the debates somewhat unseemly. Let’s remember a few things. First, no matter how much money anyone gets, it cannot compensate for the loss of a life, of course — but it also will not compensate for the financial lost; one or two million dollars does not come close to making up for the income and support that will be lost. Second, let’s keep in mind that as far as the private giving goes, it is the right of the giver to decide who should receive his or her charity; Americans want to give to the families of these heroes and victims and that is their choice, their understandable choice. I’m sorry that there are other victims who didn’t get as much; I’m sorry that there are still inequities in society (the Telegraph writer complains about rescue workers being fed while there’s a homeless lady down the block). That should not distract and detract from the efforts of Americans to pour out their hearts and pocketbooks to those who suffered the most on that terrible, evil day. This is not a matter for public legislation. This is a matter for private conscience.

War is, like, yucky, y’know
– How could I have missed the BritneyBlog!

The Crucible II
Arthur Miller to attack Bush re civil rights on Christmas Day.

Terror ship
– Brits have a “terror ship” in the Channel after foreign intelligence warned it could be carrying munitions for bin Laden.

Pro-war, anti-American?- Wacky report from

Pro-war, anti-American?
– Wacky report from the Guardian that even as the world supports our war we are losing support for our brands: “British consumers have become more distrustful of overtly American brands, according to research from a leading advertising agency. The survey found more than two-thirds of British consumers are concerned the world is becoming too Americanised, while 72% agreed with the statement: ‘Multinational corporations have grown too powerful.’ ”

It’s not fun… it’s not funny
– This war has been too entertaining. There are all the Geraldo games: Watch Geraldo dodge bullets. Watch Geraldo wear headdresses. Watch Geraldo say he’s on hallowed ground when he’s miles away. There are the smart, sexy, new Generation X war correspondents I shamelessly admired yesterday: Ashleigh Banfield and Nora O’Donnell to name a few. There are the very entertaining Donald Rumsfeld briefings, better than any talk show (who would give you better advice: Don or Oprah?). There is the sideshow of the incredibly stupid John The Rat Traitor Superdoofus Walker. There is is Osama show.

And look at what there is not: There is not the daily grind of Vietnam TV, of our own sons slogging through a swamp (of sand, in this case), not dodging bullets. There is not that daily dread that this killing could go on forever.

Let me quickly make it clear that I am not making some PC or anti-media or anti-war argument that we should do anything differently; obviously, we should not suffer more or win less or risk more reporters’ lives or even not find comic relief where we can.

It is what it is.

But I compare what children are watching today to what I watched on TV during Vietnam and how that will affect them and it’s apparent that there is a big difference. And I simply note that this difference will have an impact, one it’s too soon to define or measure. But it’s clear that we need to let our children know that war is, in the words of Billy Crystal [via Howard Stern] not fun…. not funny.

– You have to love it when Ken Layne unlocks himself from his writer’s prison and gets back to his blog. As I once indecorously [wow, just used the Blogger spellchecker for that one and it’s neat] put it, when he returns the posts come out like a satisfying sneeze. Lots of great posts today and Ken covers the blogwatches (that is, he blogs the blogs that blog the blogs) and the new Slate blog (my new ego need: I’ll know when I’ve arrived when I make it to Slate… probably didn’t help that I called Kinsley espresso breath the other day).

– Bravo to Slate for featuring two weblogs on the front page of its new weblog. I take back all my quibbles about emphasizing print.

– The other print-related weblog, the Wall Street Journal’s log by James Taranto on Opinion Journal, records an observation that has been weirding me out too: John The Rat Traitor Superdoofus Walker’s teeth. They’re so white, so even, so orthodonically correct. He’s a filthy, smelly, ratty mess but those teeth positively glisten. Let’s hear a patriotic cheer for American dentistry.

– Tony Blair’s blog of sorts, nya-nyaing at all the naysayers who turned out to be wrong about the quagmire war. Take that, Pilger you pud.

– And while we’re on this self-referential blogs-on-blogs kick, I should share one of my favorites, one of the first blogs, actually: Buzz. It’s a brilliant collection of great links every day. The log is all in Swedish (they abandoned their English version about a year ago) but that actually makes the linking all the better – it’s like a Christmas grab bag; you never know what you’re going to get before you get it. Some of the stuff is just silly, some just cool (but cool died about a year ago), some actually new (I drove my colleagues at work nuts with this, finding some great new thing and making them ask where the hell I’d found it). A few links today:

> Decorate your Snowman.

> The erotic Alphabet (sexual content).

> Guy auctions himself off to any rich, good-looking Lady.

> The Ghana national ice hockey Team.

Here come the year-end lists
– The year’s worst disasters, ranked by loss of life and loss of money.

Our new friend… Iraq?- Debka

Our new friend… Iraq?
Debka has some fascinating intelligence (or rumors or speculation) about Iraq:

1. Iraq forecasts a dangerous wave of radicalization being touched off in the Arab world by the capture of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders or the elimination of their operational capabilities. This wave could unseat Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Jordanís King Abdullah II. With this threat in store, Iraqi military intelligence advises Washington in its own interest to preserve the stability of Saddam Husseinís regime and abandon the preparations to depose him.

