Nitroglycerin would be dangerous to carry around, but I don't think the jihadists are that concerned about their personal safety. What if they managed to get something in the Astrolite family? There are commercial binary liquid explosives that would easily create a large enough explosion to cause a problem. That fact is that unless they can verify every liquid and gel coming onto an airplane, there's an hole in the security process that allows the bad guys to blow up planes. As Jayne said in Serenity, "I don't wanna explode!"

So here's what I think has happened. Perhaps the press got it wrong and it wasn't TATP the London bombers were planning on using. There's plenty of security reasons for the government not to broadcast what combination they might have used. Or maybe that group of jihadists were idiots, and their actions only illustrated a huge security hole. Bush and Blair probably asked the question of whether there are any other liquid explosives that could make it through the security screening process and the answer was yes. Since they can't screen for it, and they can't swab everything, the only prudent course was to ban all liquids and gels. I don't know, I don't have the information.

I agree that this was done for the fall elections, but not for the reasons the people opposed to the ban are convinced has happened. It's not that the government is just making a show to stir people up about terror. Face it, the flying public isn't that much of a voting block. There are plenty of ways the government could make a show to scare people about terrorism.

The reason is quite the opposite -- as Bush well knows, if there is a sucessful terrorist attack between now and November the Republicans are sunk. Whether or not the government is overreacting, the simple political reality is that if a bunch of airplanes blow up it will have an effect on the elections. I can guarantee that in that event the left winger complaining about the liquids ban wouldn't be telling us how we should be willing to accept a little risk. It would be "Bush knew about the threat and did nothing!"

I'm not someone that thinks flying should be risk free. Walking has risks, driving has risks, even staying on the couch has risks. But unless you think the entire terrorist threat has been made up, you've got to agree that leaving a giant security hole for the bad guys to use is just plain foolish. Why not just get rid of the security checkpoints entirely? Luckily, the adults are in charge and they're taking the only prudent course given what they've got to work with.