A Welcome Inspection by the TSA

Recently, the TSA inspected the suitcase I checked with the airline.  The funny thing is, I wasn’t the least bit unhappy about it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a bag inspected.  It won’t be the last.  I’ve done a lot of travel in my time, including nearly a decade as an international consultant, traveling 3-4 weeks a month.  I’ve had security officials inspect my bag at the security checkpoint, at Customs, even at the entrance to the jetway.  Once, years ago, a TSA official inspected my suitcase so carefully that she unwrapped all three of the cough drops I had in my toiletries case.  (She attempted to rewrap them and put them back in the case, but I decided to let them go.)

The recent inspection was the best one I’ve ever had.  As soon as I got to the hotel, I could tell that the bag had been opened.  I always zip my bag from bottom-to-top, so that I can stuff in the last minute items.  So the first thing I noticed that the bag had been zipped from top-to-bottom.

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Is Syria Becoming a Quagmire?

Quagmire Sept 2013

Is the trouble in Syria becoming a quagmire?  I fear that it is, creating an intractable mess for the US, and for the portions of the international community who choose to engage in a fight.

At heart, I am a pacifist and want us all to choose life and beauty and freedom.  But in looking at the pictures and video from Syria, I know that these actions are uncivilized… abominable.  This is not the first time we have been confronted with atrocities.  But we – all of humanity – must firmly say, “this cannot be tolerated.”  And then we have to find a way to protect the innocent while we pursue the guilty.  Foreign relations is a tricky business.  There’s no doubt we have to tread cautiously, but we cannot turn away.

In the US, we know – and often resent – that we are the world’s policemen.  But we are less alone than we think.  Continue reading