Friday, August 25, 2006

Stop this unjust war on bottled liquids

If someone were to steal my identity in order to extract my modest riches, towards whom would I direct my most vigorous indignation? The merchants who would no longer accept my maxed-out credit cards? The bank that would penalize my overdrawn account? My wife who would seek more prosperous companionship? The answer is none of the above, and I’m reasonably certain that my wife would stick it out with me through insolvency. Obviously, the target of my scorn would be the cad who stole my money and besmirched my good name.

Likewise, if I were a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin and was tired of being eyed suspiciously in airports, I wouldn’t first blame the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, I’d cast an admonishing eye towards those blaspheming my faith and disgracing my race with their terrorist activities.

In media reports following the thwarting of planned attacks on airplanes bound for the U.S., the primary message from the Muslim community in this country seemed to be that we all need to be careful not to paint all Muslims with the terrorist brush. It’s certainly understandable that they would be concerned about this, both as a matter of self-preservation and to prevent a swell of bigotry that would threaten the freedoms that make this country great. But before making this pronouncement, how about joining the rest of us in condemning those who think that eternal life is gained through killing airborne innocents?

The larger part of this issue is the belief that the type of prejudice that Muslims are likely to be subjected to will come in the form of profiling. Although this is clearly a sensitive issue, I also think that profiling, when deployed expertly, isn’t discriminatory.

There are some realities that should be recognized if authorities are going to continue to prevent terrorist efforts to make confetti out of Boeings. First and foremost is that, based on past incidents, adult males of Middle Eastern descent are the most likely to want to carry out such an attack. Secondly, people of Middle Eastern descent share certain physical attributes. They tend not to look like Scandinavian grandmothers or Asian adolescents. This isn’t good or bad, it’s just a matter of genetics.

Based on this knowledge, perhaps the war being waged on water bottles should shift focus in an effort to find those who are smuggling liquid explosives.

It wouldn’t make sense for police investigating a series of cross burnings at predominately black churches to question every person in town regardless of race, color, or creed. Sure, it’s possible that anyone could be responsible, even the ministers of the churches. But doesn’t it make more sense, absent of any concrete leads, to concentrate on white adult males, especially those with mullets.

Therefore, harassing a burka-wearing woman while she’s sitting at a bus stop is an act of bigotry. Taking an extra long look at a fidgety 25-year-old man with a Muslim-sounding name as he’s about to board a plane is an act of common sense. It’s sad and unfortunate, but necessary thanks to a small number of demented individuals and a larger number of people who are explicitly and implicitly supporting their actions.

The big question that always gets asked when making such a judgment is how would you feel if you were the one subjected to increased scrutiny. It’s not really possible to answer definitely until your put in that situation, but I’m of the mind that when you have people out there who mean you harm, it behooves you to make some sacrifices to help ensure your well-being and that of others. So if bloggers of Lithuanian descent begin to threaten national security and I end up in an airport interrogation room for a couple of hours, that’s a small price to pay to help defend my country.

28 comments:

Dave H said...

Dan, I sure like it when you write articles that are worthy of real debate and discussion.

I have asked this question from the very beginning and I don't hear much talk about other than an ocassional O'Reilly. With the Muslim world 2 billion strong and growing (not quite sure what the attraction is but..)and the majority of Muslims being peace-loving individuals...wink wink...where in the world is the uprising, the rally's and the public denigration by mainstream Muslims, quashing this small percentage of Islamo-fascists that have labeled all Muslims as terrorists. The Christian world certainly steps up to the plate to the likes of Matt Hales the Eric Rudolphs and even sometimes the Pat Robertson's of the world. Which raises an important question!

Do mainstream Muslim's really deep down condone this activity of killing the infidel? They are silent and remain silent.

This America that knows the top contenders of American Idol better than they know the crazed statements of Ahmadinejad will in fact wake up after the 2nd or third 9/11. Israelis learned long ago. Do you really think the ACLU would be able to set up shop there? Maybe we are just a sleeping elephant that was merely nudged by the events of the Twin Towers.

Good Topic.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Dave H.,

I'm sorry that you don't think that my crusade to inform the public about the criminal ways of the Red Hat Society isn't worthy of real debate and discussion.

