Showing posts with label Deterrence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deterrence. Show all posts

March 22, 2019

Israel and The Golan Heights

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "A Great Day On The Golan Heights."
Between 1948 and 1967, the Golan was used by Syria to indiscriminately shell and harass Israeli villages in the Galilee, including in April 1967 at which time Israel shot down six Syrian MIG fighter planes as a warning to Syria. Finally, after twenty years of these continuing attacks by Syria on Israel from the Golan, did Syria finally lose the Golan to Israel in the ensuing 1967 War. Contrary to those who say that recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan endorses the forceful taking of land from other countries, the monumental shift in American policy on Purim this week actually provides critical deterrence against war by recognizing the potential consequences to those like Syria that unjustly wage war and lose.

Thank you to President Trump for setting the record straight with respect to Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and for supporting Israel's right to peace and security.  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2018

Israel's Border Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, Legitimate Use of Landmines for Israel-Gaza Border

Israel should consider use of landmines to secure its border from tens of thousands of Hamas terrorists that seek daily to overrun the border and murder the citizens of the sovereign State of Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2018

Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant"
"When you see crazy coming, cross the street!"

I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:
"If you can run, run!"

That doesn't mean your not strong or courageous.

It's just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 

When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 

And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.

Peace is always desired.

But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 

This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it's nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.

Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2017

Deterrence Alone Is Not A Strategy

So there is a military doctrine that has been in place for decades. 

- MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction 

If you attack the USA with weapons of mass destruction, you'll get an overwhelming responses that will totally destroy your country. 

This was what supposedly held the USSR at bay during the cold war. 

And even recently, President Trump threatened North Korea that they would be "totally destroyed" if they try anything on us. 

The problem is that the MAD doctrine of deterrence assumes incorrectly that you are always dealing with rational actors and not with madmen.

Let's face it, their are plenty of crazies out there, and some of whom may be willing to go down in a "blaze of glory" as long as they stand up to the United States and die a heroes death for their radicalized or "subjected" people. 

Whether it's Iran or North Korea or others--we may not know what we are really dealing with here until it's too late. 

Life is not everything to these people--remember many a terrorist has died a martyrs death with the promise of 72 virgins in heaven awaiting them. 

To some, as Prime Minister Gold Meir stated:
"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us!"

Hate by virtue of perceived injustice, required Jihad or "holy war," brainwashing or threats and the desire for a "glorious death" standing up to the infidels or the "great Satan...any of all of these can contribute to ignoring the consequences. 

Israel has tried to deter horrible homicide bombers/and other mad terrorists from performing their evil misdeeds on the civilian population by for example, demolishing the terrorist homes as a potent consequence that they know going into it, yet many terrorists still wear the explosive vests and detonate anyway.

Similarly, North Korea despite the President's threat that they "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," brushed it off and shot off more volleys of ICBMs and threatened to engulf Guam in fire. 

- The point is that deterrence alone is not a strategy!

If our enemies can hit us with a devastating attack--whether WMD, cyber, EMP, or quantum attack-- that can inflict immeasurable harm on us--they may actually choose to take their best shot, rather than wait for us to hit them or continue to feel disrespected, subjected, inferior, and hopeless.

To someone on the radical fringes or the mental edge, maybe--just maybe--they will do the unthinkable and surprise us.

What good will our fire and fury counterstrike do us, when our cities are in ruin and our people dead and dying en masse. 

Revenge isn't so sweet when your family, homeland, and virtually everything you know and held dear is gone.

The only real military strategy is to be able to defend ourselves and AVOID getting a homeland catastrophe!

We need massive investment and expertise in missile defense, bio defense, cyber defense, quantum computing, and expansive hardening of our critical infrastructure.

Unfortunately, as naysayers to the threats abound, we are no where near where we need to be in protecting the homeland.

If one person falls from the high wire and smashes their head, what good is it that the other person falls and suffers similarly or worse. 

The point is not to fall, not to get hurt, not to die, not to have our country and way of life destroyed.

Deterrence does not guarantee this security to the country--especially when dealing with no shortage of radicalized nuts out there. 

Only a genuine defense that can STOP and counter the threats BEFORE a devastating attack happens and hits us is a strategy worth pursuing ...and THEN you can punch the other person squarely in their devil's face!

Without an adequate defensive strategy, get ready, because every high flying act eventually falls to the ground and hits their head hard. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 17, 2016

Returning The US Drone

So I love and respect China, and think they are one of the greatest nations of the world.

However, it is wrong that their military stole a US drone in international waters. 

Bullying and theft is a violation of the rule of law and a challenge to America on the international stage. 

