A Fine Philosophical Debate

bob schieffer CBS

BOB SCHIEFFER: Finally, it's been two months since the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. But what have we learned about airport security since then?

Well, I learned that the attacks weren't the fault of those people who screen baggage at the airports, or at least that's what the screening company's lobbyist was telling Greta Van Susteren on CNN.

I'm not sure I understood his argument, but it seemed to have something to do with baggage screeners being there to look for guns and not box-cutter knives. Now, I didn't know that. Seemed to surprise Greta, too.

But maybe it helps explain how that guy with seven or eight knives got past the screeners in Chicago just last week.

And this whole issue about whether bags ought to be checked by federal law enforcement officers or rent-a-cops has taught me a lot about the fine points of enlarging the federal government. It's been a fine philosophical debate.

My question is, what's the philosophical answer if someone hijacks another plane while official Washington argues philosophy? Who's to blame?

You can pick them, but here's the bottom line, minus the philosophy: In two months, Washington has been unable to write one line of legislation into law to strengthen airport security.

In the meantime, the airlines keep farming out baggage screening to the lowest bidders.

The low bidders keep making the same blunders. And the airlines keep going broke because people are not sure they're safe.

It makes no sense to me, but maybe I just need another briefing on how holding down the size of government helps the free market function.

That's it for us. See you next week.




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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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