That said, although I don't usually align myself with O'Reilly, I too have to question why the lunatic fringe of the Muslim community isn't being more fervently ostracized by the supposedly sensible mainstream.

I recall reading an article a couple of years ago that reported that a majority of Muslims in London denounced the 9/11 attacks. But it also said that a majority preferred that they be able to live under Muslim law, no matter where they live. I should mention that Muslim law, as interpretted by some of the faithful, says that a victim of rape should be murdered in order to save her family from disgrace.

So if it is true that a good number of moderate Muslims what their religious tenets to be the law of the land, even if they live in Western democracies, then maybe they do view these terrorist attacks as a necessary evil. I hope not. I usually have more faith in my fellow humans. But I do wonder.

Dan

Will said...

Not long ago I saw the movie based on true events, The Battle of Algiers. The French responded to terrorists bombings by local muslims by conducting searches of all non-french dark skinned people coming out of certain areas of the city. It didn't take long for the rebels to figure out that they could sneak another bomb through the search gates by getting some lighter skinned women to dye their hair and dress like westerners in order to get through the gates without being searched. If they figured this out over 40 years ago, don't you think they could use the same tactic today? If we follow your advice it only means that Al Qaeda will make sure their next attacker looks white and has a fake name like John Smith.

Dave H said...

Dan, I don't generally watch O'Reilly in attempts to allign myself with his registered Independent status but I have not found another show that attempts to present "all" the facts of a particular debate and then presents both sides of an argument letting the viewer decide for himself. There are enough shows out there that preach to their own choir. I am always open to the fact that the conservative viewpoint might be wrong on ocassion.

As far as Will's comment goes. He does have point but to date it is pretty obvious what the enemy looks like. Not too many variances in those mug shots. Its action versus reation. We do something proactive or we sit back and wait.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Will,

I agree that terrorists will use any means necessary to achieve their deranged goals. They've enlisted women as suicide bombers and as Hezbollah recently demonstrated, they have no qualms about putting children in harm's way. But it just seems silly to me to treat every traveler as if there is an equal chance that they are packing triacetone triperoxide.

I'm not suggesting that caucasians and women be allowed to bypass security. I agree with Dave H., however, that up to this point, the people who have been willing to go on an aerial suicide mission fit an identifiable profile. Why not use this fact to your advantage when trying to stop future attacks?

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

Anonymous said...

Rest assured, the people that are being affected by the terrorists are being stereotyped by the terrorists - profiled, if you will - simply because they happen to take part in the Western world's commerce.

Obviously the terrorists are not specifically attacking those that they have named as THEIR enemies, but rather those innocent people who happen to look like their enemies.

So, I agree with you, Dan, we should begin using the same tactic as we try to uncover any potential attacks...

Monkey Boy said...

We assume that there isn't widespread denunciation of terrorism by peace-loving muslims throughout the world. Why? Because we don't see it on the nightly news or in the newspaper. At the risk of sounding paranoid I firmly believe that the media seeks to control the news, and thus, world events.

There is a lot more news to report on, and money to be made if there is a war going on, especially one in which Americans are being killed daily. The longer the war goes on the better the chance that a Democrat will win in the next elections. Who tends to side with the Democratic point of view? Da media! There is simply little to no incentive for the media to aggressively report muslims speaking out en mass against terrorist. It is possible they (muslims) don't. I do not claim to know that fact. However, based on what we have seen recently in the press in regard to the media concocting phony news and news photos I don't think my point is too far fetched.

And that disguise the terrorist plan seems rather implausible. Michael Jackson anyone?

Dave H said...

If there were any protests by the Muslim community against Islamo-facism I am pretty sure it would at the very least be reported by Fox News. Its not there. They remain silent!

nancy said...

The problem with profiling is that it often leads to harrassment. Take, for example, your brother-in-law, Dan, who is of Scottish descent. He happens to share his name with a man who is currently on the Homeland Security watchlist. This makes security checks at the airport a real headache. Even though he has been provided with a gov't website that is supposed to help him clear his name for travel, it has not yet done any good. Granted, a headache might be a small price to pay for security in airports, but I'd imagine that the scrutiny Arab/ Muslim American must go through is much, much worse and takes much longer to sort out. Again, that doesn't affect you or me too much, so I guess it should be no big deal, right?

