In my Winter 2002 Doublethink article (pdf here, HTML here) I argued that our nation’s approach to terrorism was ultimately failed, because all of the security measures in the world will be unable to stop would-be terrorists. All of the civil liberties we give up in exchange for security will ultimately fail to make us safe. In the end, we will be both unsafe and unfree.
In particular, I argued that airport security would simply move the target to the security and check-in line. Lo and behold on July 4th, a gunman attacked an El Al ticket counter in Los Angeles.
In the above article, I predicted that the government’s response to an attack outside of security would simply be to move out the perimeter of security. Lo and behold, I’m sitting here watching CNN’s “Late Edition” and Wolf Blitzer asked Senator Richard Shelby if this is what we needed to do. Shelby concurred.
What would that create? Long lines to get into the airport, and another inviting terrorist target. It’s an infinite regression — terrorist attack, move out the perimeter, new target, new attack, move out the perimeter — until our entire nation is engulfed in security. We will be both unsafe and unfree.
So what to do? As I conclude in my article, we need to return to our nation’s founding principles of non-aggression.