Arming and protecting the hijackers

We Play Right Into Their Hands

Rand at Transterrestrial Musings notes that, by arming pilots and armoring cockpits, we’re actually facilitating the job of the rumored terrorist-pilots. He then goes on to lambast the administration (our “fearless/feckless leaders”) for playing right into the hands of the terrorists.

But this administration continues to treat the people like a herd, rather than a pack, and so in the next incident, they may leave us even more defenseless, not only unable to save themselves, but this time, unable to save the White House or the Capitol Building.

And if the residents of those locations die, they’ll fully deserve it for their elite arrogance and insufficient faith in the ability of free men to defend themselves and their country.

That’s a pretty strong statement, there.

He does raise some excellent points, and I recommend that you check out the post and read the comments.

However, the story goes that possible terrorist/pilots fly for FOREIGN arilines. We have a certain amount of control over who flies for US airlines, and I would hope that we step that process up a notch (or three.)

We can’t screen pilots for foreign airlines, of course, but the administration’s post-9/11 plans (like arming pilots and armoring cockpits) don’t apply to foreign airlines anyway.

If we can’t deal with this correctly (doing unto them before they do unto us) we’re going to have to hope passengers manage to pull of a Flight 93, and/or we’ll have to be ready to blow that plane out of the sky when it deviates from its flight plan.

Or, as another commenter on the post asks, what if the foreign terrorist-pilot is flying a cargo plane? A load of boxes isn’t a pack OR a herd.

To fault the administration’s strategy doesn’t really address the fact that OUR armed and armored pilots aren’t the ones we probably need to worry about, anyway. (via Instapundit)


  1. A question: Are we focussing too much on fighting off the last terrorist attack and not the next one? Not that the cockpit security issues aren’t important – no sense leaving the door open to a repeat – but consider the Maginot Line.

  2. So, knowing that taking steps in the airline industry in no way keeps us from taking appropriate steps in other areas of weakness, what are you proposing? Are you saying we should not be taking these steps in airline safety? NOT taking the steps doesn’t help any other efforts get any further along. I’m a little confused after reading your post, since I’m not sure what you’re proposing we do regarding airline safety. I guess your post looks like an intro paragraraph to be followed by a set of points to be made based on the above premise.

  3. Apparently it was sort of a Rorschach post. I was just asking a question for discussion. Like in the old days when people discussed ideas rather than just lobbed things back and forth. One thing we can do for airline safety is to actually spend money needed to have adequate security hardware in place to prevent unauthorized entry. Policing it is another thing, but my experience is that the things we can just buy to help keep airline travel safe aren’t necessarily being done. Where’s the blank check for keeping us safe? Surely somone in the administration has links to a security equipment company.

  4. I’m not sure if KTLA was lobbing at my original post, or at the comment. My position is that it would be irresponsible to NOT provide greater security for airline pilots in the form of more secure doors to the cockpit and/or sidearms or air marshalls. That being said, it isn’t really enough. Not only are we not fully addressing future possibilities, I don’t really think we’ve done a whole lot to stop an exact repeat of 9/11. Sure, screeners took away my fingernail clippers a couple of months ago, but a week after that a guy (who had warned the FBI previously) sneaked all sorts of stuff on to several SWA planes and got away Scott free. I DON’T feel a lot safer, except in the sense that no passengers will sit meekly by like they did on the first 3 9/11 planes. But hoping that a pack of passengers can overpower hijackers isn’t a good line of defense. Although not as critical of the situation as Mystery Poster seems to be, I think this is an issue that the Dems could really attack Bush on. Instead they’re calling each other names and wishing that that turkey in Iraq had been plastic. Not that I want successful attacks against Bush, but I DO want air travel to be more secure than it is today. My gripe with the Transterrestrial Musings piece was that he was faulting the administration for helping to protect hijacker-pilots when the hijacker-pilots and their airlines aren’t under the administration’s control in the first place.

  5. OK, I apologize if I offended, Mystery Poster, that wasn’t my intent. I was responding to what sounded like a lot of the rhetoric I hear in my part of the country, complaints about how nothing that has been done in the name of security in the last few years has been even remotely intelligent or effective. To tangent, just two weeks ago I was at the US/Canada border (sea port), waiting in line to have the U.S. border boys check our passports. The line took about 15 minutes to get through, and the woman in front of me was livid about how this whole line ordeal she was being put through was the fault of that god d*mn Bush! There was not a SINGLE benefit of having border guards checking any sort of documentation, and this line used to flow much better, thank-you-very-much. The whole thing was an attempt to monger fear by making us think there was a reason for the inconvenience. I experienced a strange mixture of anger and amusement. Next November, however, I’ll definitely be remembering that I have to help balance the votes of people like her out. Anyway, back to the airplanes, I caught the implication from you of ‘why bother, nothing we change on the planes makes any difference anyway.’ I totally agree with your second comment, it’s the sort of follow-on to the first one I was looking for! (Hence my ‘little confused’ comment.) I don’t think I’ve seen you post until recently. Welcome to MO!