We're All Going to Die

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For the miniscule population that reads Hit & Run but not InstaPundit, be careful getting on planes in the near future.

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  1. That miniscule population isn’t reading InstaPundit for a reason, thank you.

  2. OOOh, eye contact! They nodded at each other! The crime!

    I hate to pull an ad hominem, but the quoting of Ann Coulter pretty much screwed any chance I had that the author was a reasonable person.

    She better get used to seeing Arabs on airplanes, or just choose not to fly. You can’t discriminate against ethnic groups just because they scare you.

  3. I don’t do actual blogs. If I wanted to read blogs, I’d go over and read some Livejournals. At least then they’re halfway entertaining and you can post replies telling them to go through with their whiny goth suicide threats.

    If we’re going to have oppressive laws anyway, can we have one that says that if you dress in all black and keep saying you’re going to kill yourself, you have to go through with it?

  4. Please, someone introduce that woman to an editor.

  5. Who do I contact to get my payment for having to sit through her long, boring account? Just get to the frigging point. I’m surprised she didn’t include the details of adjusting her seat.

    In any case, she quotes a name: Dave Adams. Those who doubt her account should contact Dave and ask in what way she’s lying or stretching the truth.

    If the other passengers were concerned, I’d imagine there was something to make them concerned. This might have been either a dry run to test how to put together something in midflight, or an attempt to see how the stewardesses would react, or an attempt to see who the air marshalls were and how they’d react.

    I’d also be concerned with groups of younger guys speaking Russian, Chechen, and other Eastern European and Kavkaz languages, as well as Pinoys and Pinays and Malaysians. Not all Arabs are Muslim and vice versa.

  6. Hey, the North Koreans did this years ago on JAG.
    The only surprise is how ready America is to let mere citizens be killed. Must be for the children, or something.

  7. Shit, all she or her husband had to do was go into one of the bathrooms where they thought something suspicious was going on. If they actually try to stop you from getting into one, then I’d be a little worried, too. If they let you in, you could look around and see if anything was left in there.

    As for the air marshalls not stepping in, maybe they were thinking the same thing about the ‘terrorists’ trying to figure out which passenger was actually a marshall.

  8. I’m skeptical.

    I have no information on this, but it seems to me that AQ would have abandoned the idea of using planes. Sure, they could probably blow one up in flight, but that’s been done. Flying one into a building isn’t going to work – a dogpile on the terrorists will stop that.

    It’s also easy to see how a person in a frightened frame of mind can miscontrue fairly normal behavior.

  9. OOOh, eye contact! They nodded at each other! The crime!She better get used to seeing Arabs on airplanes, or just choose not to fly. You can’t discriminate against ethnic groups just because they scare you.

    If you read the article again, carefully, it wasn’t the nodding that raised concern, it was the COMBINED activity which drew suspicion… or, depending on your position, not enough suspicion.

    If we take the authors recollection of events at face value, it can be said that she raises some excellent points. Also, if you read the article again, you’ll note that she has done plenty of flying with Muslims and Arabs (and Hindus) and never once even considered the situation dangerous.

    To quickly dismiss any and ALL suspicious behavior under a blanket of civil rights is just a knee-jerk response. I think that civil rights can easily be maintained and still do something about the highly suspicious behavior she described.

    Many inferences can be made about some of the subtle points in her article. Some of which I disagreed with, wholeheartedly. Not even so much from a civil rights perspective, but one of efficacy. For instance, she complains that no one asked her what she’d done during her layover. These are the things that the TSA considers to be great terrorist repellant. They do nothing. Terrorists aren’t going to say “I made my last phone calls to the other members of my sleeper cell…”

    However, the theme of her article raises good points, ones which are debatable… not so easily dismissed offhand.

    No one, including the author suggested anywhere in any way in her article that they discriminate against an ethnic group because they scared her. Her basic theme was around the idea that if a large group from a particular demographic acts in an extremely suspicious manner- especially having the circumstances described in the article- can they be confronted? We’re not talking about arresting, we’re simply discussing a confrontation. And that confrontation can be ANYTHING. The captain can simply ask that all passengers temporarily return to their seats- no explanation necessary. If a group of would-be terrorists need to piece together a bomb in flight, and at no time they can make contact with eachother, that simple act could deter an attack. It could force them into a desperate act outside of their plan, allowing air-marshalls or even other passengers to move into action.