2. Saddam has secretly offered Yasser Arafat a safe haven in Baghdad with the entire PLO leadership and an unlimited number of security and intelligence personnel, plus the resources for continuing his political and military activities. This gesture, Iraqi military intelligence insists, is not hostile to the United States, but an escape plan to retrieve Arafat from the corner he has painted himself into.

3. Iraqi military intelligence chiefs are making every effort to dissuade Saddam from engaging the United States in a military confrontation which Iraq has no chance of winning. They warn him a U.S. attack would destroy Iraqís economic infrastructure and push the country 20 years back. They propose instead that they use their good offices in Moscow to discreetly arrange for international monitors to be allowed access to Iraqís arms industry, including missiles and other weapons of mass destruction…

– Meanwhile, our former CIA director tells the Jerusalem Post that Saddam has to be the next target.

15 bits of fame
– I can retire now. I’m in a blogwatch — the new one from Quasipundit.

100 days of flames
– The fire at the World Trade Center has been extinguished, 100 days after it was set.

Guardian unthink
– The Guardian tries to calculate meaningless math of war. They get an estimate of civilian deaths from U.S. bombing of more than 3,000 — and more than the current Sept. 11 toll — and thus imply that the scale tips our virtue into sin. Crap.

First, I don’t believe the math for one second.

Second, such exercises in arithmetic are downright offensive; one innocent death is one too many — and this started with 3,000 innocent deaths on Sept. 11. There is no scale on which ten souls weigh more than one.

Third, let’s look at what an amazing war this has been: a war fought and won in less than three months with, regrettably, a few thousand casualties but far fewer than there might have been if our bombs and bombing were not so accurate and if the war had dragged on. Compare this to the last two world wars! And this is a world war.

Fourth, shall we try to calculate the losses at the hands of the Taliban and bin Laden through stoning and starvation and execution? That is a figure we’ll never know. And now imagine how high that number would have grown if these despots had remained in power longer?

Fifth, I haven’t hard Afghans complaining about being rid of the Taliban. They are celebrating even as they mourn their terrible suffering over many years.

You have the right…
– The White House says John The Rat Traitor Superdoofus Walker does not have a right to a lawyer because he is a prisoner of war and has not yet been charged. Let’s just hope this doesn’t jeopardize the prosecution case when it comes to court.

Slate’s weblog… well, sort of….-Slate

Slate’s weblog… well, sort of….
-Slate starts a weblog — of sorts. It’s not terribly webby but it is overly techy (not surprising: it’s Microsofty). They create a framed page and suck other web sites into that frame, arguing that this is oh, so convenient because you don’t lose your links (though you do lose the ability to bookmark a page and media sites don’t much like being subsumed under another brand and address).

What’s terribly disappointing is that this isn’t so much a weblog as a printlog, pointing to print columnists, editorial pages, and news. There is just one “mezine” section pointing to a small and overall predictable list of ‘logs — from Andrew Sullivan, Lucianne Goldberg, Mickey Kaus, et al. Where’s Matt Welch (well, he’s in France, but you know what I mean)? Where’s Ken Layne? Thomas Nephew? Tim Blair? Rossi? Nick Denton (now that he’s getting back to blogging)? Reid Stott? Add your nominees here. And, hell, I’ll say it: Where am I?

Blog of blogs
Tim Blair has been doing a great job with his BlogWatch (though he still hasn’t included me, making a lame excuse that he’s using Netscape 4.7 and thus can’t read my damned template — a likely excuse). Now he has teamed up with Will Vehrs and Tony Adragna on Quasipundit to do the northern hemisphere version starting in the a.m. (I hope they use I.E.).

Life and death
– Very good story in USA Today today studying fatalities and survivors out of the World Trade Center:

The line between life and death that morning was as straight as a steel beam. Everyone on the 92nd floor [of the north tower] died. Everyone on the 91st floor lived.

When a second jet hit the south tower 16 1/2 minutes later, the pattern was virtually the same. In each tower, 99% of the occupants below the crash survived….

Four hundred seventy-nine rescue workers died making the evacuation a success. The sacrifice of New York firefighters and police is well-known. But 113 others, from low-paid security guards to white-collar workers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the buildings’ owner, stood their ground with firefighters and cops….

Clinton v. bin Laden
– The Washington Post reports today on Clinton’s covert war against bin Laden. Andrew Sullivan is sharpening his spear now. But note that Clinton and Bush operated within the same boundaries (e.g., no ground troops to hunt out bin Laden) until all that changed on Sept. 11

Sullivan is properly outraged at lobbyist’s efforts to cash in on 9/11, taking particular aim at an idiotic proposal to give tax credits if you dare to get on a plane.

