TSA Shows no Respect for Military: One More Reason to Loath Them

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 11 months ago

I have always looked at the TSA with some degree of loathing, for reasons that would be too many to innumerate here (including but not limited to: (a) it was at one time run by the pitiful Norman Maneta, (b) it is a government agency when it should have been privatized, (c) the times that I have seen them in action them seem to show little regard for true risks and favor busy-work, and (d) anyone who asks a little old Caucasian lady with a walking cane to disrobe or take her shoes off should be whipped and excluded from contributing to the gene pool of the country rather than given a job.  Yes, I have seen a TSA employee search a little old white lady with a walking stick.).

Now I have found the best reason of all of loath the TSA.  Our friend Oak Leaf over at Polipundit has a post on the TSA searching men and women in uniform, and cites a commentary at the Orlando Sentinel:

A little-known fact about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the U.S. military requires soldiers to travel in uniform from theater. An even lesser known fact is that the Transportation Security Administration aggressively targets war veterans as they travel home to their loved ones.

At Baltimore’s airport on my way back to Orlando from Iraq, there were about 50 soldiers in line, waiting to be cleared by TSA. I noticed soldiers taking off clothing, and then they assumed the position so commonly seen in police-chase videos, arms and legs spread wide as a screener passed a wand close to their bodies. Soldiers were asked to remove belts, boots and shirts, and their carry-on bags were ransacked.

“We’re fighting a war. Do you guys think we’re a threat?” I asked as I spread my legs and arms.

The screener replied, “I dunno,” and kept his wand in motion.

There you have it.  Your tax dollars going to perform meaningless and silly busy-work intended to embarrass your men and women in uniform rather than decrease the collective risk to our country.

There it is again ringing in my ears: “I dunno.”  Someone whip that jackass, please?

But Oak Leaf has a solution for it: the registered traveler program.  Go check it out at Polipundit.

  • http://www.gazingattheflag.blogspot.com Flag Gazer

    There is a post of this very thing happening to a young soldier wounded in Iraq – harrassed by TSA while in uniform and in a wheel chair – at his blog contactright.blogspot.com. It made me so angry.

  • grace youlden

    I’m very surprised to hear these reports. My brother lost his leg in Iraq in Jan 05. He walks with the aid of a prosthetic. When he is traveling, he calls TSA ahead of time and is greeted at the curb and doesn’t have to wait in line for security. They take him and his family in a go-cart wherever they need to be. I’ve never heard him complain about the screening process.

  • Alan Cranford

    There is fear that a GI will return from the war zone with munitions-especially M67 fragmentation hand grenades. I’ve been through this mill, and despite running the gauntlet of checks a few of these weapons make it into the United States from Iraq or Afghanistan. They are classified as both destructive devices and “weapons of mass destruction” under Title 18 USC–unless in the hands of Iraqis, apparently! Can you see the multiple problems? TSA and other government agencies are unable to run checkpoints without violating personal dignity. These checkpoints still fail to get 100% of the targeted items. Funny how the “loyal opposition party” in America DEMANDS that every solution other than their own be without flaw and proved before it can even e considered–but proven flawed systems hawked by those worthy souls can fail every time.

    It appears that the TSA screeners were not told what to look for. In their search for box cutters and nitrate-impregnated footwear, are they overlooking Mk III nuclear devices like the one dropped on Nagasaki in World War Two? I ran screening points in the Middle East over a seven-year period (two in Saudi Arabia and five in Kuwait) and used metal detector wands, explosive sniffers, x-ray machines, visual inspection, pat-downs, free-standing magnometers, instant document verification via computer, and even limited interrogation (who are you visiting, what is the purpose of your visit, do you intend to harm anyone while you are here). I was lucky–the only incidents were complaints from those subjected to being stopped at the checkpoints. Sometimes these complaints led to disciplinary actions–the complainers had clout! Sometimes the complaints were legitimate, other times, disciplinary actions were imposed for simply following the written procedures.

    TSA screeners have a difficult job–perhaps too difficult for their level of training and salary. They make thousands of mistakes every day. One of those mistakes is treating returning soldiers as if the soldiers were international terrorists. Happens. The older soldiers remember the Vietnam era. It’s new and insulting to the younger soldiers. There is a purpose: some of our soldiers have misbehaved. This is used as justification to profile people travelling in groups, in camoflage clothing, and under official orders. Cannot do that to Islamic clerics, of course–only American soldiers.

  • http://www.op-for.com Charlie B.

    Alan’s pretty much on the money, they are screening for contraband brought back from the CentCom theater. Of course, they are supposed to be screened even before leaving theater. We spent several hours being thoroughly screened at an airbase in Kuwait on this last trip back. I e-mailed the TSA a few months back after I noticed that the screeners were looking to confiscate automatic knives. They are prohibited under TSA regulations. However, Title 15 § 1244 says that members of the Armed Forces may carry automatic knives acting in the performance of their duties. I don’t know about you, but I think a combat deployment to Iraq might qualify as performance of my duty. Anyway, so far no response to my e-mail.

  • Herschel Smith

    Charlie, let me know if anything develops on this. I would like to follow it.

You are currently reading "TSA Shows no Respect for Military: One More Reason to Loath Them", entry #215 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Politics and was published August 16th, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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