Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Internment and racial profiling
My racial profiling article—Mineta is Repeating the Internment Mistake—was published in January of 02. Its central point is that internment did a lot of harm (not necessarily more harm than good, but a lot of harm) because it failed to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. In contrast, searching Middle Eastern and Pakistani looking men at airports has the precise purpose and effect of distinguishing the guilty from the innocent, so that the guilty can be interdicted while the innocent are left unscathed. An excerpt:
The analog to internment, in the instance of airline security, would be to not let the profiled group fly. Letting them fly, on condition that we search them, minimizes the harm. The profiled group isn't actually harmed at all. They don't even have to wait longer at the airport than anyone else. Everyone waits while they are searched. Indeed, the profiled group benefits along with everyone else. They get to keep their lives, when body searches of young Arab and other Muslim men stops would-be hijackers from bringing weapons onto planes. If only blue eyed people such as myself were terrorists, you can bet I would want every blue eyed passenger to be searched before I got on a plane.
I heard that this article convinced a number of people who had been against the use of racial profiling to change their minds. Yeah, like anyone who read it.
It should be noted that internment did try to be selective. The idea was that internment would only be required for those who renounced allegiance to the United States (as 5000 Japanese-Americans did immediately after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor), and for those who refused to both swear allegiance to the United States and to forswear allegiance to foreign potentates, as every naturalized citizen is required to do. (14,000 of these “no-no boys” were interned at Tule Lake.) Other Japanese-Americans had to leave the militarily sensitive west coast Evacuation Zone, but internment was not nominally a requirement. It turned into a de facto requirement for many, however, when other parts of the United States refused to accept large numbers of these evacuees.
I also wrote an article about United States v. Korematsu, the Supreme Court case that upheld the constitutionality of internment. That article—“The end of equal protection: from Korematsu to Bollinger”—traces back to Korematsu our current very loose standard for allowing constitutional provisions to be overridden. Doesn’t it seem strange that any “compelling state interest” should constitute sufficient grounds for overturning a constitutional provision? Shouldn’t constitutional provisions only give way when they conflict with other constitutional provisions?
The “compelling state interest test” is now used to re-open for consideration political questions that were settled at the highest democratic level: the super-majority process for passing and amending the Constitution. Consider the free speech example. What is the best way to get at the truth? Should we let reason and evidence duke it out with demagoguery and trust that truth will win out when speech is free, or should be try to set up a system of regulated speech, somehow designed to try to get at the truth? The Constitution settled this question, but the “compelling state interest test” opens it back up. The state has a compelling interest in the truth. Under current Supreme Court Jurisprudence, that is all that legislatures need to re-enter and re-decide this question. Thus we now have the criminalization of political speech. (The Court's new First Amendment jurisprudence does not directly follow from Korematsu's equal protection precedent, but it is a near cousin, invoking the same concepts.)
In effect, the Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land, and it all started with Korematsu, where the Supreme Court decided that the Constitution needed a little fixing. The correct ruling, you see, would have been that Korematsu had no case because the Fourteenth Amendment, and hence the "equal protection" clause that Korematsu was appealing to, only applies to the states, not to the federal government. The Court understood that the President's war fighting powers take precedence over equal protection in any case, but it couldn't stomach the idea that the feds don't have to abide by the equal protection requirement, so it fudged all distinction between state and federal. Since the federal interest at stake was a constitutional power, this meant fudging the distinction between constitutional provisions and generic state interests. In attempting to fix the Constitution, the Court planted the seeds of destruction. A fascinating story.
UPDATE: I also have an internment cartoon!
Trying to impose some logic on Mr. Derek's illogic, he seems to be assuming that only Sunni al Qaeda are terrorists. In that case, profiling Persians along with other Muslims would be casting too wide a net, since Persians are Shiite instead of Sunni.
But this distinction is absurd. Ideologically, there is no difference beween al Qaeda's Sunni Wahabbism and Persian Iran's Shiite Khomeini-ism. Both regard violent conquest and world domination as the primary dictates of Islam.
