Staff Editorial: Governments ease travel restrictions but miss the bigger picture

Bush’s plan to open sky lanes: C

To anyone who has flown a significant amount in the past year the problem been all too obvious: flying is more a hassle now than ever. Flight delays aren’t merely an inconvenience anymore – they’re the standard.

With Thanksgiving weekend quickly approaching, President George W. Bush has chosen to open a number of air corridors usually reserved for military use to civilian traffic.

The offshore lanes, which span from Florida to New York, are aimed at reducing backlogs at New York City-area airports, which are responsible for 75 percent of the nation’s air congestion.

While the problem will likely provide a quick fix, it fails to address the greater issue. The roots of the problems lie within the airline industry and infrastructure itself.

Air traffic controller representatives have noted that a lack of traffic controllers on duty will create far greater problems than short-term solutions such as Bush’s can address.

Airline industry performance is at the lowest since 1995. While the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill awaiting the Senate may provide some long-term relief, we must hope that the president and Congress have the foresight to make sure the industry receives what it needs, when it needs to ease the delays.

Bhutto’s house arrest lifted: D

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was released from house arrest Thursday, which had been imposed by Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf. While this is a welcome move, it does little to relieve the ongoing crisis in Pakistan created by Musharraf himself.

Musharraf suspended the constitution and clamped down on the nation’s judiciary and broadcast media in an alleged effort to combat Islamic extremism, despite the fact that since then pro-Taliban militants have overtaken multiple police outposts and villages in the nation’s northwestern territory, beheading captured soldiers and broadcasting their message freely over FM radio.

Jailing the opposition and restricting cable television, though, does nothing to stymie political extremism, and is only likely to exacerbate the situation. Things might be looking up now that Bhutto is free, but Pakistan still has a long way to go before any sense of normalcy and safety returns to its citizenry.

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