(NaturalNews) The follies and antics of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are shaping up to be a continual comedy of errors as the agency now finds it necessary to tout its non-accomplishments while the government that formed it has resorted to apologizing for its misdeeds.
"Chicken Soup for Your Pants? - Officers found a can of soup in a Las Vegas passenger's carry-on bag. When told that it couldn't go through because of the liquids rule (it was more than 3.4 ounces), the passenger said they would put the soup in their checked baggage. But when the passenger returned to the checkpoint, officers saw that the passenger had tried to hide the soup in their pants. No soup for them."
Needless to say, the post elicited no small amount of righteous sarcasm, with respondents sardonically thanking these true American heroes for single-handedly saving the airline industry, preserving countless lives and, no doubt, ensuring these gallant government employees remain in place to violate our civil rights another day.
The post is indicative of the sad state of affairs that has become the new definition of airport "safety" in these post 9/11 times, summed up recently by Kip Hawley, the former TSA chairman, who derided the behemoth agency by noting "it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect."
Aptly describing airport travel today as "an unending nightmare," Hawling - in a piece for The Wall Street Journal - wrote that, "if you're a frequent traveler, you probably hate us."
"Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve," he wrote, adding that the TSA's job "is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations."
We're sorry for being us
Meanwhile, as average Americans suffer daily abuses to their civil rights without so much as a sympathetic nod from Uncle Sam, international film stars get the full State Department apology for being hassled.
In mid-April, the U.S. formally apologized to Indian film superstar Shah Rukh Khan after he was detained for 90 minutes aboard his private plane at a small airport in White Plains, N.Y. Khan, who was traveling to the U.S. to give a speech at Yale University, naturally blamed the incident on racism, though scores of Americans also get the TSA shaft on a regular basis, though without the resultant apology.
"We offer our apologies for any discomfort or inconvenience he may have suffered as a result of this incident," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, as the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi offered one as well.
Khan maintains he was "singled out" because of his name. The government said no, that wasn't the case at all. "Tens of thousands of Muslims travel to and from the United States every day and are not detained or delayed," said Toner.
Operating without an apology
No such apology, however, to the parents of babies and toddlers who were felt up by TSA screeners. No apology to elderly women with colostomy bags who were forced to be strip-searched. No apology to breast-feeding women made to empty their baby's bottles. No apology for stealing passengers' valuables. No apology for daily violating constitutionally protected civil rights.
Hawling has a few ideas, short of getting rid of the TSA completely and letting airports return to private security firms. Ending banned items (other than guns and explosives), allowing all liquids, and ending baggage fees so passengers don't stuff their carry-on's full would help.
So would getting real about genuine terrorist threats. Grandmas, toddlers and frequent flyers aren't terrorists.