    I for one do NOT dismiss this article out of hand. I think it raises some excellent point for debate. To just dismiss her points as vaguely racist or even just discriminatory is putting your head in the sand.

    Oh, and one last thing. I agree that the inclusion of quotes from a highly inflamatory pundit such as Ann Coulter could lessen the impact of her statements. But what Ann Coulter wrote regarding the specific policies of the Transportation Department are facts, not opinion. One may have a dispute with Ann Coulter, but those facts did not originate with Ms. Coulter, they’re transportation department rules.

  10. you’ll note that she has done plenty of flying with Muslims and Arabs (and Hindus)

    I’m not concerned with the Ann Coulter reference, since many times I agree with her. However, I don’t think she made it clear enough that Arabs and those from India and Pakistan are, generally speaking, not the same ethnicity. Just because she likes hangin’ with Indians doesn’t mean she likes hangin’ with the Syrians.

  11. Todd:

    have no information on this, but it seems to me that AQ would have abandoned the idea of using planes. Sure, they could probably blow one up in flight, but that’s been done. Flying one into a building isn’t going to work – a dogpile on the terrorists will

    If Al Qaeda is worth any salt, they won’t abandon anything. Don’t make the mistake of myopic thought. Sit in an armchair for an hour… 1 hour, and think of ways to kill people (not individuals, but groups). Al Qaeda operatives do this. They don’t need to fly the plane into a building. We can just blow one up in flight… you know, the way Arab terrorists have been doing for decades.

  12. I do think this article was riveting and brings up some good points. However, I’m stuck on two things. 1. These guys were searched at one point so it’s not like they could produce these things out of thin air after they were checked. I understand the point was that each person brings one thing to assemble the bomb but this also raises the chances that they are caught since each person has something potentially harmful. 2. I still don’t think it’s good strategy to scrutinize Arab men more than any others. We institute that policy and they will find a way around it and possibly exploit it. Furhtermore, if indeed they found nothing to arrest these men after they got off the flight, how would pre-screening helped. If they weren’t arrested, they must not have been doing anything wrong.

    Maybe they were a new breed of terrorists or activists. They didn’t kill anyone but they sure did scare a lot of people. Is that not one of the objectives of terrorism.

  13. I don’t think she made it clear enough that Arabs and those from India and Pakistan are, generally speaking, not the same ethnicity. Just because she likes hangin’ with Indians doesn’t mean she likes hangin’ with the Syrians.

    Whoa, whoa. Speaking for myself… I’m just not that world travelled. I’m not sure if I can tell the difference between a Jordanian, a Saudi, a Syrian, an Iraqi, an Iranian… This is a huge quantum leap to think that she’s hiding a crypto-racism against a PARTICULAR ethnicity of Arab. Most REAL racist people I’ve ever known don’t make such distinctions.

  14. Maybe they were a new breed of terrorists or activists. They didn’t kill anyone but they sure did scare a lot of people. Is that not one of the objectives of terrorism.

    Maybe AQ is dispatching legions of red herrings to act suspiciously without actually hurting anybody. Once American travelers are thoroughly accustomed to hordes of Arab men nodding at each other on airplanes, then and only then will the TRUE plot be unleashed.

    [insert maniacal cackling here]

  15. From reading the article, I would have been nervous in that situation too. And it would have been a good idea to get up and go check out the bathroom. Maybe even stink it up a little to discourage any bomb assembly.

    I would feel better about flying if the second amendment was valid in the air (and on the ground too, I guess), and some of my fellow passengers were packing.

    “Please remain calm, we have a bomb and we are… >POW POW POW

  16. Thoreau,
    This is no joke. Thankfully, we have an administration who thinks through these things and doesn’t rashly play into terrorists’ hands.
    Oh wait, shit.

  17. OK…everyone who worries about profiling, or doesn’t think that subjecting certain people to additional scrutiny is a good idea etc…

    If you are in the boarding area of your next cross-country flight, and you see several youngish, middle-eastern-looking guys, all apparently together, doing much of anything other than typical waiting for plane behavior (reading, watching CNN, talking on the phone, working on a laptop, or perhaps having a conversation) are YOU getting on that plane? If during boarding, you notice that people that were apparently together before are now sitting all over the plane, are YOU staying on the plane?