So far, our leadership from behind approach has again done virtually nothing, except like a child, ask for it back (after they have already taken whatever they wanted from it). 

Moreover, this is not the first time China has captured our assets and people--less than 6 years ago, they collided into one of our EP-3E surveillance aircraft and captured, interrogated , and held the crew for 11 days!

And hence our planes and ships keep getting buzzed, our citizens captured and humiliated, our assets confiscated illegally, and our secret intellectual property unabashedly hacked and copied.

Moreover, we are seeing a resurgent Russia in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; a militarized China expanding and weaponizing the South China Sea, a belligerent North Korea with ever further reaching ballistic nukes, and an Iran that violates their nuclear deal at will and now runs amuck with military operations from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and more. 

Oh, and surely let's not forget ISIS and the global wave of Islamic terrorism that is unabated from Paris to Orlando. 

Despite our outspending the next leading 8 nations combined on the military, we continue to be the laughing stock internationally with world leaders calling our Presidents everything from the devil to an SOB

No one would dare do this with Putin's Russia!

Why? Because they know the ridiculous price they would pay. 

We have long since passed the time when we should've stopped the whining, begging, and acting the victim, and instead start to do something real to defend ourselves and once again establish a no-nonsense deterrent, rather than a joke of red lines and hollow threats.

Our Commander-in-chief, instead of laying blame at the doorstep of Congress or world leaders doing the wrongdoing, should start to act his position. 

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's a single phone call to whoever has our drone that says something like, "You have exactly 2 hours to return the drone unharmed or the ship that was responsible for stealing it will pay the consequences--and the clock starts ticking now!"

The funny-sad thing is that bullies don't stop bullying until you stand up to them once and for all. 

A real Commander In Chief protects his nation and his people and doesn't let them be victimized in a endless cycle of violence and shame...and he does it before something really bad can happen. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 6, 2016

Preventing Cyber Disaster

So I liked this ad from Palo Alto Networks on the side of the bus, over the windows:
"Dinosaurs react.
Professionals prevent."

That's some very good marketing for a cyber security company.

It's almost a daily occurrence now to hear about the infiltrations into our networks and exfiltrations or manipulations of data that is taking place across government and industry.

Just today again, another NSA contractor accused of stealing highly classified computer code.

The day before Guccifer 2.0 and Wikileaks releases trove of stolen documents from the Clinton Foundation

And again, J&J reveals that it's insulin pump is vulnerable to hacking following allegations in August that St. Jude heart devices were subject to life-threatening hacking. 

Certainly, we can't afford to sit back and wait to react to the next attack...damage control and remediation is much harder than getting out in front of the problem in the first place. 

Prevention and deterrence is really the only solution...keep the hackers out and make sure they know that if they mess with us and our systems that we can identify who they are, find them, and take them out. 

These are the capabilities we need and must employ to dominate the cyber realm. 

In the presidential debates, candidates struggled to articulate how to deal with cybersecurity

But this is not a game of cyberopoly, rather national security, critical infrastructure, vital intellectual property, and our economy is at risk. 

Giving away Internet control and trying to plug leaks after the fact on a sinking cyber ship is no way to manage our vital technology resources.

It's high time for the equivalent Cold War determination and investment that ensures we win a free and safe cyberspace with all our networks and data intact. 

This is the only way that we don't go the way of the dinosaurs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2016

Cybersecurity Lost In Unknowns

Today unveiled is a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan

This in the wake of another Federal data breach on Sunday at the Department of Justice where hackers stole and published online the contact information for 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI personnel

And this coming on the heels of the breach at OPM that stole sensitive personnel and security files for 21 million employees as well as 5.6 million fingerprints.

While it is nice that cybersecurity is getting attention with more money, expertise, public/private poartnerships, and centers of excellence. 

What is so scary is that despite our utter reliance on everything cyber and digital, we still have virtually no security!

See the #1 definition for security--"the state of being free from danger or threat."

This is nowhere near where we are now facing threats every moment of every day as hackers, cybercriminals, cyber spies, and hostile nation states rapidly cycle to new ways to steal our secrets and intellectual property, commit identity theft, and disable or destroy our nation's critical infrastructure for everything from communications, transportation, energy, finance, commerce, defense, and more. 

Unlike with kinetic national security issues--where we regularly innovate and build more stealthy, speedy, and deadly planes, ships, tanks, surveillance and weapons systems--in cyber, we are still scratching our heads lost in unkowns and still searching for the cybersecurity grail:

- Let's share more information

- Let's throw more money and people at the problem.

- Let's seek out "answers to these complex challenges"

These have come up over and over again in plansreviewsinitiatives, and laws for cybersecurity.

