Friday, April 9, 2010

On Second Thought, I Plead Diplomatic Immunity

I was mildly critical of the press and of the government concerning the Qatar smoker.  The NYT already has a piece considering whether it was an over-reaction or not.  I think we can parse things out a bit--that the air marshal(s) acted appropriately.  Was it necessary to alert all planes at the time?  Perhaps as ignorance on 9/11 did very much cost lives.  Was it necessary to scramble a couple of fighters?  Again, the marginal cost is probably low, given how much money we are spending on defense, but the absolute cost must have been significant.  More importantly, for a situation such as this where no hijacking threat seems imminent, it is not clear what the fighters could do. 

And the press probably could have waited a bit or at least moderated their headlines so that they were not so alarmist.  

One thing is clear--the Qatari diplomat was an idiot--to compound his smoking with a bad joke.  He showed incredibly poor judgment, which is supposed to be the primary skill of a diplomat.

One last note--Ian Lustick was quoted in the piece briefly, and he seemed not to be very critical.  I wonder if there was a lot of his interview left out, as he has been very critical of the War on Terrorism

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