    There are a few things I’m willing to die for. Proving how un-prejudiced I am to a bunch of strangers isn’t one of them. I’m off that plane, and I won’t be shy about telling the airline or TSA why. I may end up looking like an asshole, but I’ll be alive. Small price to pay.

    When there’s a US plane hijacked by Presbyterians from Virginia, or militant atheists from Holland, or even Muslims from Indonesia, then I’ll reconsider who I’m suspicious of.

  18. “You can’t discriminate against ethnic groups just because they scare you.”

    A private business can discriminate against anyone they wish to discriminate against.

  19. “When there’s a US plane hijacked by Presbyterians from Virginia, or militant atheists from Holland, or even Muslims from Indonesia, then I’ll reconsider who I’m suspicious of.”

    How about a federal building or the Olympics being bombed by white guys?

    Here’s the thing that bugs me about her statement that she’s comfortable with Muslims. The example she uses is a plane headed to Pakistan and India. Gee, she’s one a plane headed to a country full of swarthy people and she’s comfortable being on a plane full of them. Imagine, a plane full of Muslims headed to Pakistan, what a friken surprise. How sweet. Why didn’t she just say, “Some of my closest friends are Muslim,” while she was at it. When those guys are the minority and spread out over the plane, look out!

    I do agree with one point, quotas on the number of people of any ethnicity being searched. If there are 20 sketchy people on a plane, I don’t want 18 to get off scot free because you can’t search more than 2 of a certain race.

    I admit, I’ve been creeped out by random sktechy Arab guys too, but this seems like a little bit of overreaction on her part. Check the bathroom for the bomb if she thinks they have one. These guys turned out to be clean (weren’t some of the 9-11 hijackers already on watch lists, unlike any of these musicians?). If these guys were assembling a bomb to blow up the plane, why would it matter if a guy was sitting next to the cockpit?

    One other thing, shortly after 9-11, I was living in NYC at the time, I was getting tired of all the dirty/scared looks I would get. If you met me, I would not set off any sort of sketchy Arab vibe at all. So as a retaliation, I would prey on people’s ignorance to sketch them out more. For example, I was standing in line at the gate of an airport and a lady looked at me, gave me the “Oh no, you’re gonna take over the plane” look and slowly creeped away from me. So I picked up my phone, called my brother and had a nice little conversation with him in Arabic. It was a harmless conversation, “Hi, how are you? Good, etc..” (of course, there were the requisite inshaAllahs and a gratuitous Allahuakbar).

    It scared the crap out of her and I saw her talk to the stewardess, but I had nothing to worry about because all I had was an mp3 player and Harry Potter Goblet of Fire in my bag. Yes, I know immature, but I was just as angry, scared and anti-terrorist as any other American after 9-11 and if you got looked at like you were one of those dirty fuckers to boot, you’d be upset too.

  20. “Not Dying for PC,”

    And you’re perfectly within your rights to not fly. That’s the whole point of a free market. I refuse to fly commercially for various reasons myself

    EcoDude,

    Tell that to the Housing and Urban Development. The airlines are federally subsidized. They can’t do racial profiling. But it was a nice try.

  21. Mo-

    That phone call story was hilarious. I’d probably do the same thing if I was in your shoes. Hell, I’d smile while doing it!

  22. Some of these comments are hilarious. I’m all for individual initiative, but if you think terrorists are assembling a bomb you should go check it out for yourself…?! Sure, folks. Maybe she could stick her arm in the waste container and see if she feels something suspicious. Brilliant.

    I thought the article was fascinating and quite believable.

  23. I imagine these InstaPundit readers who blather on about how it’s OK to be suspicious of Arabs, probably don’t personally know anyone of that ethnicity.

    I know several people who are of middle-eastern decent, and they are great people! One escaped Saddam-controlled Iraq many years ago, and supports the Iraq war, yet would be discriminated against by what should be compatriots.

    So I’m calling bullshit.

  24. Damn it feels good to be part of that miniscule population.

  25. “Tell that to the Housing and Urban Development. The airlines are federally subsidized. They can’t do racial profiling. But it was a nice try.”

    I should have stated that they should be allowed, not that they have the ability to do so. I take it that every entity that is subsidized shouldn’t have the ability to discriminate?

