(Chicago Tribune) When it comes to protecting against terrorism, this is how things usually go: A danger presents itself; the federal government responds with new rules that erode privacy, treat innocent people as suspicious and blur the distinction between life in a free society and life in a correctional facility; and we all tamely accept the new intrusions, like sheep being shorn.
The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11 — long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days.
The agency is rolling out new full-body scanners, which eventually will replace metal detectors at all checkpoints. These machines replicate the experience of taking off your clothes, but without the fun. They enable agents to get a view of your body that leaves nothing to the imagination.
The new policy is being challenged in court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which says it violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches. But don't expect judges to save us. Says Stanford University law professor Robert Weisberg, with resignation in his voice, "Airports are pretty much a Fourth Amendment-free zone."
The federal Government Accountability Office has said it "remains unclear" if the scanners would have detected the explosives carried by the would-be Christmas Day bomber.
They would also be useless against a terrorist who inserts a bomb in his rectum — like the al-Qaida operative who blew himself up last year in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince. Full-body scanning will sorely chafe many innocent travelers, while creating only a minor inconvenience to bloodthirsty fanatics.
Liberals really don't care to find out if there is a limit to the sacrifices of personal freedom in the name of fighting terrorism. They understand the harm to privacy is certain, but the benefit to public safety is not. But once we disregard the Constitution, we are no longer Americans. Liberal extremism leads toward a Marxist Regime.