STATE OF FEAR….There’s been a huge decline in foreign tourism since 9/11, and tourism promoter Geoff Freeman says he knows why: “It is the perception around the world that travelers aren’t welcome,” he says. “Travelers around the world feel the US entry experience is among the world’s worst.” Andrew Sullivan comments:
It is by far the biggest change I have experienced in my quarter century living in America….Getting any kind of visa can be a nightmare of bureaucracy; being finger-printed and treated like a criminal is the first actual experience many foreigners have of entering the US, and the process of getting through customs and immigration can be, even in completely incident-free circumstances, frightening. My elderly mother arrived for my wedding and started sobbing in my arms after the rough treatment she had received from airport security….When Bush goes, the country’s reputation will instantly soar (unless he’s succeeded by Giuliani, in which case, we’re headed for pariah status). But unless we get a grip on the police state atmosphere at the legal border, the opinion of mankind with respect to America will only continue to worsen.