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Why racial profiling is a good idea
The Globe and Mail ^ | Monday, June 3, 2002 | JOHN IBBITSON

Posted on 06/03/2002 2:23:33 AM PDT by bulldog905

No doubt aware of the symmetry, U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft granted expanded powers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week on the same day that symbolic pallbearers carried an empty, flag-draped stretcher out of Ground Zero to mark the official end of the demolition and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site.

The FBI now will be allowed to investigate suspicious individuals and groups by monitoring Web sites and infiltrating public meetings.

Sounds innocuous -- reporters do it every day -- but past FBI abuses of exactly those measures prompted Gerald Ford to ban them a quarter of a century ago. Today, critics worry that the agency will use its new powers to practise racial profiling -- targeting Arab and other Islamic Americans for surveillance simply because of their race and religion.

The problem with this concern is that racial profiling is both necessary and desirable.

The FBI has been charged with preventing acts of terrorism in the United States. It is vastly harder to prevent a crime than to investigate it. (Imagine if the FBI had been ordered to prevent bank robberies and kidnappings.) But no one can deny that frustrating terrorist plots must be the highest priority of law enforcement.

In that context, racial profiling is a valuable tool of law enforcement. A middle-aged European woman who persisted in taking flying lessons despite her obvious incompetence would probably not have excited police suspicions. But Zacarias Moussaoui was dark of skin and strange of name, and so they hauled him in on a technicality. Had they not, Sept. 11 might have been even worse. Had they been even more aggressive in their investigation, well, who knows?

All cultures have characteristics, and some of them are ugly. Healthy cultures examine their flaws, worry them, try to pry them out like slivers from beneath the skin.

Germans have spent more than 50 years agonizing over what it was within them that permitted the Holocaust to happen, and how it can be kept from happening again. Russians have spent the past decade asking why they repeatedly succumb to dictators, and how they can keep from succumbing again.

European North Americans have excoriated themselves for the evils committed against Japanese North Americans during the Second World War, against blacks since the days of the first slave boats, against native Americans since the days of the first white settlers. They have apologized and offered redress, and continue to debate whether they have done enough.

Many Arabs and Muslims also question those tenets of their culture and religion that contribute to the suppression of women, of civil liberties, of peaceful co-existence with other cultures and religions. But many others do not, which is why so many of the world's trouble spots lie at the borders between Islam and other cultures, and why the most extreme elements of Islam pose a clear and present danger to other civilizations.

Let's remember: Two towers in Manhattan were destroyed. The headquarters of America's Defence Department was seriously damaged. Thousands died. The terrorists behind those attacks said they acted in the name of Islam. Given the means and opportunity, they will carry out further atrocities. There is no limit to their barbarity: They would attack with nuclear weapons if they could.

We should never cease to question, monitor and debate the activities of our security establishment. But we should also let them get on with the job.

If part of that job means scrutinizing a young Middle Eastern male with strange travel patterns more closely than a middle-aged Danish woman who has been to the same countries, then so be it. (Such racial profiling is banned at U.S. airports, a concession to political correctness that should be revisited.) If it means keeping an eye on religious and cultural leaders who excuse -- or condone and support -- acts of terror against the United States (or Canada), then so be it as well.

Extremism in defence of public safety is no vice.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs
A sound, common-sense article.

One does not use a "one size fits all approach" to crime prevention, illness prevention, etc.

Of course the PC types will be horrified, but we can live with that, can't we?

1 posted on 06/03/2002 2:23:33 AM PDT by bulldog905
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To: bulldog905
What's being proposed here insn't really racial profiling, which originally meant traffic stops for "driving while black" and the like (I won't get into the merits of that argument right now).

Muslims are not a race, neither are Arabs really. Calling it racial profiling muddies the issue. Any policeman's hunch that someone is "suspicious" is a form of profiling, racial or otherwise.

2 posted on 06/03/2002 3:53:20 AM PDT by Salman
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To: bulldog905
The FBI now will be allowed to investigate suspicious individuals and groups by monitoring Web sites and infiltrating public meetings.

How many suspicious individuals and groups are there?

Here's a happy thought from Middle East expert Daniel Pipes:

Islamists constitute a small but significant minority of Muslims, perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of the population. Many of them are peaceable in apearance, but they all must be considered potential killers.

How does 400,000 to 800,000 -- in our country -- potential killers sound?

Pipes article here...

Muslim population in America

America's Fifth Column ... watch PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)

3 posted on 06/03/2002 3:58:33 AM PDT by JCG
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To: bulldog905
... racial profiling is both necessary and desirable.

The vast majority of Americans intuitively know this, feeling that it is common sense, but it still amazes me how many news reporters are increduous at the thought of racial profiling.

4 posted on 06/03/2002 4:23:20 AM PDT by JoeGar
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To: JoeGar
What they are *really* saying here, is that "Criminal Profiling" is necessary; (duh) unfortunately this may require noting someone's race as just part of the process. That's just too terrible to even contemplate amongst some people, apparently
5 posted on 06/03/2002 5:04:39 AM PDT by Freedom4US
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To: bulldog905
To ensure we Americans never offend anyone - particularly fanatics intent on killing us - airport screeners will not be allowed to profile people. They will continue random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, Secret service agents who are members of the President's security detail and  85-year old Congressmen with metal hips.
Let's pause a moment and take the 
following test.
In 1972, at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Israeli 
athletes were taken hostage and killed by:
(a) Scottish Highlanders
(b) Sonny and Cher
(c) The Viet Cong
(d) Muslim males mostly between the ages of 
     17 and 40.
In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over 
(a) Norwegians from Ballard;
(b) Elvis;
(c) A tour bus full of 80-year-old women; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
      ages of 17 and 40.
In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was 
blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy;
(b) Crazed feminists complaining that being able to
      throw a grenade beyond  its own burst radius 
      was an unfair and sexist requirement in basic 
(c) Gerald Rivera making up for a slow news day
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
      ages of 17 and 40.
In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed
(a) Luca Brazzi, for not being given a part in 
      "Godfather 2;"
(b) The Tooth Fairy;
(c) Butch and Sundance who had a few sticks of 
      dynamite left over from the train mission, or,
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
      ages of 17 and 40. 
In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and 
Tanzania were bombed by:
(a) Mr. Rogers;
(b) Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill's 
      women problems;
(c) The World Wrestling Federation to promote its 
       next villain: "Mustapha the Merciless;" or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
      ages of 17 and 40.
On October 12 of 2000, the USS Cole was blown 
up by a small boat carrying explosives by:
(a) 2 US Postal Workers who were disgusted with 
     the mail service on US warships;
(b) 2 Fed Ex employees trying to deliver a fresh 
      load of ammunition;
(c) 2 UPS workers who were tired of wearing their 
     brown uniforms while sweating it out driving 
    their big brown trucks and decided to make a 
    statement about "how hot it could get";
(d) 2 Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
     ages of 17 and 40.
On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked and 
destroyed thousands of innocent lives by:
(a) Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, 
      and Elmer Fudd.
(b) The Supreme Court of Florida trying to outdo
       their attempted hijacking of the 2000 
     Presidential election;
(c) Mr. Bean,
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the 
      ages of 17 and 40.
 Hmmm.... nope, no patterns anywhere.

6 posted on 06/03/2002 5:28:02 AM PDT by Enemy Of The State
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