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Three Cheers for Profiling
by Scott Shore
15 September 2003

Naturally we weed terrorists out by asking on visa applications, "Do you intend to participate in terrorist acts while in America?" Can you imagine a real terrorist answering "yes" to this question?? We should be so lucky as to get such moronic terrorists.

The latest political absurdity is the crusade to stop “profiling” of suspected criminals and terrorists. If criminals and terrorists were equally distributed and in similar proportions with the general public, there might be a case against singling out a particular group for scrutiny. The fact is that both violent crime and acts of terror are not a random selection but occurs disproportionately among certain citizens. It is not bigotry but simply the law of statistics that makes a certain ethnic, religious or age group more suspect than the general population. In a desire to placate “civil rights” groups and to be politically correct, we are actually increasing the harassment of innocent Americans and making America a more dangerous place.

This bizarre spectacle is seen most outrageously at airports. The long lines would be tolerable if the process of weeding out suspected terrorists were rational as opposed to politically motivated. We often see little old 80-year old grandma go through a thorough interrogation and body search. Meanwhile “Abu Jihad” walks right through given that he is not the random number that is searched that day. I have often thought that the easiest way to board an American airlines is to don a kaffiya and long white Saudi robes. Should someone stop me I can always scream “anti-Muslim prejudice” and unfair profiling. The other bright idea is to mark boarding cards randomly and give the third degree to those passengers. This is again under the assumption that terrorists come in all shapes and colors. The fact of the matter is that most terrorists are young (18-35) year old Muslim men from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and a number of other “friendly” states in the Middle East.

A young Israeli coming to visit the United States finds it nearly impossible to get a travel visa. The reasoning is two-fold. The Israeli may find employment in the US and stay here or a Palestinian Israeli may come with terrorist intentions. Naturally we weed these people out by asking on visa applications “Do you intend to participate in terrorist acts while in America?” Can you imagine a real terrorist answering “yes” to this question?? We should be so lucky as to get such moronic terrorists.

As to the problem of illegal aliens staying in America, it seems to me that we have a far graver problem with people coming over the border from Mexico or Canada. As for potential Muslim terrorists, there are more Arabs and Persians in France than all of Israel. There is roughly the same amount of Muslims in Germany as in Israel. American policy does NOT require a visa from the European Union country. Many terrorists come here under British, French or German passports. We all know that Saudi visa requests used to go through a “fast track” process. The chance that a family man, with a wife, three kids and a stroller is a terror suspect is so far fetched as to be sheer lunacy. Nevertheless, the stroller is checked for all kinds of potential lethal devices. Perhaps the little baby is carrying explosives in his little shoes. No stone can be left unturned by our Airport Security Keystone Cops.

Let us turn our attention to our erstwhile ally to the North, Canada. What a completely useless ally. The situation with their border control at airports has become worse over the past year. Almost half the travelers are given instant immigrant status and come from the Middle East. They are immediately entitled to all social programs. They are issued a Canadian passport from which they can enter the United States with relative ease. Lately, the Canadians have taken umbrage over the fact that Canadians wishing to enter the United States are coming under greater scrutiny. Of course, the US grilling does not much discriminate between Mr. Goldberg going to his cousin’s wedding in Brooklyn with invitation in hand and Hakim bin Laden who claims he wants to visit Manhattan. In any case, the Canadians are really ticked off. (Oh, that’s a scary thought!) In a recent trip to Canada, I was abruptly stopped at the Canadian border with a business partner and grilled for twenty minutes about my intentions. The “redneck” Canadian guard asked with a smile, “What kind of partner is this---a domestic partner??” Clearly relishing his opportunity to harass some Yanks, he eventually decided we were not a threat to Canadian national security. Of course, the Pakistanis flying into Montreal or Toronto get no such bigoted treatment. I was outraged. The Canadians who are responsible for terrorists coming into the United States and haven’t done diddly-squat in our international fight against terrorism have the unmitigated gall to harass Americans. I’m sure that Middle Eastern terrorists are just waiting to hit strategic Canadian targets. But…wait a minute, what strategic Canadian targets??

When push comes to shove, Canada is a second-rate nation that depends on the US and mimics everything about the US except character and principles. I used to tolerate Canada as a kind of bland but friendly neighbor. Now I see them as being quite as perfidious as France. At the end of the day does the US really benefit from NAFTA with Canada? We would be better served by an economic free trade zone formed by nations dedicated to the fight for freedom. We need to guard our borders with Canada with the same zeal that we guard the Mexican border. Perhaps that’s a bad example since Hispanic groups and employers of low wage labor have hampered our efforts to close off that border.

I say without apology that any Muslim wishing to enter the United States is statistically a reasonable suspect. Moreover, ex-convicts and others who have adopted Islam should be on the top of our suspect list. The very adoption or profession of Islam is a largely charged with anti-Western (esp. US or Israeli) antipathy. Next time Abdul wants to get into the country or board a plane, I expect a full body cavity search before I feel comfortable. I want to know all his friends and where he is going and where he has been. Will innocent Muslims be part of this dragnet? Yes, of course. But there will be far fewer innocents being harassed than is currently the case and if it prevents one terror incident, I think the “bigotry” is worth it. If the Mexicans and Canadians don’t like it, “tough luck, adios, au revoir.”

Scott Shore is a political commentator and management consultant in Providence, RI.

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