The bottom line is that today it's cyber insecurity that is prevailing, since we cannot reliably protect cyber assets and lives as we desperately race against the clock searching for real world solutions to cyber threats. 

Three priorities here...

1) Build an incredibly effective intrusion protection system
2) Be able to positively tag and identify the cyber attackers 
3) Wield a powerful and credible offensive deterrent to any threats ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2016

Why Would ANYONE Close Gitmo?

So over and over again, we read about the desire and promise by some to close Guantanamo Bay ("Gitmo")--the prison for terrorists against the U.S. 

What are the reasons given and do they make any sense?

1) It's costly--Yeah, it's costly to house prisoners, especially incredibly dangerous ones like terrorists who commit mass murder like in 9/11, but what is the cost of letting them go free, especially when the known recidivism rate of the released detainees is close to 29%!

2) It inspires other terrorists--Really, since when does imprisoning bad apples inspire other bad apples. Isn't one of the well-recognized and intended purposes of incarceration is to dissuade and deter bad behavior, as well as to rehabilitate. Even according to those who question the effectivenss of the deterrent capability of prison, studies show that it should be used to "incapacitate offendors (particularly, those of a chronic, higer risk nature)." In other words, we need to take and keep the terrorists off the battlefield!

Can an argument be made to bring the terrorists into prisons on American soil? Sure, but it makes a lot more common sense not to bring terrorists into the American heartland and risk further violence and danger to our citizens from known terrorists and their jihadist associates. 

Additionally, after 9/11 and the loss of almost 3,000 people, our brave U.S. serviceman and women spent a lot of time and hard work and risked their own lives to capture these dangerous terrorists...why would we want to release the terrorists endangering our military and our citizens all over again (especially when the threat has not abated--see below)?

Has the threat of terrorism gone away that we can say the war on terror is over and so let's send the terrorists home (the question itself almost sounds ludicrous for anyone living in the age of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, and more)?  Well, according to the RAND research experts, "there has been an INCREASE in the number of Salafi-Jihadist groups, fighters, and attacks." 

And after the recent attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, the downing of the Russia airliner, and many other terror strikes, it is no surpurse that "Americans name terrorism as the No. 1 U.S. problem."

Perhaps, this helps us understand why Congress is blocking the closing of Gitmo, and why none of us should be able to understand why violent, dangerous terrorist detainees are continuing to be released to hurt U.S. citizens again.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to JBrazito)
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October 31, 2015

Is He A Man Or A Mouse?

Often at home, we'd look at what's going on in the world, the sad state of affairs, when people act bad, and the lack of leadership, and my dad would say, "When there's no man, you be the man."

He was right!!!

These days, the question has morphed into, "Is he a man or a mouse?"

We are so chasing our tails out there.

Today after 4 1/2 years of civil war in Syria--hundreds of thousands dead, 14 million displaced, chemical weapons and barrel bombs dropped on civilians, crossed red lines and empty vows of "No boots on the ground"--and now we sending up to 50 special forces as a token force to "advise and assist" in Syria after the recent $500 million military training program for "4 or 5" moderate rebels in Iraq was a total bust!

Of course, we're going to Syria not to actually engage the enemy, but more to dare Russia whose deployed there with planes, tanks, ships, artillery, and Spetsnaz special forces to hit us. 

Similarly, after Russia's incursion into Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, we conduct a training exercise with 3,000 troops in the Baltics and put together a NATO rapid reaction force in Europe and call it day, as if that will deter the "Great Bear."

Oh, and don't forget that we sent a single battle ship within 12 nautical miles of the South China Sea artificial islands--again, daring them to try something. 

Well what if one of these days Russia or China actually took up the dare?

Already this week, Russia flew two fighter jets within a mile of the Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier--endangering the 6,000 personnel and all those valuable Navy assets. What did we do? We had 4 fighters escort them away--after what couldn't been a significant attack on our Navy.

If we did that to Russia, what do you think they would've done--our fighters would've been shot down so fast, we wouldn't have known what hit us--like when they did the Blitzkrieg into Ukraine and recently into Syria--we're taken off guard again and again. 

Also recently, Russia maneuvered a military satellite between two of U.S. Intelsat satellites, 50 of which are used by our military for communications and drone missions. Moreover, Russian subs and ships are hovering around major global data cable lines posing a threat to the backbone of the Internet.

How about with Iran--we make a deal easing sanctions on them and releasing hundreds of billions of dollars--and what do they do? Conduct long-range ballistic missile test, convict a Washington Post reporter, arrest a U.S. business executive, and continue to threatens America and Israel

When we are afraid and our enemies are not--when they act with impunity--we are more mouse than man. 