Iran has been the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism since 1979. Persian men most definitely need to be high on the list of people to profile for terrorist activity, not because they are al Qaeda, but because the government of Iran, and a substantial minority of Iranian subjects, are murder-minded Islamofascists.
The interesting thing to note here is Mr. Andrew's cognitive style. He does not even TRY to think straight. He just looks for some excuse for dismissing the substance of opposing views without having to comprehend them. For this purpose, the dismissive excuse he comes up with doesn't have to make any sense at all, as Derek demonstrates.
The particular excuse he comes up with is ludicrous: accusing me of saying that al Qaeda is comprised of Persians, in a post that mentions neither al Qaeda nor Persians. This isn't just misdirection that he puts out there for other people's consuption. This is what goes on inside his OWN HEAD.
Derek grasps for any excuse NOT to comprehend opposing viewpoints. Since his goal is to AVOID thinking straight, any non-sensical excuse will suffice.
Ironically, this self-lobotimized leftist just accused me in another comment thread of not listening to other viewpoints (when in fact I was responding to what another person actually said, not to a mischaracterization of what was said, as Mr. Andrew prefers).
"The particular excuse he comes up with is ludicrous: accusing me of saying that al Qaeda is comprised of Persians, in a post that mentions neither al Qaeda nor Persians." - Alec Rawls
Is that what you consider straight talk?
Additionally, I have never claimed that only Sunnis are engaged in terrorism. I was merely demonstrating your naivete in relation to the topic. I don't have a problem with people having opposing views--I have a problem with liars.
It is an absurd cavil in any case, since there is no ideological difference between Wahhabist al Qaeda and the Khomeini-ists. If you don't want to be made fun of for claiming things not referenced in the commented on post, provide the citation. Call me a liar again and you are just going to get deleted.
The only comments worth making are about substance. If you don't have anything substantive to say, just keep your mouth shut.
a) the lie had nothing to do with you not knowing what claim i was referencing, the lie comes from the claim its self.
b) "there is no ideological difference between Wahhabist al Qaeda and the Khomeini-ists."
This is completely untrue. I will concede that there are many similarities, but just because there are plenty of similarities does not mean that there are no differences.
c) You did say that Al-Qaeda was comprised of Persians. This is something that you said that was not true.
d) These erroneous claims demonstrate a substantial lack of knowledge on the topics you are writing about. Somebody who makes such erroneous claims should not be trusted. There is nothing substantive about these false claims. You can delete my comments, but you can not delete the fact that you have repeatedly make false claims. Instead of lashing out, you should own up to your mistakes, regroup your thoughts, and then move forward. You could make reasonable arguments if they were not clouded by the false claims that go along with them.
About your trivial cavil: I DID acknowledge that the quote from the article five years ago was not precise. That was implied by my pointing out how trivial this cavil was. Do I have to be more specific?
Yes, when I listed Persians amongst those who might be terrorists, I should have noted that not many al Qaeda terrorists would be Persian, but I'm sure that even my imprecise statement is more accurate than your presumption that there are no Persians in al Qaeda. Persians are a blood group, not a religion, and some al Qaeda groups, like Ansar al-Islam, have operated on the Iranian border and inside Iran for years. A lot Ansar terrorists probably have Persian blood without even knowing it, which goes directly to my point: that we need to be profiling those with middle-eastern blood.
I have no problem with going back and forth about any important point. What is disgusting about Derek is this cognitive style of looking for the shallowest little excuses he can find for dismissing my analyses as "completely deprived of depth." The intellectual dishonesty is just foul.
As per racial profiling, In 1995 two fundamentalist Christians, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. Should the United States have racially profiled white christian males after that attack? What about after the 20+ bombings and shootings at Abortion Clinics over the past 16 years carried out by people like Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, and Peter James. Sll of which have been linked to a similar movement as that of McVeigh and Nichols. Should the Irish be profiled because of the conduct of the IRA? Wait, that's merely a blood group, to stay consistent with your logic I'll expand my question to include Catholics in general.
Although I find these crimes horrific, I'd say it wasn't a mistake for the United States to not single out white christian males. However, of you were in anyway consistent you'd say yes, but I have a feeling you won't.
Essay on Racial Profiling