- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001

While most of us were spared the violence of Sept. 11, few have been spared the aftermath. Monumental traffic jams. Soldiers in uniform stopping cars and asking for identification. Who among us thought we'd live to see a day when there would be a "combat air patrol" flying over the District? The need for some of these things may soon pass. Some of the new measures should go, and some shouldn't.
Our day-to-day lives have changed, and some of the changes will be with us for a long time to come. We cannot tolerate any dimunition of our personal liberties, but we will have to accept some significant inconveniences. Don't look for a resumption of the casual American approach to air travel. We're used to arriving 10 minutes before takeoff, running through security and jumping on the plane just in time to complain that we're allowed only two large carry-ons, and why the devil can't we turn on our computer yet? Forget it. From now on, careful searches, time-consuming waits, and seemingly pointless questions about our travel will have to be the norm. The Israeli airline, El Al, has operated for many years without a hijacking because of just such procedures. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration needs to make sure all U.S. airlines follow similar procedures.
Many places where serious security wasn't invoked will have to make it so. Sports stadiums will have to protect people against bombs, as well as chemical and biological weapons. Police, firefighters and paramedics will have to have new training to deal with terrorists and their acts. Rescue personnel will also have to have more training and equipment to detect and deal with the aftermath of attacks with chemical and biological weapons. We owe it to them to give them the training and the tools they need to do this job.
After all, there will have to be a lot of good judgment on our part, and on the part of those who are responsible to protect us. America is not a collection of little forts, each sealed off from the world outside. There will be occasions to raise our voices against the excesses of security planners. If they go too far, we'll let them know in no uncertain terms.
Nevertheless, there should be a national ban on whining about these things. Our parents and grandparents put up with a whole lot more during World War II. It's good to remember what they endured with pride the food and gas rationing, the shortages of clothing, the national drives to raise money for the war effort. We're a long way, thankfully, from those privations. Without some good-natured grousing, we wouldn't be who we are. But no whining, please.

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