You elude in your post that peace loving Muslims have not done enough to distance themselves from radical terroists. Let's turn this around on ourselves for a minute. How many of us good, peace loving Catholics have spoken out strongly and publicly against the IRA and its decades-long attacks on innocents in Northern Ireland and London? Have we taken out full page ads condemning their actions and cried out that while we share the same faith, we in no way share their violent tendencies? I'll bet Protestants would feel a whole lot better about American Catholics if we were more organized in condemning these bombings. I haven't seen a petition in the SJR signed by local Catholics denouncing the bombings of abortion clinics, the murder of doctors or the victimization of children at the hands of priests. Does that mean that we don't really distance ourselves so much from these things, simply because we're all Catholic? Of course not! You will see individual letters to the editors making these points, but by your standards for Muslims, that should not be enough. You want all Muslims to organize and hit the airwaves in protest to their extremist counterparts, yet we can't even get all of Springfield to agree that it was wrong, and nothing but wrong for American soldiers to rape an innnocent young Iraqi girl and then burn her and her family? You'll hear lots of qualifiers on that crime, like "our soldiers are under a lot of pressure, because they don't feel like they are getting the support from home". Well, by all means, then....rape away! What is so troubling about this all is that supporters of this war will cry out about our troops over there defending our rights, and yet think nothing of stomping all over those very rights in the case of Muslim Americans. So who isn't supporting the troops????

Like you said, if Lithuanian men ever become the focus of intense national scrutiny, then maybe you could relate to what Muslim Americans are feeling. You might actally feel defensive of your heritage and your family while still at odds with whatever it is that little Lugan did to get you on a watch list. It's never fun turning the microscope on ourselves, but it's the right thing to do from time to time before so freely giving up others' rights. Just my bleeding heart liberal opinion.

Anonymous said...

The American Muslim community has come out loud and clear to denounce violence and terrorism - especially in the name of Islam.
(http://www.islam-democracy.org/terrorism_statement.asp)

What exactly more are you looking for?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Nancy,

You make some good points. I didn’t mean to suggest that all Muslims are complicit or that their silence is implicating. I’m also not demanding that Muslim Americans “organize and hit the airwaves in protest to their extremist counterparts.” What stoked that particular post was that it seemed to me that those who were speaking publicly after the thwarted attacks were more concerned with how our government would respond than with denouncing the attacks. The real problem here is people trying to blow-up planes, not harassment at the airport.

The trouble that Dan is having at airports is unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be tracking suspicious characters. I don’t think you can fight terrorism and guarantee a pleasant traveling experience. Protecting your right to stay alive trumps protecting your right to breeze through security. Sad, but true.

You’re right; I’ve never made a public statement denouncing the IRA. I’ve also never made a public statement asking people not to discriminate against me as a Catholic based on the IRA’s terrorist acts. It would be suspect of me to do the latter without doing the former.

It’s preposterous to defend soldiers who commit rape no matter what uniform they are wearing. Just as it’s preposterous to claim that a woman has shamed her family by being raped, as some interpretations of Islam suggest.

I’m not claiming to know what’s in the heart of every Muslim. I can only gauge my opinions on what I read in the media. Although I think that I’m above average when it comes to keeping up with the news, and I make it a point to read a variety of publications so as not to be skewed in any one direction, I’m just not hearing the message that the Muslim community is sufficiently outraged by these outrageous acts. Again, I hope I’m wrong. I’d like to have faith in my fellow humans. But I can’t base my opinions on my ideals.

Anon,

I’m glad to see that moderate Muslims have condemned terrorism. If it takes you directing me to a Web site, then the message obviously isn’t getting out very loud or clear. Or are you being sarcastic by linking to a four-year-old document?

Thanks for commenting,
Dan

Nancy said...

