Yesterday, we won a big round in the fight against terror. We arrested a big group of people trying to pull off a huge terror strike in the near future. Even better, we've been watching them for a while, so there was never really a big danger from this group, it'll be easy to put them away, and we got to see their links to other groups.
- First, this should only make people feel more comfortable flying. We put these guys away...so they won't be able to blow stuff up. We knew what we were looking for, found it, and now we have some more knowledge that will let us get better at tracking groups like this down in the future. I don't see why people should cancel their travel plans now, because this incident proved that we can be succesful taking down at least one plot. We've always know that they will try to strike the airplanes, so this situation shouldn't be "waking" people up to that fact - it just shows that we're better at preventing this kind of stuff than we used to be.
- Seccond, I don't see why we're now banning all electronics and such only on planes coming from Britain. Britain is our friend, and they stopped this group after all. If cell phones and electronics are a big problem for us (and we know how easily they could be used to set off a bomb, and we have for a while) then we should be banning them on every flight that's a problem. By putting only the flights from Brittain on the highest alert, we're saying that Brittain is the most likely place for the terrorists to strike from. Does anyone actually think this? If the precaution is warrented for Brittain, wouldn't it be warrented for several other places as well? Then why aren't we taking precautions for those places? I think that we're putting the planes from Brittain on high alert right now because the public will support it for the moment...but how long will the restrictions last? They seem pretty stiff, and maybe not all that necessary, so they will probably go away soon and we'll just have inconvienced our friends for almost no reason. I can see the point in taking precautions, but this one seems like we're doing a bit too much. At least that's better than not enough.
- Likewise, the ban on all liquids is somewhat suspect. I can see the reasoning for doing it now, but we've know about liquid bombs for a while, and if they're a problem now (after we just stopped an attack using this strategy proving that we do know how to spot these kinds of attacks), surely they were as much of a problem three months ago - why weren't we checking water bottles then? Again, I appreciate the effort, and it's a much better situation than not taking enough precautions, but if they're such a problem now, why didn't we do this before? And if it's not that big of a deal, why are we putting people through this kind of stuff unneccesarily?
I think that the biggest effect the new restrictions will have is in encouraging people to be nervous about flying. As I've already said, that shouldn't be the case. I'm wary of a policy that would encourage people to be unecesarily afraid. However, I realize I don't have all the information and others are in a better place that I to judge, but I'd still like some more explanation of their reasoning for the timing of the new regulations (not about their merit, more about why they didn't do this stuff sooner).
Other than those stipulations, I think we've done an excellent job handling this situation, and we should definitely be celebrating one of the biggest wins that's happened in the war against terror.