We may get some cheese, but the mouse is dead rodent meat unless it gets with it.

This is not a game of cat and mouse--but the lives of hundreds of millions that hang in the geopolitical balance--and there is no mousey hole to hide in. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2015

Lights, Camera, Inaction

So the lights dim, the camera starts to roll, and what happens...

ACTION!


The show starts...actors spring into action, and the plot takes shape--we have a positive influence and impact on our fellow man and the world we live in. 


But there is a sorry alternative storyline.


Where after the lights and camera...nothing happens.


There is a eery silence and a weird INACTION!


Like the actors are asleep at the wheel, went off to play golf or to comedy night, or perhaps went home to momma, and are cowering, and hiding under their beds.


Is this the unfortunate state of our country today?


The world is our stage. 


As the sole superpower, the United States is the prime actor today.


We have our calling to go do good--to help, to save, and to bring peace and freedom. 


But lo and behold, what happens when we have a policy of inaction?


Where we want peace, but are not willing to do to much of anything for it or perhaps in spite of it. 


So how is our world faring today:


- In Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, and more, millions are dying and injured, while tens of millions are fleeing, displaced, or are in refugee camps, and chemical WMD are in use by Syria and ISIS, while our red lines were drawn and then withdrawn, and we don't know if we are training the opposition or throwing in the towel on the ground.


- ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, etc. are rampant and overrunning the Middle East and North Africa, killing, torturing, raping, destroying, and plummeting, as well as recruiting back in Europe and here in the States, amidst calls for attacks against us and our allies. 


- Russia takes Crimea and is resurgent in Eastern Ukraine and the Arctic, and antagonizing all around Europe with ever encroaching warplanes and warships, and militarizing and modernizing their formidable nuclear arsenal, and we stand up a new NATO rapid reaction force, while we are again surprised by Russia, now in Syria.


- China is expanding into the South China Sea, flexing it's economic and military muscle, and cyber attacking and stealing our vital government and economic information assets with relative impunity, while we trade with our partner and pivot this way and that. 


- North Korea restarts it's nuclear plant, readies for another banned missile launch, sinks South Korean ships, plants deadly landmines on the South's side of the demilitarized zone, and provokes toward a military confrontation, while we lick our wounds from the last broken agreements with them. 


- Iran has stymied the people's freedom movement, executed the opposition and homosexuals, builds toward a deadly nuclear and ballistic missile future, seeks the destruction of America ("The Great Satan") and Israel, is massively funding and arming their terrorist proxies to the tune of billions of dollars, and has gotten a get out of jail free card and sanctions lifting.


So what can we do?


Well in the past, we were a meaningful deterrent to countries and people doing bad things. 


We stood proudly and tall for human rights, freedom, equality, democracy, anti-proliferation, and sustainability.


We didn't have to fight everywhere to make our point--but just knowing that we were willing to stand for righteousness and justice often meant those with evil intentions stepping back and rethinking it.


Occasionally, we did have to put our blood and treasure where our mouths were, and perhaps we often did this too rashly and imprudently (when diplomacy or some saber rattling might have done the trick). 


However, the world cannot afford for us to be war weary or chase empty legacies of peace built on blind hope or a running away from our responsibilities. 


While the world burns, we can't be looking for Nobel Prizes instead of seeking out the fire extinguishers and medical kits to save and to heal. 


As it is so wisely stated: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."


Peace is not born of inaction, but of brave actors willing to do what is necessary to achieve all that is good and all that can be done. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 4, 2014

Stop Sexual Assault

Saw this poster coming off the Metro today in Washington D.C. 

"It's on all of us to stop sexual assault."

It reminded me of this article I read in the DailyMail about this father of a 14-year girl in India that was raped in her home by a medical supply salesman. 

The young girl was raped and impregnated by a 45-year old man who boasted that he was "too well-connected" to ever be prosecuted. 

After some time passed, the father invited the rapist to dinner!

The rapist came. 

The father overcame the rapist, and repeatedly burned the man's genitals with hot thongs.

The rapist died.

This one rapist will certainly not be doing this again. 

While blatant violation of the law and vigilantism is not okay, the poster is right that we need to "stop sexual assault."

Statistics in this country are that 20% of college women are sexually assaulted before they graduate. 

Unacceptable!

Laws protecting women (and men) from sexual assault need to be strengthened, penalties stiffened, and we all need to be on the lookout for inappropriate behavior and speedily report this to law enforcement.

And no one should be above the law and basic morality. 