Dan

You make many good points as well. I guess my question is, what is it exactly that would you like to see that would convince you of a moral and ethical separation between peaceful Muslims and extremists? Would a march on the nation's capital do it? Would one or two leaders on the Today show be enough? (The notion that because FOX news hasn't had any outspoken peaceful Muslims on is proof that there aren't any is adorable). I agree with you that denouncing the terroist plot before denouncing profiling would have been a much better PR move. One might look at the four year old document that Anon. linked to as evidence that the American Islamic community organized fairly quickly in response to the 9/11 attacks in opposition to its perpetrator's use of their religion as justification for the attack. And I guess that's my ultimate point. Anyone can choose to never be convinced that there exist Muslims who are against terroism. Interesting though that importance is given to interpretations of Islamic religion that shame a rape victim, but its much more regarded stands against all violence are glossed over. We need to be careful with ancient Canon law anyway (eye for an eye, cutting off the hands of thieves---sound familiar?)

I'm not suggesting that we do away with stringent airport security. I'm not suggesting that another attack won't occur in the US or elsewhere at the hands of Islamic terroists. I'm not suggesting that I have any workable solutions to any of these problems. It's the whole "whatever you do to the least of your brothers" thing that keeps nagging at me.

monkey boy said...

Nancy,

Some good points but I must again focus on the media in relation to your comments.

We, the American people, frequently do not have to speak out en mass in regard to our opposition to the bad things that Americans do to others. The American media is very willing to do that work for us, and they do it quite well.

For instance, you alluded to the rape/murder of the Iraqi girl by American soldiers. If I had found out about that story in some clandestine media outlet I would have went to the White House myself to protest. However, I didn't have to do that because our media has feverishly taken up that task. They have done it in such a manner as to suggest to our less intelligent or rational countrymen and world neighbors that the other 99.99999% of our servicemen are just as likey to commit such an act as opposed to the horrible act being committed by a rogue bunch of miscreatins.

Now on the topic of "profiling" I have this thought. "Profiling" as it pertains to locating terrorists and in finding criminals in the U.S. can easily be substituted for another phrase we are all familiar with.....common sense.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

What exactly did the Christian world do to "step up to the plate" to the likes of Matt Hale etc? You live in a predominantly Christian world that is run by a predominantly Christian(I think) media. I don't think there are many newspapers or news agencies run by mainstream Muslims in these parts. I suspect, however, if you were able to visit a Muslim country, you might find a few brave news agencies that are speaking out against extremist movements. They would do that until they were abducted from their vehicles and executed, though. As for the Muslim Americans, they are just like you and I. They are busy going to work, worrying about the economy, shuttling kids to practices and lessons.

Nancy,

While I agree with many of your points, I hardly think that extra security measures at an airport constitutes a "stomping all over" of peoples rights.

Nancy said...

Monkey Boy

You make a good point about Americans not really needing to stand up and be heard b/c the media does a fairly good job of it for the mainstream. That was a point I meant to make earlier in response to Dan's assertion that while he didn't publicly condemn the IRA he also didn't ask to be not discriminated against because he is Catholic, as Muslim Americans are doing. That is an unrealistic comparison because Catholics in the United States will never be made to distinguish themselves from the fringe fanatics of their (my ) faith. Furthermore, they (I) would never have to do so "sufficiently", and conveniently (as in a personal phone call to each and every citizen rather than using that obscure internet the kids are using these days)in order to maintain credibility and civil rights. It is a given for Catholics that those people are anomolies to the faith. How lucky for us.

Maybe I'm just naive, but I certainly don't assume that all of our soldiers are rapists, but I don't deny or make excuses that at least one of them is.

My concern about profiling does not necessitate the need to forego common sense. Simply because many of the acts of domestic terroism have been "credited" to individuals such as Timothy McVeigh and (what the hell's his first name?) Rudolph, many of the factions and militias to which they are associated have gone largely under the radar. Where is the profiling there? Maybe I'm arguing against my own problem with profiling, but that is why the targeting of Muslim Americans seems so blatantly racist to me. Why isn't any man wearing black with a white collar prohibited from entering Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald's Playland without first being background checked?

And finally, Anon. 10:19, maybe "stomping all over peoples rights" was a bit of hyperbole. Maybe I should have said "stomping all over Muslims' rights".

Laura said...

