Apparently, Turkey and Israel are using intensive security searches as a way to exert diplomatic pressure on the other. I’m not sure specifically what dispute is in question; Turkey and Israel have been, if not exactly the best of friends, at least benevolently neutral towards one another for years.
Draconian measures in security, for any country, are a matter of diminishing returns. Let’s say that 99.9% of passengers on airlines are simply interested in travel and not terrorism. It’s probably higher than that, but we’ll use that for the sake of argument. Now, that .1% is very bad news. They’d be satisfied with nothing less than complete anarchy all around the globe, Hobbes’s war of all against all writ global. I think this is the secret goal of all terrorism. See, any government that sponsors terrorism, either knowingly or unknowingly, undermines legitimate authority as an international institution. Caving into their demands gradually increases instability around the world. Even if a particular group “only” wants a change in leadership, that new leadership must either use terrorism to further its goals or risk being brought down in succession.
So ultimately, we’re focusing our efforts on capturing that .1%, regardless of motives. The average person is stupid, not a criminal mastermind. Metal detectors will take care of the vast majority of them, maybe 90% of the .1%. So, we’re left with .01% of the traveling populace with bad intentions that can get through security. The millions of dollars wasted, maybe even billions, on ridiculous security measures are to catch the .01%. It’s not cost-effective, and it may not even work. After all, as a five year old kid, I paid $5 for dinosaur insurance. And you know what? I’ve never been attacked by a dinosaur. Not even once. Does that mean I made a good investment?
I’m by no means suggesting that we should let the .01% go nuts, blow up as much as they want, etc. I have two suggestions that would help catch them, very cheaply.
1) Metal detectors for checked luggage. Print on every ticket that checked luggage is subject to search if it sets off the detector.
2) Background checks. After you’ve cut ticket prices since all the stupid body scanners are gone, add a $5 surcharge to every ticket. This charge would set up (ideally) an international center for conducting simple background checks on every passenger. You can conduct them in seconds and do them entirely behind the scenes. Link to the FBI, Interpol, whatever other databases you can. Check for aliases too.
Terrorists will still get through. You know and I know it. Committed, smart individuals can do almost anything and fool almost any security measure, and like it or not, some of them are terrorists. The best defense is the recognition that terrorism is international, not national, and that only by working together can we stop it.