"It's on us."  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 1, 2013

Biowarfare, A Means To Our End

The Wall Street Journal (1 February 2013) has an interesting book review on "The Soviet Biological Weapons Program."

Although 85 nations, including the Soviet Union, in 1975 signed the "Biological Weapons Convention" (BWC) pledging not to develop, produce, acquire or stockpile bioweapons or toxins for hostile purposes, the Soviet regime was "covertly expanding them."

In the following years, the Soviets "built the most extensive facilities for the weaponization of bacteria and viruses in history" with "tens of thousands of scientists and support personnel and guarded by hundreds of Ministry of Interior troops."

Both civilian and military laboratories were used under the guise of biotechnology, and factories that produce flu vaccines and pesticides for crops could relatively easily be converted to mass-produce deadly bioweapons to use against the West.

Apparently, motivating the Red Army were there own horrible experiences in the early 20th century when disease such as typhus and lice killed millions "mowing down our troops."

"Fighting disease became a priority...and such efforts morphed easily into weapons research."

While the Soviets could not financially keep pace with the U.S. and eventually lost the Cold War, they continued to funnel their military dollars into nuclear and bioweapons, where they could literally get the most bang for the buck!

Often I think that despite the safety we generally feel in this country surrounded on both sides by large expanses of Ocean and the freedoms that protect us within, we are really only a nuclear suitcase or bio epidemic away from great catastrophe and chaos.  

In such an event, would we know who to retaliate against, would we have time, and even if we do, what good does it do us with mass casualties and disruptions?

Make no mistake; being able to retaliate against the perpetrators is critical to bring justice and respite to the nation, to prevent the potential for national annihilation, and to deter other maniacal acts.

However, it is vital as well to protect us from ever getting hit by weapons of mass destruction in the first place and depending on treaties alone cannot be enough.

Rather, excellent intelligence, early warning systems, antimissile defense, stockpiles of antidotes and countermeasures, premier medical facilities, superbly trained first responders, a high state military readiness, and refined continuity plans are all necessary to keep us from a premature and horrible end--and ultimately to preserve the peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pere Ubu)

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June 4, 2011

Armored Skin


(Source Photo: CrunchGear)

Not just for super heroes in comic books anymore, ArmStar has invented a new non-lethal weapon called the BodyGuard.

It was invented by David Brown, a cameraman, editor, and producer, and supposed friend of Kevin Costner.

The idea of the encased ballistic nylon arm glove is that if you are wearing the weapon, you won't drop it or easily be disarmed by your opponent.

According to CrunchGear (31 May 2011), "The BodyGuard is an armored gauntlet with a 500,000-volt stunner protruding from the back of the hand, with room for any number of other weapons of self defense."

Aside from the stun gun, current prototypes come equipped with video camera, laser pointer, and flashlight; and future versions are envisioned to have chemical sensors, GPS, biometric readers, translators, and more.

I would imagine, you could also install things like mace or smoke that can be dispensed into action at the push of a button (with safety).

This is why the BodyGuard is seen not only as a weapon, but also as a weapons platform, with an actuator pressure pad in the palm of the hand controlling the release of the weapons.

The menacing display of voltage between the electrodes on the wrist, the green laser target on one's chest, as well as knowing that you may be videotaped (along with the possibility of other embedded weapons) can make the BodyGuard a useful tool for law enforcement to help prevent and defuse confrontations, deter criminals, and save lives.

The BodyGuard won a Popular Science 2011 Invention Award and according to their magazine "the first demo unit will be released to the Los Angeles sheriff's department later this year."
While I think the non-lethal version is promising for law enforcement, a lethal version for our military seems like a another market and next step in delivering ergonomic and flexible battle gear to our war fighters.

I think there is also potential here for non-weaponized versions, for commercial and personal use--where ever and whenever body protection and quick access to tools and gadgets are needed--construction, manufacturing, even mountain climbing!

Finally, while having this is nice on one arm, I think this could be expanded for modules for both arms, legs, and so forth.

This has a lot of potential and I wish I had one of these when riding the IRT subway late in the evenings in NYC as a kid...it would have been nice to hit the pressure button and watch the volts arc and the bad guys just run the other way.

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November 16, 2010

Who Needs Airport Body Scanners? An Alternative Approach

Not sure if this is serious or a joke, but I received an email for an alternative to body scanners at the airports -- may seem a bit crude, but then again we need to look for an effective security solution that is less invasive.

This particular idea, attributed to Israeli security, is for a booth that rather than take potentially invasive body scans, will safely (but not for you, if you are a terrorist) "detonate any explosive device that you may have on you." Poof!

Advantages: deterrence, speed, privacy, justice, and the objective of safe air transport is achieved.

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