  26. Hi, this is the Hatrios Spider. My owner, ___The Lonewacko Blog___, asked me to spider this page and produce a report. I find this page has an Atrios index of ___0.7___ out of 1. That means the S/N ratio is __low__ and the comments are ___mostly self-congratulatory sarcastic jokes___. Please do better next time.

  27. Since I’m a hatemongering fascist, I would very much like private airlines to have the legal right to practice discrimination against passengers. If they don’t want to carry Arabs or Muslims, they shoulnd’t have to. If they want to apply stricter scrutiny to Arabs or Muslims than to Presbyterians, they should be allowed to do that, too. Nor should HUD or any federal agency be in the business of doling out taxpayer money to the airlines.

    As to Norman Mineta and his warning to airlines not practice discrimination, the fact is that my utopian, free-enterprise proposal is not law. The federal “civil rights” laws interfere with private companies that may want to choose their own customers or employees. Mineta shouldn’t be criticized for enforcing the laws Congress passed – if the laws are bad, Congress should deal with the problem. should Mineta and other executive – branch officials pick and choosing which laws to enforce? What if, hypothetically, they decided not to enforce the laws against torture?

    Perhaps Mineta has gone beyond the law in his zeal to root out discrimination. If so, he should be rebuked on those grounds, not on the Coulteresque charge of being some kind of a traitor.

  28. Paul,

    “To quickly dismiss any and ALL suspicious behavior under a blanket of civil rights is just a knee-jerk response”

    You are preaching to the wrong choir here. Such ‘knee-jerk’ response is the norm on this board. Don’t you see all the self-congratulatory posts about what all these enlightened souls would have done 🙂

    I think that she was over-reacting, but to dismiss her totally as a joke or worse, especially by people who would quote that “honest Wilson” guy to discredit Bush, is a shame.

  29. The article reads like a work of fiction. The concept is plausible, especially if you are familiar with Bruce Schneier’s writings on the state of airport security, but there are too many details in this that ring false to me.

  30. My conclusion from this is that we’d better forgo hosting the Olympics in this country for at least a decade, out of fairness to the teams from Arabic countries.

    If you had this same behaviour from Indians, Vietnamese or Chinese, you’d conclude it was clannishness, not terrorism.

  31. Wait, now I’m really curious. What happened to the stuff in the McDonalds bag if it wasn’t bombmaking materials? Did he eat while going to the bathroom? Was it a pack of cigarettes and some sort of smoke detector diabling device? Inquiring minds want to know.

  32. I agree that this story is a contrived one, aiming at one of several possible points about the nature of observation in an emotionally charged climate. Many details make it preposterous as alleged fact, given either the sinister or benign scenario.

    Regardless… my more conservative than libertarian father regularly makes an important point but fails to appreciate one of its most important implications. The point is that catastrophic damage could be done to the U.S., economincally and more directly in lives, by sabotage of virtually non-defensible public works (break levees, contaminate livestock, bomb aquifers, bridges, set fires) by enough individuals requiring little expertise or organization. Catastrophic. The implication is that the attacks on the Pentagon and the WTC were attacks, both practical and symbolic, against direct threats, and not merely an attempt to wreak as much havoc as possible on America or the West. If war of annihiliation was truly wanted by the other side (rather than just in their rhetoric), we would have been in it long ago over attacks on our water. Playing cat-and-mouse against elaborate airport schemes has long been a source of entertainment, however…

  33. The author of this story is amazingly observant. Much more observant than the average traveller, particularly travellers with young children. Which makes it all the more puzzling when the man with the goatee seated in 21E somehow ends up a row behind the nervous couple in 19. Other than that one small detail, she seems to know where all 14 men were for the entire duration of the flight.

    Here’s a seating chart of a Northwest 757-300: http://www.seatguru.com/northwest/B753.shtml

    Even if she was seated in 17C, the woman must have a neck like a giraffe. I’m not buying this story. It’s most likely just a ploy to drive traffic to Women’s Wall Street and it seems to be working.

    If the founder of WWS is the same David Bennett I believe he is, he’s worked for the RNC and some Repulican campaigns. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it probably explains the Anne Coulter reference.

  34. Flying one into a building isn’t going to work – a dogpile on the terrorists will stop that.

    If by “stop that” you mean “crash the plane and kill everyone on board”, then you’re right. That’s the best we’ve managed, to date, against an al Qaeda hijacking team.