I think it's all about perspective. Just as it may be easy for Dan to say he wouldn't have a problem submitting to an interrogation that he knows is never going to happen, maybe it's easy for Nancy to say that profiling is wrong because she only gets on a plane once every couple of years anyway. I'm willing to bet that if she were placing her kids on a plane and the nervous-looking fidgety man of Arab descent that Dan mentioned in his post was behind them in line, she'd be a little more accepting of some increased scrutiny of that man.

There was a recent article in Sports Illustrated about a man who was on the plane that Richard Reid tried unsuccessfully to blow up with a bomb in his shoe. If Reid knew how to operate a book of matches, that man and all others on board would be dead right now. The man (an athlete whose name I don't recall) is not able to get over the fear and fright of that day, a day that he spent trying to restrain the terrorist until the plane was able to land. I'm sure he is in favor of whatever means are employed to try to keep such lunatics off of his flights in the future.

Regardless, the United States did not expand the use of profiling in airports as an unprevoked, random or arbitrary act of prejudice against the Muslim community. It did not start because of a credible threat. It started because of the senseless murder of thousands of innocent people at the hands of Muslim terrorist groups in airplanes in our own country. The same groups that pledge to continue plotting and planning these types of attacks. Like it or not, that's what forced these measures. Do I think it's sad that innocent people get caught in the middle of this - yes, very much so. Sad but necessary.

Although we could have a whole separate debate about how the actions of our national leaders have destroyed our reputation and credibility in international affairs and led to the hatred of America that may spark these attacks, that's not my point here. My point is, this the reality we live in today, and the measures we take to protect ourselves from future vulnerability are the necessary, responsible thing to do.

nancy said...

Interesting. As a matter of fact, my husband and our three young children were on a plane flying out of New York City, over the World Trade Center on September 10, 2001. That's right, less than 24 hours before the attacks. To say that I was stunned, relieved and retroactively terrified at the "could have beens" is an understatement. The fact that I've only flown once since and will most likely never be a frequent flyer by any standards only serves to bolster my claim that there are people who DO fly for their jobs and who ARE harrassed on a regular basis with no recourse other than to just take one for the American security team. It would be easy for me not to care about it. It doesn't really affect me all that much. But I think I do hold a unique experience in that but for the grace of God, it could have been me and my family on one of the 9/11 planes. It might even be justification for an increased sense of hysteria from me. As for that athlete, he has every right to have continued anxiety over his experience on that plane. I think that's unfortunate, and I think that is the fault of Richard Reid who really was trying to blow up a plane. I don't think it's fair to view every Muslim as if they were Richard Reid (what a nice, American name---wonder if he was held up in the airport going thru extensive security checks???Must not have been) and I'm guessing there are a lot more like him....John Smiths, Peter Williams. You illustrated my point perfectly.

Laura said...

I don't want to suggest for one minute that I think that what happens to the innocent people is fair. It's not, it sucks. But, if profiling is so offensive and ineffective, what alternatives do you offer? Imagine the outrage if no steps were taken after 9/11 and another attack occurred. So, what do you think we should be doing that won't offend anyone? It's easy to say that what is being done is wrong - its another to come up with solutions that will satisfy everyone.

nancy said...

I think that I have been misunderstood, or more likely, have failed to make myself understood. I am not opposed to airport security. I am not opposed to increased airport security when "intelligence" (i.e. bad returns on the presidential approval ratings come in) deems it necessary. I AM NOT OPPOSED TO MUSLIMS GOING THROUGH ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES. I am opposed to the unfair application of some security checks. The only way to prevent ANYONE from bringing something explosive or ignitable aboard a plane is to have uniform practices in place for all passengers. To our knowledge, do Muslims possess additional body orifices that might make their prolonged detainment justified? Are we afraid that they are just so crafty that they will come up with ways to beat our checks as they stand? Perhaps the terroists are, but then for God's sake, check every blasted passenger as if they could be that sinister as well. Apply that rule and many fewer flights might be rerouted b/c a "normal" looking guy goes ballistic and we're not sure that he was screened adequately at the terminal. We'll know he was and he can just sit his flight thru in handcuffs courtesy of our friendly air marshal. What's the opposition to a uniform and fair application of the security checks? Cost prohibitive? Time consuming? Yes and yes, but one thing we've all agreed on so far is that it's worth it for our public safety. Or is it only worth it if it's not us being bothered, held up in line and charged accordingly on our airline ticket?

