LETTER: Why we won't win the War on Terror

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By The Staff

This is in response to [article about] Patricia Anderson on Oct. 24:

Ms. Patricia Anderson’s story is proof we will never win the so-called War on Terror because we are often steered from our instincts, refused access to relevant information, and mired in bureaucratic procedure — all of which leaves us vulnerable.

Ms. Anderson is 85 years old and wheelchair-bound. She makes the same one-way trip by airplane every year after her daughter drives her from Washington here, to Las Vegas. Every time she makes this trip she is subjected to the same humiliating searches, forced to stand and be searched by airport security.  

Ms. Anderson feels that her treatment while traveling has been “a little bit to the extreme” but apologizes for her complaints by emphasizing that she is “not unpatriotic.” She isn’t even someone who has “participated in demonstrations.” Would this, in most people’s minds, be a reason to show up on a Terrorist Watch List, anyway?

If she has questioned airport employees and they have been unable to provide her with an answer, have they been given the proper tools to actually prevent a dangerous situation or individual?

The spokesperson for the TSA said she may have a “similar name” to another person of interest, that is, a suspicious person. We provide Social Security numbers and other forms of identification when we travel, so why hasn’t this confusion been cleared up easily? And if the policy is to keep passengers from being in an “uncomfortable position,” as the spokesperson from the TSA claims, why aren’t airport employees aware of that policy? And why when flying from Hartford, Conn., have I seen another elderly woman in a wheelchair forced to stand and be searched, the metal detector wand tracing her as if she had a bomb hidden somewhere in her sweatpants?  

More common sense, more accurate and accessible information and less pointless bureaucracy is necessary if we want to truly prevent terror on the airlines.  

Corrine Sieser