Airport Madness: Mutually Assured Dehumanization

Morning fun: exercise the elementary reasoning skills of our evildoing enemies and see if you can predict the following development:

Britain is facing a new Al Qaeda terror threat from suicide ‘body bombers’ with explosives surgically inserted inside them. […] But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time.

Security services believe the move has been prompted by the recent introduction at airports of body scanners, which are designed to catch terrorists before they board flights.

My problem with what’s unfolding at our nation’s airports runs a lot deeper than the misfortune of genital encroachment. My problem is that we’re racing down an inherently absurd road. Set aside for a moment the dismaying way in which every new advance in security measures involves a retreat for civil liberties and traditional definitons of decency. Our logic of escalation appears to mean that every new solution actually creates a new and dramatically worse problem — one which calls, of course, for dramatically more invasive and comprehensive countermeasures.

Where does it end? As a matter of logic, it ends with a free people dehumanizing themselves in a way their own enemies cannot quite manage to do. Fortunately, we are not prisoners of logic. But the awful thing about terrorism is that it very well might keep us prisoner to fear.

Here’s Ron Paul’s attempt at a way out. Here’s libertarian travel security expert Robert Poole’s. Others?