Security shouldn’t be only concern

Josh Veazey

How far are we willing to go to stop terrorism? If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last presidency, it’s that we can’t simply hand the government a blank check. That sentiment is no less important because the people in charge are not named George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld.

I’ve researched Yemen, but at this point, I honestly don’t know to what degree we should intervene there.

I know that in our initial attack last week, two-thirds of the casualties were civilians.

I know that the country’s complicated factional struggles and lack of infrastructure reminds me of another quagmire we began eight years ago.

I know that U.S. military aid has often been used by its recipients to crush their own opposition.

I know that al-Qaeda has openly stated that part of its strategy is to entrap the U.S. in ground wars in Muslim countries.

It doesn’t take a political scientist to ask the obvious question: If this place is such an unequivocally clear threat, why weren’t we over there before the Underwear Bomber made his attempt on Christmas Day?

How much are you willing to have our way of life altered even further to feel safe?

A week ago on Fox News, a retired lieutenant general, Thomas McInerney, volunteered that we should strip-search all Muslim men between the ages of 18 and 28 at airports.

Apparently, Muslims carry some type of membership card in their wallet, similar to those in the AARP, that gives them away.

Presumably, he meant that those who come from certain countries can be assumed to be Muslim. What countries count? Besides the Middle East and Africa, countries like Russia, China, and Indonesia have large Muslim populations. There are growing populations in places like France, where 2001’s “shoe bomber” Richard Reid came from, and the United Kingdom.

Or maybe we mean someone who looks “Arab?” Admittedly, most of these suspects are of Middle Eastern descent, but that’s about as helpful at narrowing it down as the statement “Most rapists are men.”

Race alone is too broad to be an indicator. Besides, Underwear Bomber looks like a black guy to me. Jose Padilla, the 2002 “dirty bomber,” is Hispanic. Should we just shake down all people of color coming from or going to any of the some 100 or so countries in which al-Qaeda operates?

The Department of Homeland Security has cooked up a more egalitarian solution – just make everyone get naked. I say, there’s no reason to stop there. Taking off our shoes turned out not to be enough.

Why should we think that this is the last step? I think it’s likely that someone will hide a small box cutter in a balloon inside of their digestive tract.

Therefore, we should all go through anal cavity searches. Not only would we all finally be safe, we would also have a perfect literal and metaphorical indicator of how much we’re willing to give up because we’re afraid.

Here’s an alternative solution: Stop letting these people make you crazy. When they start defining us, they’ve already won. Millions of people have boarded flights in the last decade; a handful of them were murderers.

It’s not worth exacerbating civil wars in Yemen over. It’s not even worth being stressed out in the terminal.

I’d rather be attacked by fascists than become one.

Josh Veazey is a senior majoring in telecommunication and film. His column runs weekly on Wednesdays.