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Friday, 30 July 2004

Xenophobia

Almost 60% of Arab Muslims living in the US fear for the future of their families. And why wouldn't they when "over 40% of the general population would support the detention of Arabs and Muslims without the evidence to prosecute them?"

It's time to talk strategies. Aside from the moral rightness or wrongness of this approach, let's look at whether or not it would work. Helpfully, MIT publishied a study where they explain a terrorist technique called the Carnival Booth Algorithm. This study applies to airplanes, but it has broader applications.

Let's say that you do extra scrutiny on every Arab immigrant and hassle all sorts of people who just look Muslim. Great, then, since we've got that uner control, we can let our gaurd down. Well, no we cannot. There are American-born folks from AMrin County who look just like everybody else who will be happy to commit terrorist acts. Detaining arabs would not have prevented to Oaklahoma City Bombing. If the terrorists can tell ahead of time who is likely to be detained, they will deploy people who are unlikely to be detained. And, as there are only so many resources for fighting crime (even Batman has to sleep), the chances that somebody who does not fit the terrorist profile gets stopped goes down. If we harass people who "look like" terrorists, we make it easier for terrorists who don't look the part to commit terrorist acts.

there is an additional problem of why people become terrorists. The number of actual terrorists is very small. the number of potential terrorists is higher. Potential terrorists have not committed any crimes and may never commit crimes. Let's say that we detain 1K arabs, because one of them might be a terrorist. Some of those people will become very angry. some of them may become terrorists. Because there are so few terrorirsts out there, we're much more likely, through random race-based detentions, to create terrorist sympathy and potential terrorists, some of whom will become actual terrorists. humiliating people based on their race, unsurprisingly, makes us less safe. Think of the Rodney King Riots here. A class of people became violently angry because of routine mistreatment by law enforcement. What 40% of Americans support would actually be worse. Cuz if cops can arrest Arabs without cause, then arabs are a criminal class. whenever a group becomes a criminal class, cops treat them differently. When people are presumed to be guilty, cops will mistreat them. Random dententions of arabs would, unquestionably, lead to police beatings, jail beatings, etc. All that and held without charges too. The victims of this, the class of people who identitfy wiht it, would become angry. some of them would become violently angry. It seems like, rather than creating additonal terrorists so that we could kill them, we might want to cut down on the numbers of people who become terrorists, potential terrorists or terrorist sympathisers.

and finally, most violent crime in the US is committed by white men. More people die from that that from terrorist actions. So, to be logical, let's detain all white men until they can prove they're not violent criminals. Cuz if it makes sense to detain Muslims without evidence, it makes more sense to detain white guys. Cuz white guys kill a lot more people every year. What? Not in favor? I wonder why.

1 comment:

yesyouam said...

nice!
sign me up for that!
do i get "three hots and a cot"?

there was one thing that was always stressed in intelligence school-- whenever you start stereotyping your "enemy", you are going to skew your accuracy of your assessments. i remember a guy letting some pretty ignorant racist shit roll off his tounge while putting some intel together in the gulf and he was OUTTA there.

i like your approach here, because i think to myself "well yeah, picking on people because of their race and taking rights away from people because of their religion is just f-ed up."-- it's a really base instinct that i don't have to give any thought to. when i think about it, it's probably the same way that a bigot feels: "colored kids in school? reckon i don't rightly like the sound of that!" on a conscious level, both of us are reaching our decisions the same way.

i like taking the argument out of that realm and trying to weigh it objectively, regardless of what i "know" is right. logical arguments should be our moral vanishing point. when we skew from this, our bones should tell us so... and if they don't, we have the barometer of logic.