Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More barbarity in Iraq

From Reuters:
Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said adults in a vehicle with two children in the backseat were allowed through a Baghdad checkpoint on Sunday.

The adults then parked next to a market in the Adamiya area of Baghdad, abandoned the vehicle and detonated it with the children still inside, according to the general and another defense official.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the description is accurate, then that's not really a suicide attack, is it?

Anyway, this highlights how high the tension and uncertainty of trying to police a checkpoint. Profiling is really an uneasy balance; sure, young men travelling alone or in groups are the most likely terrorists, but terrorists can take advantage of that knowledge and send women or children on missions to try to catch guards unawares.

It works both ways flying on airplanes at home, too. Considering the profiles of the 9/11 attackers, the TSA would be nuts not to view groups of young Arab men with suspicion (while still treating them with courtesy and respect and letting them on their way assuming everything checks out OK). But at the same time, the white grandmother who gets pulled aside for a random check shouldn't act all indignant, either. If the TSA were to make a blanket policy of "we don't check white grandmothers" or "we won't check inside diaper bags," well, who do you think al Qaeda's next recruits would look like, and where would they hide their weapons? Use judgement based on past experience, but don't have blind faith in your preconceived notions.

6 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 3:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous clynne said...

Oh, that's awful.

I'm so glad all Mom and Dad ever did was drag me to anti-abortion marches...

 
At Friday, March 23, 2007 at 4:12:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Victor said...

If the TSA were to make a blanket policy of "we don't check white grandmothers" or "we won't check inside diaper bags," well, who do you think al Qaeda's next recruits would look like, and where would they hide their weapons?

That would be a good argument if Al Qaeda could recruit white grandmothers on demand, as efficiently as before, and with no opportunity costs, actual or perceived, as easily as North Carolina or Duke might choose to concentrate on recruiting guards rather than forwards based on who's coming back next year.

Therefore, it is not.

 
At Friday, March 23, 2007 at 4:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Victor said...

the TSA would be nuts not to view groups of young Arab men with suspicion (while still treating them with courtesy and respect and letting them on their way assuming everything checks out OK).

Again, that makes a mighty big assumption, one that misses exactly the point about how to play the contemporary game of ethnic privilege. Arabs and Muslims, along with other liberal and ethnic-complaint groups, already see profiling as always and inherently NOT treating them with courtesy and respect. What you're calling for, Adam, is an oxymoron in their view. It's like trying to explain (actually, not just "like") why "unjust discrimination" in Church teaching in re homosexuality =/= "all discrimination."


But at the same time, the white grandmother who gets pulled aside for a random check shouldn't act all indignant, either.

Why shouldn't she? The Arab males are already getting all indignant and even trying to chill other passengers.

 
At Saturday, March 24, 2007 at 2:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I know CAIR doesn't approve of *any* racial profiling, even when it, you know, actually makes sense and all, but you can't please everybody.

But anyway, I think al Qaeda likes getting people like Richard Reid, Jose Padilla, and Adam Gadahn to do their work precisely because non-Arabs attract less suspicion at security checkpoints. And Palestinians are using female suicide bombers for the same reason. It would probably be difficult to find someone, but it wouldn't be out of the question to find some kind of unhinged white American woman above the age of 50 who thinks ANSWER just isn't radical enough and that submitting to Sharia females-as-chattel rules is being "culturally sensitive" to work with al Qaeda.

Yeah, there are probably 100,000 male middle-easterners in their 20s willing to work with them for every woman fitting the above description, but it only takes one person to set off a bomb.

 
At Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 9:12:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Pat said...

That would be a good argument if Al Qaeda could recruit white grandmothers on demand, as efficiently as before, and with no opportunity costs

Victor ->

Richard Reid is the first example that springs to mind, there are some other examples of people not fitting a profile here:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/07/profiling.html

 
At Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 9:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

You can also add Australian David Hicks to the list:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6494281.stm

 

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