the north wind and the sun

alternate titles here

say again?

if i had my way no arab would board a plane without undergoing a full luggage search and extensive searches of their persons… it causes only minor inconveniences to those involved while providing greater security to everyone else involved.  its a win win as far as i am concerned

and later on in our conversation…

it deprives them of nothing, and if they feel shame at being so treated i think that they should feel even more shame that there exists a rational basis for it

clearly, my friend is a racist jerk… but that isn’t the point. he also apparently no longer believes in the individual or the principles of our justice system… but that isn’t the point either. (both should be obvious.) my concern is that his being racist is threatening my life, and prolonging what should have been an easy war.

racial profiling makes america unsafe. in case that isn’t clear, let me start with the ideal.

the virtuoso strategy in the WoT isolates terrorists from the broader community. the objective is to marginalize those who cannot be convinced, while pulling all others into the fold. it encourages moderates to feel welcomed by the west, broadening the gap with the extremists. with intel, targeted action is taken against those who cannot be convinced, using police or military as appropriate.

this works, because, as any counterinsurgency expert will tell you, insurgents rely on sympathy inside the communities they use as a base. without that sympathy, they simply cannot function. recent events play this out. it was a tip – from inside the Muslim community – that foiled the liquid bomb plot. without that tip, the scenario is grim:

If we hadn’t got the intelligence, they probably would have succeeded and there would have been little or no forensic evidence showing how they had done it. The modus operandi could have made waves of attacks feasible. [via informed comment]

virtually all our intel – even in the cold war – comes from sympathetic insiders. this isn’t exactly a secret. intel is what wins wars. even hard-line macho tom clancy notes (read patriot games) that intelligence wins or loses antiterror operations. having friends and allies in the international community means you’ll have good intel. having friends inside the muslim community brings good intel. making enemies hurts america.

racial profiling involves a fundamental misreading of what actually makes us safe. it encourages fear and resentment within the muslim community, and fear and resentment targetted at the muslim community. the more people feel excluded, the more hatred we fuel, the longer this war goes on.  and the fewer tips we get.

sure, some prefer to terrorise – to use fear and intimidation – to break wills. we call them bad guys. guy of gisbourne was a fan of this strategy, Col. William Tavington

the good guys (us, i hope) are supposed to opt for winning hearts and minds. 

but – no – instead hezbollah takes the fore, bringing aid to victims in southern lebanon:

the most extravagant element of Hezbollah’s plan is to provide a year’s rent and a set of new furniture for every family whose house has been destroyed. The promise was made by Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, within hours of Monday’s ceasefire.

The housing scheme will benefit 15,000 families, Nasrallah said, and will cost up to US$150 million, according to one estimate.

having already won admiration for going the distance (like rocky), this will entrench hezbollah even deeper in the region.

tying this together, the gut instict to cave to fear and respond with intimidation and violence hurts america.  this is obvious from news stories.  it is even embodied in aesop’s fables, like the old battle between the wind and the sun. so stop with the false righteousness, and start worring about how to protect america.

(six lessons from london airline plots)

ps:  on the rational basis of this: richard mason unravels it. terrorists can easily recruit converts and without cost make extra security procedures useless.  (don’t forget Anne Marie Murphy, etc…)

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