    But I don’t understand why you think that would make the option less attractive to al Qaeda. In a best-case scenario, they seize the plane and crash it into its target, killing hundreds or thousands or people. In a worst-case scenario, the plane crashes, and they “only” kill hundreds of people. Once upon a time, a terrorist attack that “only” killed hundreds of people was a big deal. Hell, Palestinians detonate themselves on a semi-regular basis just to take a handful of Jews with them. It shouldn’t be hard to find four or five people willing to trade their lives for three hundred American casualties.

    If you had this same behaviour from Indians, Vietnamese or Chinese, you’d conclude it was clannishness, not terrorism

    That’s because there are virtually no Indian, Vietnamese, or Chinese terrorists in the world who wish to target the United States of America.

    If a black man saw a couple of white southerners walk past carrying some white sheets, a couple of big wooden beams, and a can of kerosene, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to wonder if they were Klan members heading to a cross-burning (although naturally he should investigate before hurling accusations). Nor would it be reasonable to point out that he wouldn’t have been suspicious if the men had been Chinese instead of white.

  35. We know that Al Qaeda has used African muslims (such as those from Morocoo) and even Indonesian Muslims and Pakistani Muslims. So anyone who went by the ME type is suspicious meme could miss other ethnicities. Al Qaeda could even use Chechens or Kosvars who might look like Esat Europeans.

    FWIW, I’ve seen too many people focus on turbans, but those people mostly happen to be Sikhs rather than Muslims.

  36. Hmm. McDonalds bag passed around, widespread lavatory use, the confined space of an airplane.

    They were probably testing a new form of chemical warfare.

    Maybe if we force them to take Beano, they’ll be no terrorism. 😎

  37. What I experienced during that flight has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats.

    Well, perhaps we should not be relying on the US government for such things in the first place?

    Ann Coulter: “Mineta fired off a letter to all U.S. airlines forbidding them from implementing the one security measure that could have prevented 9/11: subjecting Middle Eastern passengers to an added degree of pre-flight scrutiny.”

    Foolish, imbicile Ms. Coulter. The one security measure that could have prevented 9/11? Oh, I’m afraid not. You know what else might have prevented 9/11? If the passengers and/or pilots were allowed to carry firearms.

    Taking away civil liberties isn’t the only way to prevent crime and terrorism; giving back civil liberties will also do the trick. You think a criminal would try to rape a woman in a dark alley if there was a good chance she was packing a 9mm in her blouse?

  38. I don’t get the Instapundit/H&R relationship. Instapundit is worthless tripe and H&R is not. It’s like being called a Republican when people learn I’m a Libertarian.

  39. I don’t bother with Instahack, except to get a dose of outrage when he writes something particularly egregious. I don’t understand why H&R would want to equate itself with that drivel.

  40. All of that lengthy, lengthly (did I mention lengthy?) description of the suspicious behavior, and her proposed solution is to concentrate security precautions based on supposed ethnicity?

    Great idea, lady: Rajneesh Patel get the probe in his ass, and five twitchy Circassians in polo shirts and three Wahabbist converts from Minnesota don’t get a second look because they’re sufficiently white.

    I don’t really care if she is capable of being pleasant with “Hindu and Muslim men” in ordinary circumstances; when your mind immediately goes, against all logic, to race-based surveillance the moment a threat rears its head…well, it tells me something about you.

  41. Seriously, when Coulter pings Mineta for focusing security on behavior rather than ethnicity, it leads me to believe she’s got an agenda other than the most effective security measures.

  42. 1) Let’s put surveillance cameras in the johns, or take the doors off.

    2) Can a bomb be assembled from components which, by themselves, are unrecognizable as bomb components? I mean, at least one of the components contains a lump of nitrates, right? So how does the in-flight assembly tactic thwart detection?

    3) If I want to hire a band for an event in the USA, do I really need to send to Syria for *fourteen* guys? There aren’t any middle-eastern musicians looking for work right here in America?

  43. BTW, a thumbs down and a finger drawn across the neck? Come ON! They were fucking with you, lady.

  44. FWIW to you guys:

    http://michellemalkin.com/archives/000207.htm

    Regarding Annie Jacobsen’s intriguing article, I just got word from Dave Adams of the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAM). Adams confirmed that he spoke to Annie Jacobsen, was quoted accurately in her story, and confirmed some of the basic facts outlined in her article (there were 14 Syrians on the flight; they were questioned by the Los Angeles Police Department, FBI, FAM, and so on; they were a musical band).

