15 November 2010

Is it acceptable to "pat down" women and children ??

In his blog for The Atlantic, James Fallows makes note of a curious conflict of ethics and pragmatism raised by a letter from and Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan:
A US Army staff sergeant, now serving in Afghanistan, writes about the new enhanced pat-down procedure from the TSA. Summary of his very powerful message: to avoid giving gross offense to the Afghan public, and to prevent the appearance of an uncontrolled security state, the US military forbids use on Afghan civilians of the very practices the TSA is now making routine for civilian travelers at US airports...
At no time were we permitted or even encouraged to search children or women. In fact, this would have been considered an extreme violation of acceptable cultural practice and given the way word travels here, been a propaganda victory for the Taliban.

Yet somehow the TSA is engaged in this at home while my unit and I spent our tour unable to safeguard ourselves equally in an environment where the Taliban have often disguised themselves in burkas and used children as both spies and fighters...
Further details and discussion at The Atlantic.


  1. Yeah. It's almost like touching someone's crotch IS A BIG DEAL and shouldn't be violated casually. I'm officially more scared of the TSA than I am of terrorists now. This makes me so furious.

    I'm writing to various airlines I've flown with and telling them exactly why I won't be flying any time soon. It's not much, but at least I'll use my voice.

  2. If TSA started hiring prostitutes, models, and masseurs, I think the public would go for it, and airline travel would go way up.

  3. I don't know what our military code of conduct should be. I believe we shouldn't have our soldiers on foreign soil, but that's beside the point. The TSA rules for searching air passengers flies in the face of the fourth amendment, as far as I can tell, and should be abolished. It's not as if they've been effective. But even if they were, they would be illegal and ethically wrong.


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