Tuesday, February 21, 2006

America Needs to Start Profiling and Stop Being So Damned PC

When it comes to securing our nation's borders and ports of entry, America will never be truly safe until we start following the lead of the Israelis and use racial profiling. Up until now we as a government have been much more concerned with appearances and with being politically correct. That was never more abundantly clear than Tuesday evening on MSNBC's "Hardball" with Chris Matthews.

In a discussion of the raging controversy in Washington over the Busheviks' decision to approve the sale of six major U.S. port operations to a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates, Matthews' guests were Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D). All three blasted the decision on the grounds that no foreign government should be allowed to own and operate our ports. Despite repeated goading from Matthews as to whether they'd have a problem with an Arab company controlling the ports, all said they'd be ok with that provide certain precautionary measures and safeguards were met. Not one of them would admit to it being an Arab issue per se. And herein lies the simple truth about America's homeland security effort. It's based on bullshit.

Each of the politicians Matthews interviewed knows deep down exactly what this problem is, but they're too afraid to speak the truth for fear of being branded a racist and perhaps losing a few votes from their Arab constituents. Yet it's utterly contradicting and hypocritical to lash out at Bush for allowing an Arab country to own the ports but then say it'd be just dandy for an Arab company to do so. In fact, I would think we're actually quite safer having a legitimate government watch over the ports than a company controlled, financed and/or influenced by god-knows-who in the Middle East. But that's besides the point.

It wasn't until Matthews brought on outspoken Philadelphia radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, a moderate Republican, that someone finally spoke the truth:

"You've been waiting so far into the program for someone to say we should not empower Arabs to control our ports. Well, I'm your man. We shouldn't do that," he told Matthews. "We're talking about a government here that would recognize the Taliban but wouldn't recognize Israel. Period. End of story."

Not only has the UAE backed Afghanistan's repressive Taliban regime, it's funded Hamas, is known as a pit stop for drug traffickers on the way to the West, and it was home to two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. A model for U.S. port security? Hardly.

Matthews: "So you're making this an ethnic issue? You're making this an ethnic thing?"

Smerconish: "Chris, it is an ethic thing. For goodness sakes, go back and look at the mugshots of those nineteen guys. Why do we have to be embarrassed to say we're at war with radical Islam, and there are common denominators--race, gender, religion, ethnicity--and guess what, they are the last people we're gonna put in charge of our ports."

Give the guy credit for speaking what is the obvious. And the U.S. government should start listening and learning how to truly defend itself. The Israelis don't care how they look. Israel doesn't care about who it offends. It is at war, and it has identified its enemy, and the country will do whatever it takes to keep its citizens and its borders safe and secure. And it is not wasteful or gratuitous in its defense of its people.

"Let's stop spending all this time with the blue-haired old lady with the aluminum walker when she's going through the airport," Smerconish continued. "We know who the enemy is. Let's acknowledge it."

When challenged by Matthews over whether profiling therefore eliminated the chances of any Arab entity from doing business in the U.S., Smerconish said "I've eliminated any chance for an Arab to control American ports in the aftermath of September 11. Don't trust Arabs...to protect what are the doorways to our country. Now I'm sorry if that sounds alarming to some, but this administration has avoided this subject since 9/11. They should be profiling at airports, that means we all get scrutiny, some more than others, and it also means we close the porous borders, and it also means we don't entrust control of our ports to people who potentially are our enemy."

I'm sorry, but this guy is dead on. It's time our politicians start speaking the truth as well.


Anonymous said...

Great post. I just read an article in the UK's Financial Times stating that those Americans against this deal are more or less racist and are misinformed about how ports are run. I consider myself a moderate liberal and am also an African American who is well aware of racism. The FT can go fuck themselves. I wonder how many Brits would shrug off their security concerns if Northern Ireland were given subway duty during the 1970s. What this paper seems to miss is something that is very rare indeed: Bill Frist AND Barbara Boxer AGREE on something! Therefore their 2 cents are not important. This deal ain't happening, insult or not.

Cranky Daze said...

Well, here's a thought. If you were to board an airplane leaving, say, Boston, headed for Los Angeles, and happened to notice four or five youngish men of obvious middle-eastern background, or dedcent, scattered around in the seats, and if you suddenly decided maybe you didn't really need to go to L.A. all that badly, and if you further got up from your seat and left the airplane, would you be guilty of racism? Or would you just be having a flashback to burning towers, people leaping from windows 90 stories above the ground, buildings collapsing and a killer cloud of smoke, dirt and debris chasing panic-stricken people through the streets of New York City?

I say it isn't racism, it's simply the recognition that there are people in Arab countries who very actively want us dead, and our preference for staying alive.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Hopefully this deal will bring to light the fact that profiling is necessary. Our police need to profile to ensure the safety of public areas like the subway; our TSA's need to profile to keep our airways safer instead of frisking elderly white women in wheelchairs.

It is a shame when a single group has so many representatives in terrorism and the rest of the group has no outrage with their actions. Instead they reserve their outrage for stupid cartoons.

Even liberals are beginning to see it is time to start profiling.

Anonymous said...

I think profiling in general sucks. No... I hate the fact we need to profile, but it really is necessary to do.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that several in our government who approved this arrangment for our ports have financial ties to the United Arab Emirates. It's an echo of Cheney-Haliburton-Iraq, and Bush helping out his rich friends. Let's start profiling rich, greedy, arrogant, self-serving, treasonous, white Republican men.

Anonymous said...

As a person who has dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, but is 100% american born and not of middle-eastern descent - I know what it is like to be "profiled". Recently, I was traveling to New York with a group of co-workers. Out of the 13-14 of us, my bags were the only ones searched and I was separated from the group and put through security with a small group of other passengers. This occurred at both airports, to and from. While I appreciated the dilligence of TSA, I didn't appreciate being deemed "suspicious" (my word) based on my hair and eye color. I have friends, one who is a government employee, who have been taken off flights because of this same reason. Profiling is important, but, please ask more questions about where we were born or something! Meanwhile, I still get stared at and sometimes not helped in stores because the clerk thinks I'm hispanic and non-english speaking! I am not! I'm of English and German descent. Profiling with common sense, PLEASE!

All_I_Can_Stands said...

"Profiling is important, but, please ask more questions about where we were born or something!"

I'm sure a terrorist will answer truthfully to that one.

As for profiling being important; it certainly is. However, due to outcry from liberals, our public policy is not to profile. If they were indeed checking you based on what you claim, these agents were breaking policy.

A TSA agaents needs all of the tools at their disposal: clear cut rules, profiling based on both behavior and physical characteristics, and the ability to simply go on 'gut instinct' without said instinct to be accused of being bigotry based.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this article. This is a multi-layered problem. It is evident that Bush needs to carry a big stick instead of holding hands with arab countries. Since we all know that won't happen, (too much money to be lost for the Bush Crime Family and Carlyle Group), the congress needs to get tough and say "no" more.

TSA workers most likely don't have Phd's in criminal justice or psychology. Profiling is one way to help with security at this time.
Gut instinct can be faulty and clear cut rules will help but not eliminate security threats. Criminals can fool even the most trained. Those who act with religious zeal are quite unstoppable. Think the crusades, 9/11, the mormons' Mountain Meadow Massacre, Jim Jones and his kool-aid, and David Koresh.