  45. For the miniscule population that reads Hit & Run but not InstaPundit,

    I proudly join the others in this comment thread in proclaiming myself part of that “miniscule population.” Frankly, I find “Instapundit” to be absolutely insufferable. He may have gotten out in front of the curve in blogging but at some point he’ll be judged on his talents, which are few. Angrily spouting ideological missives and acting hypocritically gets old after a while.

  46. Assuming this account is and all true, and assuming these guys were murderous terrorists and not just the musical ones that assault our ears in cabarets all the time:

    It’s possible that this was some kind of dry run to test our response.

    It’s also possible that this was some kind of airline or even govt. sponsored incident to see what the crew and passenger response would be.

    Maybe the real objective was to see if a flight attendant would actually divulge to a scared passenger that there were air marshals on board.
    Couldn’t a terrorist cell sign on some lighter skinned guys to express fear and get information from the crew?

    In “Killin’ them softly”, (comedian) Dave Chapelle asks the audience if they ever see a group of black guys walking and sometimes they 1, 2, somtimes as many as 3 white guys walking with them. He says, “Let me tell you something, those white guys are the most dangerous motherfuckers in them groups. It’s no tellin’ what they’ve done to earn those black dudes respect.” He says that every group of black guys should have at least one white guy with them…for safety, “Cuz when the shit goes down, someone’s gonna need to talk to the police.”

    It is entirely possible for middle eastern terrorists to have white or black people working with them. I’d bet $50 that if this group of men had one or two white guys with them, the fear factor would have gone down quite a few notches. This is something I would imagine terrorists could exploit to their own benefit.
    A while back, the FBI released pictures of 7 suspected terrorists. One of them was a white US born citizen, much like John Walker Lindh. Imagine if they had shaved their beards and booked the same flight with these guys. They could either board with them and relax everyone or board separately and play the fear card for information.

    Our differential treatment, supported by stats. or not, of darker middle eastern people could be our own undoing. While everyone’s paying attention to the middle eastern decoys, the real lighter skinned terrorists could be finding out from flight attendants if there are air marshals on board or walking throught the cabin visually surveying the passengers to find out which ones to take out first ie., see if anyone else gives a hint that they would be willing to fight back in the case of a takeover.

    All of this assumes that terrorists would be dumb enough to try and hijack another plane, even if they survived the passenger revolt they would be shotdown unless that is their actual goal.

  47. One of the details that bugs me about this story is the fact that a flight attendant apparently told a passenger about the presence of FAM. Uh, someone please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that not even the captain of the plane is aware if marshals are on board… FAM likes to maintain their cover, even while in the terminal.

  48. Whatever these men were doing, it’s obvious they were trying as hard as possible to be noticed. Perhaps we should examine them using the psychology of musicians rather than of Middle Easterners. They might have thought it was a great gag to act as suspicious as possible, then show that there was nothing at all to charge them with. Stupid, but no stupider than other things tired traveling musicians have done.

    I have trouble understanding how the bomb assembly could work with none of the components being suspicious in themselves. Perhaps if each one brought a fourteenth of the necessary explosive mass in a McDonald’s bag, they could get through without setting off any alarms? Or perhaps one would bring a suitcase of fertilizer and another a suitcase of sulfur, each harmless in itself? Neither sounds likely. I’m not saying the scheme is impossible, but it’s difficult for me to think of a plausible scenario.

  49. I’m also kind of suspicious about the part where the flight attendant said there were air marshalls on board. Not being an air marshall myself I don’t know for sure what their procedures are, but it it seems really strange to me that they would tell the flight attendant.

    As for profiling: If Al Qaeda still has the infrastructure to recruit people and stage attacks, presumably it also has the ability to change recruitment strategy. Surely there must be a few Kosovar Muslims who fanatically hate the West. (Yes, I know, the West fought a war to protect the Kosovars, but there must be a handful of fanatics who hate the West anyway.) And I’ve met a few Turks with fairly light skin. I suspect that in places like Chechnya there must be a handful of fanatics whose features are more European rather than Central Asian. And although Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia are for the most part fairly moderate, surely there must be a handful of murderous thugs out of those millions. (Although that might backfire on Al Qaeda if we have another Wen Ho Lee scare and the Indonesian terrorist is caught at the airport with a Palm Pilot. “Sir, we have reason to believe that you’re stealing classified data from the US government.” “But I’m not even Chinese!” Meanwhile, the pen with a concealed blade is let right past security….)