But what’s really appalling is that they are considering this pork barrelling at the same time they’re ripping off New York. Bush promised $20 billion. He’s giving just $10 billion. And the latest estimate is that New York’s economy is going to lose at least $100 billion because of the attack on us.

Priorities, boys, priorities.

Osama bin fleeing
– Al Jazeera says bin Laden has arrived safely in Iran. Do you think he’s dead, in the nabe, or far away? Take my latest utterly meaningless, unscientific poll, at the right.

More West-Coast unthink about Walker
– Michael Kinsley has been hanging out on the West Coast too long. He has been breathing in too much humid air. It has made him as stupid as a San Franciscan.

On Slate, Kinsley argues that we shouldn’t be mad at John The Rat Traitor Superdoofus Walker beause he joined the Taliban seven months ago when, according to Kinsley, we all didn’t know who the Taliban was and didn’t yet hate them.

What a crock o’ crap.

We knew damned well that the Taliban was bad seven months ago. They were the guys who robbed women of all rights, remember? They stoned people for offending stupid rules. They blew up ancient statues of other religions, so deep was their intolerance. They jailed missionaries. And they gave aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden who, let’s remember, had something to do with a few bombings of our people long before Sept. 11. Maybe you didn’t know the Taliban was bad seven months ago, Mikey, but we sure did. Amercans aren’t idiots.

Kinsley then tries to write off Walker’s treachery to youthful indiscretion following the example of none other than President Bush, recovering bad boy. “The only voice of perspective,” says Kinsley, “has been that of President Bush, who once said of himself, ‘When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.’ About John Walker, Bush said that ‘this poor fellow Ö obviously Ö has been misled.’ :

This poor Kinsley has been misled, too. He concludes:

Should we even have a bit of understanding about how a troubled teen-ager might be ìyoung and irresponsibleî enough to get himself in this fix? The answer is yes, of course we should. The superior benefits of American citizenship are ìwhy they hate us,î as the president points out, and what weíre fighting to protect. Now that the Taliban is defeated, even John Walker has the right of every American to forget about Afghanistan.

Wrong, espresso breath. I don’t want to execute Walker; I’m not shooting for the firing squad; never have, never will, no matter how bad the crime; I’m no murderer.

But I do want to see this guy brought to justice for going off to fight with evil despots against his fellow Americans. I do want to see him be responsible for his actions.

And that is the problem with all the West Coast unthink we’re seeing from the Chronicle and Slate regarding Walker: the belief that one is not responsible for one’s actions. One is, Mike, one most certainly is.

Ashleigh, war babe
– I don’t mean to devalue Ashleigh Banfield’s smarts in the slightest but I have to note that there’s something appealing — yes, sexy — about her tromping around the Tora Bora caves on MSNBC. Is there anything wrong with noting this? Of course not. The last war had its Scud Stud. This war has Ashleigh and it has Nora O’Donnell in the Pentagon. It’s good that women are covering war nowadays. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re smart and gutsy and pretty, too.

Fundamentalists feud
– Right-wing fundamenalist “christians” whine and complain at Beliefnet that their boy, George Bush, is paying too much attention to Muslims in his PC attempt to show the world that he doesn’t hate Islam, just terrorists. These petulant little idiots are making fools of themselves, just as Falwell and Robertson have. Warms my heart. They will lose credibility and clout and that couldn’t make me happier. And they keep digging their hole deeper and deeper. Get their equation of Islam and homosexuality:

Some leaders are comparing Islam to the homosexuality issue. ìItís the same difference we have with the homosexual community,î he says. ìWe care about homosexuals, yet weíre opposed to their agenda because we know it destroys their lives. Likewise, we care about Muslims, but weíre opposed to even any tacit endorsement of Islam because itís against the will of God.î

War spreads
Yemen attacks an al-Qaeda base.

War spreads II
– Rumseld freaks Europeans warning that the next attack could be against London, Paris, or Berlin and it could be worse: nukes or chemicals or disease. The Times and Telegraph play this as if he’s warning of imminent attacks on these cities. I read it differently: He’s warning that if they don’t continue to help us eradicate the world of terrorists, they could be next.

– Bush quietly declared Sept. 11 Patriot Day, a holiday in remembrance of our heroes and victims in the war on terror.

– Some tasteless fool is auctioning off a letter that was on one of the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center — through a firm that specializes in letters from disasters (one from the Hindenburg, one from the Titanic).

I don’t care that they say “some” of the money’s going to charity. It’s tasteless to buy or sell it. When I was there before the towers collapsed, I saw thousands of pieces of paper that floated down to the ground from the floors that were hit: expense accounts, memos, office directories, employee manuals. I would never have thought to pick one up as a souvenir to sell. No one did. It’s sick.

First we go network, the strip in syndication, then DVD…
– More Osama tapes coming…

Next, they’ll march against Korea
– Winning the bad timing award for the week, a bunch or protestors in Illinois march against the U.S. war in Afghanistan and calls it news. Uh, hello, idiots: The war’s basically over. We won.