Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Cunning Plan

With just a few minor flaws.
Last week, NORAD twice scrambled fighter jets in response to unruly passengers. Now, I understand that everybody is being hyper-vigilant in the wake of the "undie bomber", but I fail to see how F-15's or F-16's are an effective way to deal with the problem. The fighter escorts can force a commercial aircraft to the ground based only on the implicit threat of shooting it down. Which doesn't strike me as much of a deterrent to a terrorist. "Don't blow up the plane, or we'll blow up the plane" has a bit of a logical flaw as a tactic against terrorism. Maybe I'm missing something, but blowing something up to prevent it from being blown up, while a common military approach, seems counterproductive.
And I don't quite understand how this helps control "unruly" passengers. Saying "quit being an asshole, or we'll blow you (and everyone around you) to smithereens", while emotionally satisfying, seems to be a bit of overkill. Sure, we've all had the urge to blow up an obnoxious drunk (OK, at least I have; you may be more tolerant), but no sane person would actually do it, especially when it means killing a couple hundred other people along with the jerk.
So the scrambled fighters are a purely symbolic gesture, allowing the TSA to say "see, we are doing something." It's just that the "something" won't make anybody any safer.
Or am I missing something?


One Fly said...

I put up a similar post and montag brought up a decent point that they could shoot it down if the baddies gained control.

If something was thrown out it could be followed-stuff like that I suppose.

And that was the title of my post that we'll beat 'em with symbolism because that's all it is for the most part.

Demeur said...

Gee you'd think the airlines had never dealt with drunk passenger before.

Lockwood said...

I think the only thing you're missing is that it allows the military to spend 10's of thousands of dollars- maybe more- without any noticeable consequences. That's their job, isn't it?