Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Real Bad Guys

Do you get the feeling we’re being played for the fool?

There has been an enormous amount of time and energy, not to mention newspaper ink, spent on the current TSA attempt to make our airline travel more secure. Are you feeling safer? Understand something here. I don’t have a beef with the TSA workers. I have written about them before. Theirs is a tough job. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that job.

But having traveled a lot over the past five decades, both for the military and on church mission trips, I am very familiar with airports. Making my flights, dealing with delays, switching airlines, and so forth, is part of the overall experience of flying the friendly skies.

For several years prior to 9-11, I was assigned to a Marine command at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. My routine on drill weekends was to drive the 80 miles from my home to the Sacramento Airport, catch a direct flight to San Diego, pick up a rental car and drive 35 miles north to Camp Pendleton. Leaving my house and arriving at my BOQ room at Pendleton took between 5-6 hours. After 9-11, an additional one-to-two hours was tacked on due to security reasons. Since I could now drive to Pendleton in the same amount of time as flying (plus I could avoid all the security hassles, and I could carry more in my car than on the plane), I began driving to my drills. After returning from the war, I was assigned to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing (4thMAW). The headquarters of the command is located in New Orleans. So I was back to flying with all of its inconveniences.

But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s some sleight of hand work going on here. You know how that works. The magician is distracting you with one hand, while the other hand is doing something else, unnoticed.

Here’s what I’m driving at. The enemies of our country, in particular, Muslim extremists such as Al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and other nefarious groups of hate-filled religionists, are yanking our chain, getting us to dance to their tune. Consider that the planes flown into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a farmer’s field in Pennsylvania changed the way you and I travel by air. We were then introduced to the TSA and their security checks at the airport. Then there was the “Shoe-bomber.” This failed-attempt at blowing up an airplane by lighting a fuse to a bomb-laden shoe prompted the TSA to have us remove our shoes for screening as part of the precaution. More recently we had the “Underwear-bomber.” This has brought about body pat-downs; then the more invasive forms of what could only be called nothing short of a “strip search.” Where does this end? When will we see security checks for trains? Subways? Buses?

What has happened is exactly what I feared. We’re watching one hand while the other is doing something far worse! We, the American people, who are simply going about our daily business, are being subjected to treatment we don’t even permit our enemies to suffer. That’s the “hand” we do see. The other hand that we don’t see is in two parts: First, we are not aggressively pursuing the terrorists who have intentionally caused us these inconveniences. Instead, for fear of appearing “unfair” to the rest of the world, we have moved the known killers of the victims of 9-11 and our soldiers in battle, out of Guantanamo Bay (a.k.a., Gitmo for short) and into the United States where the first of these killers has been tried and found not guilty on the most serious charges! How does that bode for the rest of the Gitmo detainees? They’ve gotta like their chances! Second, the Taliban and Al-Qaida are laughing themselves sick over our fear of what they might do next. The jokes of how they have caused our great nation to cower because of shoes and underwear must be running rampant throughout the terrorist world. All the while they are planning something else entirely to bring about our destruction. I, for one, am not interested in being bullied, harassed and intimidated by these thugs who hate everything about us and our freedoms. They do not want to “make nice” with us. They want us dead.

What is wrong with us that we tolerate such intimidation? How is it we allow these clowns to yank our chains?
Here’s my proposal: We go about our daily lives without building in the numerous inconveniences that cause us to feel like we’re the villains. In the meantime, organizations within our country that were established to go after bad guys (military, FBI, CIA, etc) should be allowed full reign to tenaciously pursue these creeps until they have found, killed, or captured every single one of them. These terrorists should be in such fear of us coming after them that they simply would not be able to rest. Why should a relative handful of terrorists be allowed to hold a nation of 310 million people hostage?

We’re Americans! You and I are not the bad guys. Let’s stop being manipulated. Let’s stop distrusting each other.

Let’s start going after the real bad guys!

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