A US reader takes exception to that survey on the unfriendly reception visitors receive at American airports:
It sounds from your article like good old Yank-bashing to this cosmopolitan Yank. Considering the millions of people who are allowed to walk into America with no visa, no passport, no address, no follow-up and no consequences, are we really supposed to get riled about surly bureaucrats?
That question answers itself, doesn't it? If the system can't track illegals, what can be gained from anatagonizing the millions of bona fide business travellers and holidaymakers? Andrew Sullivan has more on this problem. And here's Bryony Gordon in the Telegraph:
I've never expected officials to welcome me with balloons and banners, but I hope this causes them to be a bit nicer – it's never good after a 10-hour flight, and having had to fill out that ridiculous visa waiver form ("Are you a terrorist? A drug smuggler?" "Yes, YES I AM!"), to then have to deal with a smug man dressed as a member of the Village People for half an hour.
BTW, this goes back beyond the Bush era. I had my share of stressful encounters in the 80s and 90s. And I have to say that the French can't be far behind in the unpleasantness stakes. There was a time when I couldn't get through Charles de Gaulle airport without being searched. My fault for looking like an Arab, I suppose.