Prague Twin

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Terror Plot

Now that it has been a few days since the foiled terror plot in the UK, it is time to mention something that has been bothering me a bit.

What bothers me is the knee-jerk reaction especially in the U.S. It reminds me immediately of the days directly after 9/11 which I have written about before in a piece on the "We Are Not Afraid" campaign, which is still the most sensable and effective civilian response to terrorism that I have seen.

My best friend, J. was supposed to fly to Prague to visit me on September 11th, 2001. He woke up to hear that all flights in North America had been cancelled. J., being the fearless, brash man that he is, faught his way onto the first international flight out of San Francisco International....on September 18th. Our feeling was that the terrorists were winning with each passing day. I believe that the goal of terrorism is not just to kill, but to terrorise. They want us to react exactly the way we do.

And this case is no different. In reaction to a foiled plot, thousands of people lost hours and days out of their lives. Literally tons of cosmetics and beverages have met the same fate as tens of thousands of nail clippers and sewing scissors. They have created chaos throughout the United States by failing to carry out a terroist act in the United Kingdom. To date, no connection to the United States has been found in this case. And yet days later, people are losing money, time, and dignity. Carring their belongings in plastic bags, and dumping their newly prohibited items. This is overreacting. Even when the terrorists fail, they still win.


  • Shortly after Sept. 11, I booked flights to California and Hawaii.

    I felt more safe than ever, because the likelihood of two major terrorist attacks occuring in the same few months was doubtful, I thought.

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 7:10 PM  

  • Literally tons of cosmetics and beverages have met the same fate as tens of thousands of nail clippers and sewing scissors.

    You mean dumped into barrels where they can combine into a toxic sludge that will probably go critical and explode taking some hapless TSA agents with it.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 PM  

  • Perhaps they can bury the toxic mix under the pile of bulls**t

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 9:56 PM  

  • I am tired of the non-stop hyping of it. Just catch them and stfu already..its your job! Its not a prize to be bandied about in public..

    By Blogger dusty, at 3:03 AM  

  • PT

    Great, now that we know what you think we shouldn’t do, please tell us what you think we should do.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:31 AM  

  • Hey, come on, there's an election coming up and Bush's poll ratings need a boost. We must all be very very afraid of everybody and everything. We need to sacrifice more and more. Questioning our Leaders is equal to wanting the terrorists to win.

    By Blogger Tom Harper, at 6:20 AM  

  • I would like to point out the American "connection" According to all of my local media outlets, the terrorist plan was to board the airplanes in England and then blow them up when they were over American airspace.
    I do agree with you and Elizabeth though. I kept my October flight 4 weeks after the 9/11 event and flew to New York. I am one of a small percentage of Americans who can say that I 'smelled' 9/11. But that is an individual's choice. As far as government reactions...If they react any slower you give them grief for being too slow or not comprehensive enough (ala hurricane Katrina). If they act fast, its "knee jerk" or "they should have done a study first". They can't win!

    By Anonymous Abner Peacock, at 8:43 AM  

  • Just a few scattered thoughts if I may.

    These scares to our collective security are the heaven sent gifts to Tony and especially to Junior. For some unexplaineable reason they seem to have cornered the "keeping you safe" markets. They need danger to us in order to survive more than we need security to do the same.

    The Americans tend to have their hair in fire so easily. The explanation might be based on the fact that their wars are conducted far away from home and they never get to see what the destruction is really a like, except on TV. So, when something like the 9/11 happens it is such a shock.

    We must remain calm and rational and not to start dismanteling our democracies just because of the heightend need for the security. We also should remember that sceptisism and healthy disbelief is better than just blindly going the way many of us did in the aftermath of the 9/11.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 9:41 AM  

  • Abner

    Well said! How true! Didnt even think of think of the Katrina link. Hahahahah.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:49 PM  

  • Thanks for all your comments. Some good laughs for me.


    Remain calm.


    If I can call you that...

    Yes, they were on the way to the states. What I meant by a lack of connection is that there is no evidence that anyone having anything to do with this threat is in the U.S. Thus, the 'knee-jerk' reaction for U.S. domestic flights seems a bit unnecessary.

    Yes, I will criticize the government when they drag in their response to Katrina when thousands of people are suffering, yet waste no time making every travelers life a living hell in reaction to a plan in the U.K. They can win with effective, appropriate response to the problem at hand.

    Let me ask you this.. did they find any explosives in the evian bottles? Has another plot been foiled as a result of the intense security in the U.S. over the weekend? The obvious answer to both questions is a resounding "no".

    The people in this case had been under surviellence for over a month. There was no security breech. Nothing has essentially changed, but now we re-invent the entire screening process for a few days which does nothing but please the terroists to no end.

    I'm sure Osama got a kick watching the travelers standing in the rain outside of Heathrow this weekend.

    I brought in the nail clippers to make a point. Now you can bring them on the plane. So all those confinscated nail-clippers had no effect and obviously were not a threat since they are now allowed on the plane.

    The same will be true of the water and vitamin packets that I will be forced to part with on my next visit home.

