Fight or flight: new terrorist watch list justified

January 26, 2010 — by Sophia Cooper

Thirty thousand feet above the ground, it’s close to impossible to have emergency teams respond and arrive as quickly as on the ground, unless they’re in a SR-71 Blackbird. So what happens when a terrorist attempts to blow up a plane mid-flight?

This situation is exactly what the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) and the National Counterterrorism Center’s Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) are trying to prevent by expanding their terrorist watch list to include all passengers flying from or passing through 14 countries, located mainly in the Middle East and northern Africa, subjecting them to a full pat-down and a hand-check of their carry on luggage.

Provoked by the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day, the TSA and TIDE is doing everything in their power to make flying safe once more for not only American citizens, but all traveling the friendly skies, making their new safety precautions based on country completely justified.

The fact that the majority of the world’s terrorists come out of Yemen, Iran, Cuba and Sudan is good reasoning to place those countries on the list. The other 10 countries (Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia) also have a very high terrorist population, with Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria recognized by the United States as state sponsors of terrorism. While some may regard this was racial profiling or discrimination, a large portion of these countries’ populations are inovled interrorist acitivies, giving the TSA and TIDE sufficient evidence to warrant their decision.

With the closing of Guantanamo Bay, many of the former detainees are being shipped back to their home countries and undertake a “terrorist rehabilitation program;” eventually they are announced as “cured” and repatriated. Where are the majority of these Gitmo releases being sent? The 14 countries on the new terrorist watch list.

Unstable governments and a hurting economy make it easier for terrorist groups, including al Qaeda in the Middle East, to gain new followers. With more people, terrorist organizations have a higher number of participants willing to partake in suicide missions, including those as passengers on airlines.

Although he was on the terrorist watch list, the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, was the son of a Nigerian politician. Using AbdulMutallab as an example, it is obvious that no matter how public the person’s life is, they could still be a terrorist. Soldiers currently fighting in the War on Terrorism report that they can’t distinguish enemies from civilians. If our highly trained milita can’t tell the difference, how can the TSA?

It is completely justified that the TSA and TIDE enforce further security measures on passengers from the aforementioned 14 countries. It’s not just for the safety of America, but the safety of the world; as international airports have to abide by the regulations set forth by the U.S., security checks are more likely to find terrorists before they board the plane to enter the States.

If they want to come to our country, they’ve got to play by our rules.

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