Counterpoint: Hand over your toothpaste

American military intelligence is an oxymoron. Like 'homeland security' it is farcical and unreliable

airport security 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
airport security 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
I was standing in the security line at the airport in Atlanta. I removed my shoes and my belt, emptied the change from my pockets, discarded my water bottle and placed my tote bag on the belt that would carry it through the X-ray machine. Suddenly, I was pulled aside. "Sir, do you know that you are not allowed to carry on board more than a 3.2 ounce tube of toothpaste?" Asked to explain my blatant breach of security, I sheepishly responded that I had brushed my teeth a number of times with the toothpaste, and surely there must now be less than 3.2 ounces. At that very moment, the assistant head of security for the airport walked by and inquired what the problem was. I protested that my toothpaste was being confiscated. He explained that the Transportation Security Administration bans passengers from taking aboard such a potentially deadly quantity of toothpaste. I muttered under my breath that we do not put people through such nonsense in Israel. Overhearing me, he became curious about how Israel's airports were secured; and ushered me into a private room for a discussion on airport security, as if I were an expert on such matters. I asked him if anyone checks cars as they enter the airport. He was surprised that this was routine procedure in Israel and remarked what a brilliant idea it was. I then asked if there were plainclothesmen watching every door that leads into the terminals. I asked if the desk clerk thoroughly checks a traveler's passport to see the countries visited. I asked my interrogator how many people he estimated were waiting in the security line. He ventured about 250. I pointed to a nervous-looking character who was about to place a heavy-looking bag on the security belt. I asked the TSA executive if it were possible the man could be concealing 20 pounds of explosives in the bag; he replied that it was entirely possible. When I asked him to approximate how many people might be killed if the man set off those explosives, he said virtually everyone standing in line; to which I exclaimed: "Aha - but, you have my Colgate!" THE ASSOCIATED PRESS recently ran an article that airport security in America had not even marginally improved since 9/11. Given my experience, it is obvious why. But there is a deeper and more serious concern - the belief in the US intelligence community's ability to assess real threats around the world, which leads me to the US National Intelligence Estimate report which said that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Who could possibly believe the NIE after the total fiasco of its intelligence analysis about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction? Or, more to the point, after the same NIE authoritatively stated in 2005 that Iran was an imminent nuclear threat? Under obvious political pressure from the Bush administration, US National Intelligence director Michael McConnell is now equivocating on the NIE findings on Iran, which further undermines its credibility. If one really wants to know what some Arab nations are plotting, don't rely on American intelligence agencies, but on those Arab and Muslim leaders who boldly state what weapons their countries possess, do not possess or wish to possess, what they are capable of or will be capable of doing. So - screw American intelligence. Let's listen to these Arabs nations. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, Saddam Hussein said he would fire Scud missiles at Israel if America attacked his country. I still have my gas mask as a reminder of the days our family sat in our sealed room as Saddam fulfilled his pledge. He later insisted he had no weapons of mass destruction. America refused to believe him, and the result is the disastrous war in Iraq that has not turned up the slightest trace of WMDs. One need not be a rocket scientist to know Saddam was telling the truth. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, and, in the Gulf War, George Bush Sr. wiped out any possibility of Saddam jump-starting his nuclear program. If Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces he plans to destroy Israel, should he not be taken at his word? Common sense dictates that the only way Iran could turn Israel into a heap of ashes is by developing nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad has dropped sufficient hints that he would be willing to sacrifice millions of Iranians in a nuclear conflagration with Israel. Indeed, Iran has proven its intentions of striking Israel by arming its surrogate, Hizbullah, whose Katyusha rockets turned our lives into a living hell during the Second Lebanon War - exactly as Ahmadinejad promised. The NIE assessment on Iran is not worth the paper it is written on. Given the US government's homeland security directives that warn the American people that flying with more than 3.2 ounces of Colgate, Crest or Aquafresh in a carry-on bag is a threat to American security, it should be abundantly clear that American military intelligence is an oxymoron. More frightening than farcical, it is completely unreliable. On the other hand, Arab and Muslim declarations of hostile intentions, especially toward us, have proven absolutely reliable. Consequently, if we Israelis want an accurate assessment of what lies in store for us, we damn well better pay attention to Ahmadinejad's almost daily admonitions. He, not the NIE, knows best; and, he is telling us that soon Iran will have nuclear weapons. Let's hope that our government has a plan of action before they are deployed against us.