    They will have posed no threat, just like the tons of cosmetics and lotions that have been tossed over the weekend, and yet they will meet a similar fate.

    Essentially Pekka nails it...

    We must remain calm and rational and not to start dismanteling our democracies just because of the heightend need for the security.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:03 PM  

  • PT,

    Speaking of dismantling established order, reports that 2,500 atronomers from 75 countries are meeting in Prague, even as I write this,to determine a universal definition of planet and to decide whether Pluto will retain its status as a planet.

    As my designated representative in Prague, I ask that you find out where this convention is being held and begin a one man protest against the deplanetization of Pluto. Who cares if Pluto marches to the beat of a different cosmic drummer w/ its funky orbital plane and it propensity to orbit nearer to the sun than Neptune.

    Down w/ the revisionists!


    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 9:04 PM  

  • Owen Gingerich, an historian and astronomer emeritus at Harvard, told NPR last week that the proposal, "will make the Plutocrats and the children of the United States happy."

    Gingerich's words imply that Pluto will not lose planet status. One possibility is that the proposal would have Pluto termed a dwarf planet or minor planet. The setup would logically divide planets into terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars), giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) and the dwarfs.

    The vote is in 12 days. I'd hate to protest something only to be told Pluto is still a planet. I will be bummed if Pluto loses its status.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:10 AM  

  • Praguetwin,
    I agree with you that the new precautions at American airports are serious overkill and probably no real concern for terrorists, I just don't ever want to see you following the Democrat drumbeat I heard after 9/11 that Bush should have known we were going to be attacked, he should have acted before the attack to stop them, and he should have instituted much heavier airport security before it happened.
    You call for "effective appropriate response", yet even though Arch asked you earlier what we should do, you still haven't told us what that would be. Maybe the reason they didn't find any explosive tooth paste in the last week is because American terrorists decided to delay their plans because of the well publicized heightened airport security? How can you know? Nobody knows when or how they will strike, but even you can't deny that someone is planning to, right now. Should we simply live our lives and let it happen every time, or should we do a little more? How much is enough? How much is too much? We will never know until a bomb goes off and everybody will shout "it wasn't enough, and its the goverments' fault!"
    I don't disagree with Pekka but, I wouldn't call chucking the Afrosheen "dismantling our democracy" By the way, you can still buy water and vitamins here in America.

    ...and yes, you may call me Abner, I hope I don't come off as too angsty here, its hard to tell on a web forum.

    By Anonymous Abner Peacock, at 6:13 AM  

  • Abner

    So good to have you along for the ride.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:25 PM  

  • Abner,

    As citizens we should remain calm. We are doing our part. No matter how much they try to scare us, people have become stoic to it all in many ways. But what they should be doing is exactly what they have been doing without the scare tactics.

    Look, it has been proven again and again how easy it is to penetrate security. Added measures can only be enforced for certain periods of time making them completely inneffective. It seems that the government is doing a pretty good job at sniffing out the precious few plots that have been out there (since London that is). They still haven't stopped any real al-Qaida threat though.

    Intelligence and awareness is all you can expect from people. Surveillence is done by the government, and in this case they did their job. But the searches and the water bottles... this is just a waste of time and energy. I know I can get water and vitamins when I get there, but I need some for the 20 hour hell trip from Prague to California. I usually bring 3 liters and it is never enough. I also drink every last drop that I can get from the stewardesses. I'm telling you, airlines would go out of business if they had to give me water.... oh, I just got it. Soon they will be selling it on the plane for like $5 a bottle. That is brilliant. O.K. never mind I understand now, I'll quite complaining. That and the half size carry on. Things have been getting a little out of control with the carry on plus the laptop thing. They are using that to nip that crap in the bud, which is probably not such a bad idea. O.K. you are right, it is for my own good and the collective good. I concede.

    And finally, I have never said that Bush should have stepped up security and prevented 9/11. I am not one of those. I think that it is impossible to react to every threat and this one got by. Having said that, I think it is pretty ironic how all the Republicans used to call Clinton paranoid for obsessing on Bin Laden. I also think that Bush was a little lacksidaisical, but we all were. Hell, I was. Never saw it comin.

    But to let the Pentagon get slammed into? I mean, that is just embarrasing. Here we are the most powerful military force in the world, and our headquartes gets hit by a jet and there isn't even a fighter plane in the area. The only tape of the incident is a security camera with horrible resolution. What does that say about our "state-of-the-art-millitary preparedness?

    Essentially, just like after Katrina, the federal government's response was so slow, it is no wonder people have conspiracy theories. I say they are just that incompetent, but a little part of me wants to believe becasue I guess I hope they aren't really THAT incompentent.

    America is spending like a billion dollars extra trying to protect itself. As citizens all we can do is get on the plane, be alert, and hope the thing doesn't go down in a fireball. We take the same risk everytime we get into a car or into a bathtub for that matter.

    Be alert. Be tolerant. Be fearless and unafraid. That is about the best we can do as individuals.

    Unfortunately, the rest is up to our leaders.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:29 PM  

  • Praquetwin, yours is the voice of reason.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 11:00 PM  

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