Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Thieving from the blogs Inspired by the blogs: Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker's latest piece is appears to be based on comments made by one of the readers at littlegreenfootballs.com.
Let's go even further: assume that the FBI had information on the exact date, time, flight number, and descriptions of suspects. So they raid all the planes, and arrest the 19 dirtbags.
...And then what? Not much, I imagine. Oh, CAIR and it's ilk would be having a fit, of course, complaining to everyone including George W. about profiling and unfair targeting of Arab-Americans. After all, just what did the FBI find? Some box cutters? Those aren't illegal on airplanes. Flight manuals? These men were all attending accredited flight schools, trying to achieve the American dream, etc. etc. So they had one-way tickets: is that a crime? Funeral shrouds? Are you honestly arresting these men for bringing white sheets onto a plane? Korans? So because these men are pious Muslims, you dare to assume...! And really, folks, come on: flying a Boeing into a skyscraper? You've been watching too many movies! Who would come up with something this complicated, when a truck bomb in a garage would do just as well?
And so on and so on. I'm sure at least half these men would have been released within a couple of days. Profiling would be discussed at length on CNN and PBS. Several specials would be made, with weeping, hijab-wearing photogenic young women, describing in perfect Midwestern English the ordeal of being singled out by airport security. American Airlines would issue an apology, and make a contribution to the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Society, with a promise of more "outreach efforts." Norman Mineta would be outraged! and put in all sorts of new restrictions designed specifically to avoid giving extra scrutiny to "people of Middle Eastern appearance." (hey! wait a second!) George W. would go on the record saying that "pro-filling" is "discriminatational" and against everything he holds dear. Clinton would tell a story of his Lebanese-American great-uncle who was once denied entry into the White House. Al Gore would talk about his years of service under Lawrence of Arabia. Pretty soon, the whole thing would be forgotten as another embarrasing example of the Latent Racism in American Society.
Until one day, another group of men board an airliner...
The writer, who identified himself (or herself?) only as "Enough," was quoted extensively, including by the Washington Post's own Howard Kurtz.
The last time something along these lines occurred, the perpetrator was The Boston Globe's sole conservative commentator Jeff Jacoby. Jacoby ended up being suspended for four months without pay.
Will Parker suffer the same fate?