This video of Janet Napolitano answered question is really worth seeing to get an insight into the mind and thought process of the typical politician. In the video (below) a reporter Ray sensibly asks how it is that the government can reconcile the need for effective security measures and intelligence, while at the same time solemnly promising never to take race or ethnicity into account while screening people. In other words, how can we catch the terrorists if we can’t look for middle Easterners, or Muslims?
And then, Janet Nepolitan, in a bored and arrogant voice, explains that apparently looking for Muslims, while we are looking for terrorists, is “not logical”. Her “logic” is that simply looking for Muslims is not sufficient to find terrorists. That we must also look for Muslim radicals, and people who come from certain countries with certain travel patterns. I suppose if she thinks that this silly answer is good enough to get the reporters to shut up, but it does not answer the question, and represents a straw man argument.
Whenever opponents talk about profiling, they always use the grossest and crudest example to attack it. When looking for terrorists, no intelligent person is saying just to stop at the fact that they are Muslims. We should give even more attention, not just the Muslims, but to Muslims with Islamic dress and long beards; we should focus on Muslims that meet suspicious patterns; on Muslims that come from certain countries, etc. etc. No one is saying that a profile, that happens to include race or ethnicity as one of the factors in the equation, is necessarily going to stop there. The best profiling is usually rather sophisticated, and is looking for people that fit a fairly precise description. A profile is constructed by using multiple variables that fits the type of suspect that the government should be on lookout for. There are many factors that fall into this equation: age, sex, general demeanor, and yes, even race and ethnicity. As much as we would like to pretend that we should never take race or ethnicity into account when looking for criminals, the reality is that it is an important variable to include in the surveillance process. Simply trying to find criminals or terrorists by randomly stopping people, is like trying to randomly find a needle in a haystack. Is infinitely more effective to focus the search on the most probable type of person who is likely to commit a crime. Not only is the profile method much more effective, but it also largely avoids having to drag the entire citizenry through the security sieve, as we have seen with the intrusive, abusive, and general pain in the butt TSA, which does a lot of good spending a lot of money, and inconveniencing people, while doing a terrible job of actually catching terrorists.
I believe that Janet Napolitano knows that she is talking pure BS. I don’t think he’s that stupid, although in the interest of her career, and her conscience, she may have actually willed herself to believe that the nonsense spewing out of her is actually the height of “logic”. What this simply shows is that people who get to high places, especially in government, have to play endless politics, lie constantly, and essentially sell their soul so as to be able to play the game. And the game right now is political correctness. “Profiling”, despite its obvious benefits and necessity, is a dirty word that no politician, especially Democratic, wants to touch with a 10 foot pole, or it would be the end of their career.