Administer all security procedures fairly and equitably and the chances of another attack, and especially an attack by someone who we never saw coming,go down exponentially.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when liberals make sense.

Dave H said...

I told you Dan this was a good topic! This is on its way to beating "dirty cops" blog.

With regards to comparing Catholic action or inaction to Muslim inaction, you can't justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior but I don't think that is the case here.

One central difference between Muslims and Catholics is that Catholics have a central leadership and authority that protects its Doctrine and Dogma, better known as the Pope. Whether you like it or not, the Pope does in fact speak for the entire 1.2 billion Catholics in the world with regards to the Catholic position for the last 2000 years (I know this is a whole entire blog topic in itself) but love it or leave it. There is certainly a Protestant Church for every lifstyle out there.

If you were to check, every Pope has clearly spoken out against atrocities in the world to include the IRA, the Matt Hales, the bombing of abortion clinics and the clergy abuse etc.etc. If you haven't noticed, each time the Pope speaks it makes front page headlines. I am not saying that each individual doesn't have some responsibility to speak out against atrocities him or herself...they do! That being said I am not really too worries about a pedophile priest coming to my house with C4 strapped to his torso.

Anonymous, I know the Muslim community lives in fear of speaking out against the fringe although you are supposedly the majority. Having no centralized (earthly) authority to speak for your position, at some point in time you must step up to the plate and correct the misrepresentation of your faith if in fact they are misrepresentations. You haven't convinced me yet.


One other thing I wanted to respond to: I don't think it is fair to compare the Islamo-facists to the IRA. There is a big difference here. The IRA did not fly the Catholic flag while conducting its atrocities as if to say that God advised them to do so and they would receive rewards in heaven etc. That struggle was more of a political struggle than a religious one. I personally sympathize with their position but do not condone any violence by its fringe individuals. There, I am speaking out because I know there are hundreds of thousands of people reading this blog!

That ought to get us past "dirty cops" responses

monkey boy said...

Terrorists iz dum.

Laura said...

Ok Nancy. First you said that what happens to Muslims in airports is stomping on their rights. But now you are suggesting that in the interest of fair play, we should just stomp on everyone's rights equally. So the perceived civil rights violations are acceptable as long as they are applied to everyone without any qualifications? Maybe we could just have everyone pinky-swear that they'll quit trying to blow up airplanes and call it a day....that should be fair to everyone.

And by the way, Richard Reid's fated flight originated overseas and was flying to the United States, so I don't know what sort of checkpoints he did or did not go through. But it is not a case of failed selective U.S. screening that allowed him to board with a bomb in his shoe.

Nancy said...

OK, sorry, where were we? I was busy having a garage sale this weekend, and trying to profile would-be five finger discounters really wiped me out.

Laura, you seem to suggest that making security procedures equal for all passengers is akin to taking rights away from everyone, which is somehow worse than taking rights away from only some. It's certainly not. Since I have clearly stated that I am not opposed to security measures, let's say that it is the "right" of all of ours to go through an established routine at the airport. Kind of like due process. But when that process is deviated against, only in the case of a few, that right is compromised. Capiche?

I did not bring up Richard Reid on this blog- you did. And admittedly I failed to consider the origin of that flight. But then US policies regarding profiling are moot anyway, unless you are suggesting that we should be establishing airport security policies internationally? I'm not so sure that would go over too well.

I really do understand that it seems ridiculous to even consider that some people, by virtue of their appearance, seem very likely suspects to commit terrorism. A feeble old man, a well-regarded US college football player. I get that. It might seem wasteful to spend time considering them otherwise. But since you brought up my comfort level when flying with my children, let me put this to you....Would you feel comfortable flying with your children if that feeble old man, or all-star were allowed to forego security measures that are largely accepted, such as carrying a weapon aboard the plane? Anyone who doesn't look Arab, are you cool with that? I mean, the reality is, if I could bring my massive, kick-ass collection of handguns on board in my carry-on, I wouldn't hurt a flea. I'm white and Catholic for God's sake. Granted, I get a little testy if my Bloody Mary is made with cheap shelf vodka, but I'm pretty sure I could keep my cool about it as long as they comp it. Are you willing to take that risk with anyone else, just not Muslims?

