Monday, February 20, 2006

Racial profiling for terrorists

On The McLaughlin Group yesterday, there was a lot of ridiculous sophistry regarding racial profiling as a valuable and necessary tradeoff between liberty and security.

Bruce Schneier has written many times on this subject. In this piece, there is a perfect quote about what is misguided about the position that racial profiling is not only necessary, but is actually effective, "Whenever you design a security system with two ways through -- an easy way and a hard way -- you invite the attacker to take the easy way. Profile for young Arab males, and you'll get terrorists that are old non-Arab females."

"The enemy could easily get around it by recruiting people who don't look like the profile" -- Eleanor Clift, the only one who gets it.

"We need smart profiling, not racial profiling" -- John McLaughlin, who also gets it, sort of. He was pushing for profiling Muslims, which I don't believe source the only terrorists now, in the past, or in the future. He is right about one thing, religion has been the excuse for all kinds of atrocities all over the world. But it has not been limited to Muslim extremists. There are Christian extremists even in our own country who would love to turn this country into a theocracy.

Best new word: "Muslometer"; a call for venture capitalists to develop a device to gauge whether someone is a Muslim or not.

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