Unfair tactics! Someone from any culture or from any walk of like might be a Muslim extremist!

THE REACTION PIECE

Expat Yank, in Britain, is watching news of the suspected plans to attack Heathrow and today’s arrest of a dozen suspected terrorists in the UK with more than casual interest. He quotes the Beeb:

As police continue to detain a dozen young men arrested in anti-terrorism raids across the UK, Britain’s Muslim community has reacted with dismay.

Detaining the men, all of Asian origin, has prompted complaints in some Muslim circles that they are being unfairly singled out.

Let’s break that down: When one is searching for al Qaeda “operatives”, one tends to follow an evidence trail that usually does NOT lead towards, say, Irish Catholics. Nor towards Italians.

On the other hand, the Irish were obviously “unfairly singled out” during operations over the years that were aimed at breaking up I.R.A. cells. And Italians are obviously “unfairly singled out” during police investigations aimed at the mafia.

It reminds me of all the pomp surrounding movie stars arriving for the Oscars and going through security checkpoints. How much did that help the War on Terror? Whew! Tom Cruise isn’t going to suicide bomb the Academy Awards! Would that time and effort maybe have been better spent checking for terrorists in a place where terrorists might actually be?

Expat Yank also notes that the Beeb points out that fewer than 1 in 5 of the over 500 people (“most of them Muslim”) arrested under anti-terrorism laws have been charged with a terrorist offense.

After all, “fewer than one in five” of “the more than 500 people” sounds to me like somewhere around 100 people is what they got enough on to be able to charge. Given such, it would seem reasonable, too, that some others were let off, probably simply because the evidence against them was too thin to stand up in court.

So let’s say that every suicide hijacker needs four guys near the base of operations supporting him. That would mean that 20 suicide hijackers and 80 support personnel have been arrested and charged. How many suicide hijackers pulled of 9/11?

19.

And never mind that the Beeb cleverly points out that only 100 or so “have been charged with a terrorist offence“. That leads me to believe that some of the other 400 were charged with something else.

In any event, taking 100 likely terrorists or active terrorist supporters off the streets seems like a worthwhile pastime to me, even if it means inconveniencing 400 others for a time. Obviously you have to be careful with this, but I don’t think I see anything out of line here.

What if the FBI had arrested 500 Muslims in the first 10 days of September, 2001 but only charged 19 of them? Obviously worth it if they had been the right 19. But we would have got an earful from the human rights and civil rights and anti-war types.

Comments

  1. (Between work and college I get maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep a day. The closer I get to Friday the crankier I get while the less discerning. If the paragraph I quote was meant to be sarcastic then please accept my sincere apologies for being snippy. If you were serious then you need a wake up call.) ‘It reminds me of all the pomp surrounding movie stars arriving for the Oscars and going through security checkpoints. How much did that help the War on Terror? Whew! Tom Cruise isn’t going to suicide bomb the Academy Awards! Would that time and effort maybe have been better spent checking for terrorists in a place where terrorists might actually be?’ So you start the post talking about silly racist concerns. Someone is complaining because they aren’t arresting enough non-Middle Easterners while looking for Islamic terrorists. Can you imagine the howls if they only searched the non-celebrity staff and guests at the Awards? Gotta do everyone to keep the idjist happy. Terrorists also crave publicity. Proof is all of those videos where they cut the hostages heads off. Can you think of anything more gloriously public than slaughtering a few dozen at the Academy Awards? So while I agree that frisking and wanding the Hollywood elite is a waste of time, I don’t think tightened security at the ceremony is a waste. And the police, a political eorganization that relies on taxes to survive, sometimes has to waste scant resources just to keep the civilians from making a big deal over really stupid and wasteful ideas. James

  2. James: Not arguing that heightened security at the Academy Awards and other high-profile events is very warranted. It would be dereliction of duty to not do so. At the same time, what were the odds of nabbing someone on the FBI’s most-wanted list while they walked from the limos to the front door? All for show, as you point out. And I’m also not saying that non-Middle Easterners aren’t terrorists. In fact, I expect to see an increase in non-Middle Easterners in the coming years as we eliminate many of the current crop of terrorists and they shift tactics to recruiting people who have a better chance of getting through security. But no one should be at all surprised that a lot of those suspected of terror ties are Muslim and/or Middle Eastern, and to cry out ‘racism’ and ‘unfair’ over it is just plain stupid. (Something else that just occurred to me is the current idea of ‘hate crime’. Look at the Israel/Palestinian situation. How many Palestinian attacks against Israelis would qualify as a ‘hate crime’? How many Israeli attacks against Palestinians would qualify as a ‘hate crime’? As I understand it, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian attacks would be considered ‘hate crimes’ but very few of the Israeli attacks would be. Yet the side that supports ‘hate crime’ penalties also largely supports Palestine, or at least actively disagrees with the American support of Israel.) Racism, of course, exists. It always will, though hopefully we will all continue to make progress toward a truly ‘color-blind’ culture. But racial profiling in the investigation of international terrorism is not wrong. And no one feels safer because we’ve proven Julia Roberts isn’t carrying an RPG into the Oscars. Thanks for the comment. And get some sleep.