The FAA Crackdown on Sanity

Coming off the downing of a commercial aircraft over Ukraine last week, the world had had enough. It was clear in verbal condemnations and social media hashtag campaigns that never again would civilians be allowed in harm’s way.

So, like the small-time burglar caught in the wake of the Great Train Robbery, like the bread thief nabbed on Wall Street, when a primitive rocket landed a mile outside Ben Gurion airport, the West pounced.

Hey, West! Responses to crises must be proportional!

If an armed man were found a mile away from the White House, would the conversation in the Situation Room go like this: Evacuate the president! Remove all women and children!

Close Washington, D.C., airspace!?

Why not shut JFK airport right here in New York City? Ever see what agents find on passengers? Thirteen years after they were banned, the TSA still finds knives, loaded guns, grenades — even water bottles.

When the State Department on Monday issued an advisory for non-essential government employees to avoid travel to Israel, I considered it a typical bureaucratic overreaction, but prudent. But when the FAA got into the action, I joined the conspiracy theorists.

Is Obama using the supposedly apolitical FAA to pressure Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to a cease-fire? Well, Secretary of State John Kerry, perhaps the most unloved person in the Middle East, was on the verge of making a surprise visit to Israel.

We already learned how neutral so-called independent agencies such as the IRS and the Census Bureau are. The former aggressively went after pro-Israel groups.

Welcome to the club, FAA.

Defenders of the policy have been saying that the decision to place Israel in an economic chokehold at the height of the tourism season was rational, based on a hard look at the facts. A rocket landed a mile away from Ben Gurion airport, how can it be safe?

But chokeholds are illegal. Ask the NYPD.

We expect the folks who get paid to think beyond superficialities to be smarter than that. We assume that aviation professionals would take a hard look at Israel’s security procedures before shooting from the hip. (After all, these are the bright lights who invented the TSA.) We would imagine that the FAA would read some of the hundreds of articles detailing the technology known as the Iron Dome before shutting down an entire country’s airspace for 36 hours.

The gurus at the FAA, and their equally dense counterparts over in Ye Olde Europe, should have heard of flares, which are designed to protect planes from missiles. Malaysia, obviously, is late to the game. Tel Aviv, b’ezras Hashem, is not.

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, many analysts, including a Wall Street Journal editorial, suggested the United States copy Israel’s security measures. That’s not good enough for the FAA?

Hamas seemed to enjoy the temporary gift from the president. It was probably worth more to them than the $47 million in humanitarian aid he sent. It was even worth more than the few dozen rockets the U.N. handed over to Hamas — the “ruling authorities,” they called them — when they were “discovered” in a U.N. school. (To be fair, the students, an explosive bunch, were just playing house.)

“The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance,” said Hamas spokesterrorist Sami Abu Zuhri.

Agreed. This is the terrorist equivalent of the fall of the Alamo.

Another theory: The FAA made its decision without input from the administration. Secure in his new bunker of late-night, star-studded dinners, hours spent discussing the arts and ancient history with scientists, comedy-show appearances and fundraisers, President Obama had nothing to say about this staggering surrender to terror.

Those white flags found hanging on the Brooklyn Bridge may well have been meant for the White House.

There’s no steady hand at the wheel. The War on Terror awaits its Patton.