By Anne L. Thompson
In the wake of the failed terrorist attack aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas day, conservatives are once again calling on the U.S. government to engage profiling in counterterrorism efforts.
Radio host Mike Gallagher told listeners, ‘There should be a separate line to scrutinize anybody with the name Abdul or Ahmed or Mohammed.’ On Twitter and The Today Show, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have suggested that U.S. authorities should target individuals based on their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
These ideas suffer from terrible tunnel vision that fails to correctly isolate the terrorist threat.
Gallager’s approach would let terrorists named Osama, Khalid, or Nidal slide by without increased inspection. And profiling on ethnicity or religion would have missed shoe-bomber Richard Reid, an American, and the alleged Anthrax killer Edward Ivins, a catholic. The recommendations of Gallager, Gingrich and King are clearly too close-minded and fail to appreciate the full scope of the threat facing America.
Re-examining the facts, what is the one characteristic that distinguishes the aforementioned terrorists, plus all of the September 11th hijackers and the 775 individuals who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay?
The answer: They are all men. It’s not race, ethnicity, nor creed that is the best predictor of whether you will commit violent acts against innocent civilians. No, the best proxy is genitalia.
If there is any group that has earned increased scrutiny in the age of terrorism, it is the male population.
So what can we do to prevent the world’s men from blowing up things?
As the recent case of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab demonstrates, putting them all on the America’s basic terrorist watch list– the intelligence community’s first level of surveillance– does not offer enough protection. Yet placing 3.4 billion men on the No Fly List would be a preposterously extreme response. Instead, we are looking for an effective — but moderated — response that will both protect the American people and live up to our democratic principles.
An appropriate middle ground would require all men to be strip-searched before any domestic flight or international flight destined for the U.S. While full body scanners have received a lot of attention for being able to reveal explosives hidden under clothes, these devices cannot detect devices stowed within critical body orifices.
Now, I know you’re thinking this is a great idea– except for one thing. Just because men have carried out the vast majority of the history of terrorist acts, this doesn’t mean women can’t embark on global jihad.
It is true that last month the wife of bin-Laden’s top deputy Ayman Zawahri called on women to join al-Qaeda’s ranks. But from what we’ve seen in the past, we can’t expect them to be as skilled at warfare as men. Remember the woman affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq who couldn’t even get her explosives to go off at the hotel bombing in Jordan? This is not a group we have to take too seriously.
As Gingrich wrote in his recent op-ed in Human Events, if we want to address the threat of terrorism, we will have to stop being constrained by political correctness. We must target the population that is the source of the problem instead of creating a new slew of flight regulations that disproportionately affect everyday people. If we are going to win the war on terror, we must refocus our resources on the single group that provides the greatest threat: men.
I like to laugh as much or more than the next guy. I can laugh at myself and my candidate. Unfortunately, I think that the New Yorker has gone too far. Barack Obama and his supporters have fought hard to inform the American public that he is a Christian American. It shouldn’t matter what religion that Obama is but it does. That’s the reality of 2008. Racism and religion are touchy subjects and New Yorker’s satire isn’t funny. It is insulting.
Update: I didn’t even notice the American flag burning in the fire place. This is all kinds of wrong.
Update II: 13% of Americans still believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
C&L has an excellent summary of progressive blogs.
Over at The Huffington Post, I have a tongue-in-cheek take on the New Year’s resolutions of your favorite politicos. Enjoy!
Trial Next Thursday, Bush Says
In a hastily called press conference early this morning, George W. Bush fixed reporters with a steely eye and told them that the New York TImes was no more, calling it “the paper of the broken record.”
The White House was quick to note that the New York Times would be convicted of treason in a completely fair trial before a military tribunal next Thursday. The judge will not be permitted to see the evidence because of national security concerns; but President Bush has already personally assured him that the New York Times was “way guilty.” The New York Times was not earlier given notice of the trial or execution for fear that that would “give aid and comfort to the terrorists.”
The President appeared puzzled by a question from a reporter asking how the White House could convict the paper using a military tribunal similar to that which the Supreme Court ruled illegal yesterday. The President, smirking, scratched his head and said, “That applied to Guantanamo. Last I heard, the New York Times wasn’t anywhere near Cuba.”
George W. Bush and his staff concluded that the New York Times committed treason last week when it published details of a secret government program to sift banking data, and President Bush ordered that the newspaper “be hung by the neck until dead” in a secret missive signed by the President yesterday afternoon. The newspaper was hung, drawn, and quartered shortly after midnight this morning.
Last night, using a mammoth crane, the White House lifted the famous, massive Times building off its foundation and hung it until the backbone of the building snapped in two. Over a million copies of today’s paper, which had been printed but not yet distributed, were pulled apart by teams of horses.
Times readers reacted with outrage over the execution, demanding the immediate return of their subscription fees.
As a service to its readers, LiberalOasis presents a round-up of actual headlines from around the country.
GOP Pushes Estate Tax Repeal
“Repealing the death tax is our number one priority when we have soldiers fighting over in Iraq,” said House Leader Dennis Hastert. “They are the ones who are in most danger of having to pay it.”
Bank Data Sifted by U.S. Secretly in Terror Fight
“Warrants are for wimps,” said Dick Cheney. “Read my lips. We don’t need no stinkin’ warrants.”
Doctors See Way To Ease Suffering from Executions
“And I thought, maybe we shouldn’t kill them quite so much,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Methusalah.
Dr. Methusalah is engineering a new form of execution she calls “Barely Lethal Injection.”
Supreme Court Ruling Eviscerates Knock Knock Joke
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that police could enter an apartment after orally announcing their presence, without waiting for the occupant to answer the door. Humorists were horrified. “They got rid of the knock!” said entertainer Wiley the Clown.
Funny people now maintain that the ruling destroys the comedic import of the knock-knock joke and renders it obsolete. “All of a sudden, it’s, at best, knock-knock and you have to go right in to the punchline. No waiting for the response from the audience, no who’s there. It’s awful,” said Stan Menchnik, a comedian from Brooklyn.
Menchnik demonstrated. “Knock knock. Sam and Janet Evening,” he said without a pause. “Here’s another: Knock knock. Orange you glad I didn’t say banana.”
“You see?” he said. “Not funny.”
Menchnik said that comedians are attempting to create a new joke, the “barge right in” joke. “Here’s how it goes: Police!”
President George Bush surprised himself in Baghdad this week by boldly predicting that he had “turned a corner.”
“Today I looked myself in the eye,” he said, “and I liked what I saw.”
President Bush had originally travelled to Iraq to encourage Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to establish a true democracy “just like America’s,” he said. “But without the extreme religious groups,” he added.
Bush, swollen with pride after U.S. troops successfully killed terrorist leader Musab al-zaquari, told the Iraqi people that everything was on the upswing for him now. “I don’t read the polls,” he told them, “but I sure want the ones I’m not reading to be really good.”
When pressed by reporters to say something about the future of Iraq, Bush told them he was confident that Iraq’s poll numbers would get better, too.