December 26, 2009
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It seems to me that the following recipe is in season:

When a single, isolated criminal claims to be acting for, with, or in support of Al Qaeda:
  1. Stop everything; give him as much attention as you possibly can.
  2. If practical, emphasize the incredible dangers he poses even after his arrest and which threaten any jail, prison, or state in which he happens to be confined.
  3. If possible, torture him sufficiently to ensure that he can never be tried in court.
  4. Immediately add additional, highly-visible and inconvenient security theater to demonstrate that Something Is Being Done. Spare no expense.
  5. Ignore the thousands of dollars of costs for additional screening, and the millions of dollars of lost waiting time, missed flights, and cancelled trips.
  6. Insist that these costs be suffered by all international travelers, everywhere. This group, after all, includes most of the economic and political decision-makers in the world.
  7. Be sure, as they take off their shoes and see their perfume confiscated and have their retinas scanned, that they know these restrictions and costs are imposed by a US government in which they have no voice, which has not asked their leave, and is unlikely to thank them.

Readers will recognize this as that difficult old classic, the recipe for How To Lose To Terrorists, originally served in Algeria and Indo-China, though arguably based on 18th century cookbooks from Lexington and Concord.