Friday, May 05, 2006

It's a Wally, Wally World

Why is this happening?
It was another day of business as usual in the House today, as the GOP killed another common sense homeland security reform. This time, they refused to adopt an amendment that would have required every U.S.-bound shipping container to be scanned for radiological weapons at its port of origin. For the party that's running on (and clinging to) security issues as its heart and soul, the Republicans have shown a surprising unwillingness to make security more than a slogan.


Wal-Mart and other mega-importers, under the umbrella of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, have been lobbying fiercely against 100-percent scanning. The industry alleges that scanning every container would slow down commerce and harm their profits. If that sounds achingly familiar, it's because that's the same objection raised by industry groups when Congress decided, after 9/11, that every airline passenger and every piece of luggage needed to be scanned. Lobbyists foretold clogged airports, massive delays, and the death of the airline industry. But, as so often happens, common sense trumped corporate paranoia. Our flights depart on-schedule, and every bag is scanned.
Just scan the damn containers! It’s an obvious point of entry and one that can be managed. It will take a minimum of expense and effort but still takes a solid precautionary security step that doesn’t involve trampling all over our constitutional rights. We have enough other, more complicated security isses to deal with without having to argue over what should be a no-brainer. What is wrong with these people? Is there nothing money can't buy in Washington?

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