  50. I don’t bother with Instahack, except to get a dose of outrage when he writes something particularly egregious. I don’t understand why H&R would want to equate itself with that drivel.

    Eh, Joe, look which neo-con member of the H&R team made this comment. Perhaps that answers your question.

  51. I don’t bother with Instahack

    I’m sure he’d be deeply hurt to hear that he’s beneath the notice of an anonymous Internet troll.

    I don’t understand why H&R would want to equate itself with that drivel.

    Maybe they’re hoping to raise themselves to his level of journalistic standards someday?

  52. Dan,

    I find it very amusing that you take issue with anonymous criticism of Prof. Hack.

    Since he provides no ability to comment on his posts, he’s not really all that strong is he?

    As for his “journalistic standards”, I think he’s pretty well demonstrated he does not follow any journalistic standards, so why are you defending him on those grounds?

    I view professor Reynolds this way: thank God there are laywers smart enough to render his mutterings moot.

    I read him once in while, hoping he will either start a dialog or contribute to one, but more often than not he’s just a liar starter.

  53. Why Reason have hired a right-wing neo-con is beyond me. I was under the impression Reason was libertarian not right-wing neo-con imperalism?

  54. Great idea, lady: Rajneesh Patel get the probe in his ass, and five twitchy Circassians in polo shirts and three Wahabbist converts from Minnesota don’t get a second look because they’re sufficiently white

    Are you arguing that al Qaeda could stage an “all-white” assault on the United States just as easilly as it could stage one of its usual “all-Arab” attacks? Because if you’re not — if you concede that al Qaeda would face difficultly fielding an all-Caucasian team — then you have to admit that profiling would, in fact, make things harder for al Qaeda.

    But assuming that you are, in fact, arguing that al Qaeda could just as easily mount an attack with “Wahabbist converts from Minnesota” as it could with Arabs, I have two questions:

    The first question is simple: do you have any evidence that this is the case? Because it’s not generally believed to be true. I don’t mean evidence that there are white members of al Qaeda (there are); I mean evidence there are *enough* white members of al Qaeda that they could launch an all-white offensive without sacrificing effectiveness.

    My second question: why didn’t they do this in the past? Why didn’t they use their all-white, all-American terrorist forces again American targets? On September 11th they used an all-Arab force, all from nations known to be anti-America, terrorist-affiliated, or both. All of these men were foreigners, many of them were illegal immigrants, and all of them needed phony pretenses under which to stay in the United States. Clearly this made their mission far more difficult and far more likely to come to the attention of law enforcement before it could be carried out. Furthermore, even pre-9/11 Americans were more suspicious of Arabs than of most other ethnicities, due to past Arab terrorist acts against the United States. This made people more suspicious of them (e.g. James Woods), and again raised the risk of detection. So, tell me, why did Osama bin Laden use an Arab force on 9/11? Why did he use an Arab force in the *first* World Trade Center attack? Why not just get a couple of New Yorkers to blow the thing up? At least they’d have a plausible excuse for hanging around New York all the time.

    Let me answer that for you: because there are a neglibile number of white Americans in al Qaeda, and none of them has ever been placed in a position of trust. The reason al Qaeda didn’t stage the attacks using a bunch of Minnesotans or Circassians to stage the attacks is that they didn’t *have* the Minnesotans or Circassians to stage the attack with.

    Now, does that mean it makes sense to assume that white guys can’t be al Qaeda operatives? No. But what it does mean that any given randomly-chosen Arab guy is a hell of a lot more likely to be an al Qaeda terrorist than any given randomly-chosen white guy. Which means that it makes statistical sense to focus the bulk of your random testing on Arabs (without, obviously, giving everyone else a free pass).

    I’m not advocating the use of profiling, but I am certainly advocating that people stop pretending that racial profiling wouldn’t be effective. There’s no doubt that it would be effective; it’s just probably unconstitutional.

  55. I am neither anonymous nor a troll, Dan.

    And Richard Reid ain’t Syrian.

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