Folly does have consequences, as described in “Chicago’s Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame?“, Michelle Higgins, blogging at the New York Times, 2 October 2009 — Excerpt:
Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues?
Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”
… The exchange underscores what tourism officials here have been saying for years about the sometimes rigorous entry process for foreigners, which they see as a deterrent to tourism. Once the news came out that Chicago lost its Olympic bid, the U.S. Travel Association didn’t miss an opportunity to point that out, sending out a critical press release within hours.
“It’s clear the United States still has a lot of work to do to restore its place as a premier travel destination,” Roger Dow, U.S. Travel’s president, said in the statement released today. “When IOC members are commenting to our President that foreign visitors find traveling to the United States a ‘pretty harrowing experience,’ we need to take seriously the challenge of reforming our entry process to ensure there is a welcome mat to our friends around the world, even as we ensure a secure system.”
This problem was discussed About security theater, a daily demonstration that Americans are sheep, 25 January 2009. It is re-posted below.
From About Obama’s coronation“, Fred Reed, 23 January 2009 — About security theater:
The whole business looks remarkably like malign vaudeville, like mummery intended to accomplish two things. The first is to persuade the foolish that the nation is At War. Actually only the president is at war.
The second, and I would like to be wrong about this, is to train the public to obedience. The formula is simple: Keep’em scared and you can do anything. It works. Americans are rapidly becoming accustomed to Soviet-style surveillance, to the state’s power to search and spy without restraint, to being barked at and ordered about by low-level federal employees. People deserve what they tolerate.
The terrible thing about security theater IMO is that Reed’s second conclusion is almost certainly true. Worse, we know it and do nothing. The American people are being domesticated, like sheep — and we do nothing.
What would the Founders say if they saw what we have become?
What is “security theater”?
Security theater consists of security countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually improve security. The term was coined by Bruce Schneier for his book Beyond Fear, and has gained currency in security circles, particularly for describing airport security measures. It is also used by some experts such as Edward Felten to describe the security measures imposed after the September 11 attacks. Security theater gains importance both by satisfying and exploiting the gap between perceived risk and actual risk.
— From Wikipedia
Some articles about security theater
- “Theater of the Absurd at the T.S.A.“, New York Times, 17 December 2006
- “Security Theater“, Zach Phillips, Government Executive, 1 August 2007
- “The Airport Security Follies“, Patrick Smith (commercial airline pilot), op-ed in the New York Times, 28 December 2007
- “The Things He Carried“, Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, November 2008
- “TSA Screening Is Security Theater“, 60 Minutes, CBS, 12 December 2008
For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the following:
Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.
Some of the posts on the FM website about the American spirit, the American soul:
- America’s Most Dangerous Enemy, 1 March 2006
- Americans, now a subservient people (listen to the Founders sigh in disappointment), 20 July 2008
- de Tocqueville warns us not to become weak and servile, 21 July 2008
- The American spirit speaks: “Baa, Baa, Baa”, 5 August 2008
- We’re Americans, hear us yell: “baa, baa, baa”, 6 August 2008
- This crisis will prove that Americans are not sheep (unless we are), 8 January 2008
- About security theater, a daily demonstration that Americans are sheep, 25 January 2009
- Sources of inspiration for America’s renewal, 23 April 2009
- Are we citizens? Or peasants?, 21 May 2009
- A famous guest speaker visits the FM site to tell us that we are not weak — we are strong, 8 June 2008
- A great artist died today. We can gain inspiration from his words., 26 June 2009
- A wonderful and important speech about liberty, 23 July 2009