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Dealing with liquid-gel terrorists

In the wake off the foiled plot in Britain, the US authorities went into "red alert" mode. One commentator said that this again was another ploy by the Republican administration to gain sympathy with the "war on terror" considering that, this is the only card they can play to win the elections now that the American public has had it with the War in Iraq and Bush's popularity is at its nadir. This is a familiar strategy, last year just before the elections in NY, Mayor Bloomberg declared a terror threat for the subway.

While there may be some truth to the 'liquid' terror plot, how far will the security measures go.
So now that liquids are banned, what if the terrorists move to dry substances like powder and paper, will that be banned next? Will there come a point as one radio host suggested where carry ons are totally banned and the airlines will supply you a laptop, a blackberry and a iPod all ofcourse, for a handsome price?

And if we modify the way we live is not that helping the terrorist cause, because that is what they are getting after. A bunch of people decide how people in western countries live their lives in fear and under constant threat draining their resources as they are forced to spend billions on security measures, resources which could other wise have been used for better purposes.

Bruce Schneider's post on security makes an excellent argument that security should not focus on terrorist tactics but on the terrorists themselves :

Banning box cutters since 9/11, or taking off our shoes since Richard Reid, has not made us any safer. And a long-term prohibition against liquid carry-ons won't make us safer, either. It's not just that there are ways around the rules, it's that focusing on tactics is a losing proposition.It's easy to defend against what the terrorists planned last time, but it's shortsighted. If we spend billions fielding liquid-analysis machines in airports and the terrorists use solid explosives, we've wasted our money. If they target shopping malls, we've wasted our money. Focusing on tactics simply forces the terrorists to make a minor modification in their plans. There are too many targets -- stadiums, schools, theaters, churches, the long line of densely packed people before airport security -- and too many ways to kill people.
Security measures that require us to guess correctly don't work, because invariably we will guess wrong. It's not security, it's security theater: measures designed to make us feel safer but not actually safer. Airport security is the last line of defense, and not a very good one at that. Sure, it'll catch the sloppy and the stupid -- and that's a good enough reason not to do away with it entirely -- but it won't catch a well-planned plot. We can't keep weapons out of prisons; we can't possibly keep them off airplanes. (via)

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