Liquids on Planes: Rocky Gets it Right

The recent revelation of a thwarted terror plan involving “mixing liquids” on flights from the United Kingdom to the United States has led the Transportation Security Administration to ban all passengers flying in the US from carrying liquids or gels in their carry-on luggage.

The new rules are causing long lines and headaches in airports across America.The reaction of Republican Party leaders to this plot has left many wondering if they’re more interested in exploiting the threat of terrorism for political purposes.  As the AP has reported, Democrats today chastised Republicans for sending a fundraising email signed by Rudy Giuliani out only hours after the plot was revealed.

Here are the relevant parts from the email in question:

Today, President Bush faces a similar challenge. In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before. We can’t turn back now. […]

That’s why I am emailing to ask you for a favor:  will you click here to make a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to show your strong commitment to our Party and our principles?

“In the middle of a war on terror, we need to remain focused on furthering Republican ideas more than ever before,” former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a letter that asked for donations to the Republican National Committee.

And it’s not just Democrats who are voicing concern.  Even the Rocky Mountain News editorial board, known for its conservative bent, today questions the motives and effectiveness of the new rules for flying.

In the wake of the arrests, however, U.S. security officials responded with rules that look like they were designed to thwart the plot that had already been busted. They are also disproportionate to the nature of the conspiracy, which targeted only flights that originated in the United Kingdom. […]

How long will these restrictions continue? TSA director Kip Hawley has offered no timetable. He said Thursday that the ban would stay until new screening methods could be developed.

In no way do we minimize the heroic and difficult work necessary to take down this potentially lethal terrorist conspiracy. But surely TSA isn’t poised to ban all carry-on liquids on a permanent basis given the potential problems it would inflict upon millions of Americans who fly without checking their baggage.

These new restrictions are out of whack, and should be lifted immediately.

Kudos to the Rocky Ed. Board for rising above the partisan fray and calling a spade a spade.

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Paul Preston

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