My point is, what is it that they are detaining Muslim-Americans for, what are they looking for, that you wouldn't worry about on anyone else? Are wires hidden in the soles of Western-looking passengers' shoes less worrisome to you? We are safer, much safer, if everyone has to undergo the same security checks. And my question still hasn't been answered: what's the opposition to that?

And finally, I know that this has been a long series of comments and responses, and it's entirely possible that I'm connecting the dots incorrectly, but I'm hearing in general, that Muslims aren't outspoken enough against their minority, militant members and that all Muslims should be (willing to be) subjected to profiling. Seems all too punitive to the faithful members of the peace-loving Muslim faith who have only committed the crime of not being heard loudly and clearly enough by non-Muslims who will likely never be satisfied by their denouncement anyway.

Well, I could go on for years with this topic. I've enjoyed it very much. Newer posts from Dan are eliciting some hot responses too and I think that's a testament to Dan and his blogfreespringfield project. Congratulations Dan, on gittin' us country folk chewin' the cud.

Dave H said...

Boy was I wrong, this thing died faster than a hijacked American Airlines flight!

nancy said...

I'm not sure anyone's checking this anymore, but Sunday's SJR had an article (in the "Beliefs" section, I believe) about Muslims trying to distance themselves from extremists. It related that the ability to halt the planned attacks from England came from Muslims who had learned of the plan. Maybe now that the SJR, newspaper giant that it is, has run the story huge masses of non-believers will begin to understand that not all Muslims are violent terroists and that, in fact, they are doing a lot to help bust these factions.

Laura said...

Nancy -

Still here, for better or worse.

My point was never that Muslims aren't doing enough to halt terrorism. My only point was that I didn't agree with your assessment of profiling. The bottom line for me is, no it isn't fair. But neither was it fair that thousands of innocent people died 5 years ago today. And although it is idealistic to say that we should be checking out everyone with equal thoroughness, the reality is that is not going to happen. There is nothing fair about any of this, but unfortunately the most appropriate solution is not always also the fairest.

Given that, if the protocol is to check 10 people in line, I'd hope they check the 10 people that look most like the terrorists instead of checking you, your husband, your kids, your parents and your uncle Joe.

nancy said...

Laura

Even though I know you to be a person that doesn't usually hang out too far right of center, here's how your last post comes off to me: "Yeah, it's unfair and all, and I feel bad for 'them' but it'll never be fair, so better 'them' than me, my kids, my uncle, my parents or Uncle Joe". Sad doesn't begin to describe it. The fact is my Dad is just as innocent and non-threatening as most Muslim Americans are, so if he had to go through the same security checks as everyone, that wouldn't bother me a bit. That as a nation, we don't expect any better solution out of our government than to discriminate instead of leveling the playing field is pathetic.

To summarize what I believe to be popular U.S. sentiments right now:

Action: thousands of mostly young, American troops die while fighting war in Iraq that has nothing to do with 9/11

Reaction: Yep, we're willing to sacrifice them in order to fight terroism

Action: The rights of innocent Muslims compromised (notice I didn't say "stomped on"--I am willing to concede now and then)

Reaction: It makes me so, so sad, but OK...for national security's sake.

Action: Not being allowed to bring my precious Evian onboard a plane.

Reaction: Now wait a damned minute! This is America! I need my water. I demand my water!!!!!

Is this seriously where we draw the line? REALLY??? The water/liquids ban has sent people into a tizzy? I guess it is only truly when these matters begin to mess with our own personal comforts that most Americans get their panties in a bunch. And Laura, this is not directed to you specifically. I have a feeling that you're fine with the water bottle ban. These are just my general observations and if the respondants to this issue here on Dan's blog are any indication, I'm standing squarely alone in my perceptions.

I'm sure the word "armchair" is imminent in the comments to follow mine, referring to my all talk/no action spoutings off. Fair enough. But I'm still more comfortable with my "there has to be a better way" mentality than "this is as good as it gets". And now I've worked myself into a tizzy and feel motivated to try to do something. Not sure what just yet, but stay tuned.