In October of 2005, I flew back from Iraq for my two-week leave, then flew back to the Middle East when the leave was over. As is the custom, I flew on commercial airlines with my uniform on. Both on the arrival trip and the departure trip, I went through all the airport rigmarole.
But what I went through in 2005 was mild compared to what is going on in airports these days.
Our government's failure to profile the demographic group from which the terrorists emerge means that everybody else can be harassed.
Erick Erickson at Redstate relays the personal account of a soldier returning from Afghanistan and his experience at the Indianapolis airport. You can read the whole account here:Another TSA OutrageErick Erickson, Redstate, Nov. 18th, 2010
To make a long story short, the soldiers had already been inspected and passed through customs in Afghanistan. But upon arrival to Indianapolis, the soldiers in question, even though it wasn't their final destination, had to leave the plane, bearing their weapons (without ammunition) and pass through security. Then, the contributing soldier relates, this happened:
â€¦So weâ€™re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his GerberÂ multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that theyâ€™re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:Sure does make you feel secure doesnâ€™t it, knowing that soldiers returning from Afghanistan wonâ€™t be allowed to carry nail clippers through your local airport!
TSA Guy: You canâ€™t take those on the plane.
Soldier: What? Iâ€™ve had them since we left country.
TSA Guy: Youâ€™re not suppose to have them.
TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.
Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And Iâ€™m allowed to take it on.
TSA Guy: Yeah but you canâ€™t use it to take over the plane. You donâ€™t have bullets.
Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?
TSA Guy: [awkward silence]
Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. Iâ€™ll buy you a new set.
Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]
Of course, I donâ€™t mean to suggest that there arenâ€™t some soldiers that we neednÂ´t be concerned about . Major Hasan of Fort Hood comes to mind, but then, his demographic isn't the one being profiled.