Santorum, Cain and Paul on Profiling Muslims
November 25, 2011, 10:28 PM
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Profiling Muslims would make our air travel safer and failure to do so was a cause of the 9/11 terrorist attack. [See Ten Years After 9/11 - Can We Have Israel-Style Airport Security Profiling Now, Please?]

Now the topic has entered the Republican presidential campaign, and several candidates have commented on it. Here are some excerpts from the Nov. 22nd national security debate, in which Wolf Blitzer asks candidates Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Herman Cain about the subject. (Source:Santorum Supports Profiling Muslims Fox News, Nov. 22nd, 2011)

“BLITZER: Senator Santorum, under certain circumstances in the past, you've supported profiling. Is that correct?

SANTORUM: I have.

BLITZER: What do you have in mind?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, I think TSA is a good example of that. We should be trying to find the bomber, not the bomb. Other countries have done it. Israel is probably the best example of that....

BLITZER: So just to be precise, is it ethnic profiling, religious profiling? Who would be profiled?

SANTORUM: Well, the folks who are most likely to be committing these crimes. If you look at — I mean, obviously, it was — obviously, Muslims would be — would be someone you'd look at, absolutely. Those are the folks who are — the radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes, as we've — by and large, as well as younger males.

I mean, these are things that — not exclusively — but these are things that you profile to — to find your best — the most likely candidate.”

Santorum has brought the actual Muslim question into the debate, and I think that took courage.       

Next, Wolf asks Ron Paul about it and his response, frankly, was an incoherent jumble. I don't think Ron Paul has really thought through the issue.

“PAUL: That's digging a hole for ourselves. What if they look like Timothy McVeigh? You know, he was a pretty tough criminal.

I think we're using too much carelessness in the use of words that we're at war. I don't remember voting on — on a declared — declaration of war. Oh, we're against terrorism.”

Paul is mixing up several different topics without addressing the actual question.

“And terrorism is a tactic. [Good point]. It isn't a person. It isn't a people. [No, but there is a specific people whose religion predisposes them to terrorism against all those they see as their enemies.]

So this is a very careless use of words. What about this? Sacrifice liberties because there are terrorists? You're the judge and the jury? No, they're suspects.

And they have changed the — in the — in DOD budget they have changed the wording on the definition of al-Qaeda and Taliban. It's anybody associated with organizations, which means almost anybody can be loosely associated so that makes all Americans vulnerable. [ Huh? All Americans?]

And now we know that American citizens are vulnerable to assassination. [Here he must be talking about the late Anchor Baby Terrorist.]

So I would be very cautious about protecting the rule of law. It will be a sacrifice that you'll be sorry for. “

With all due respect to Ron Paul and the admirable work he's done through the years, his whole response here is an incomprehensible mishmash. The candidate needs to really think through this issue and not just repeat slogans.

Next, we have Herman Cain, who hem-haws around the subject, and calls Wolf Blitzer "Blitz". But if you follow his logic, it would lead you about to what Santorum said. 

“BLITZER: Herman Cain, let's bring you into this conversation. Are you with Senator Santorum when he says that there should be religious profiling, that Muslims in particular should get extra screening when they go — go through airports?

CAIN: I believe we can do a whole lot better with TSA. And I called it, targeted identification.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

CAIN: We can do — we can do — targeted identification. If you take a look at the people who are trying to kill us, it would be easy to figure out exactly what that identification profile looks like...”

[Hmmm, and what exactly might that identification profile look like?]

“BLITZER: Now, just to be precise, Mr. Cain. I just want to — I'll give you a chance. Is it OK for Muslim Americans to get more intensive pat downs or security when they go through airports than Christian Americans or Jewish Americans?

CAIN: No, Blitz. That's oversimplifying it. I happen to believe that if — if you allow our intelligence agencies to do their job they can come up with an approach — I'm sorry, Blitz, I meant Wolf, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

This was — since we on a — since we on a blitz debate, I apologize. Wolf, what I'm saying is let's ask the professionals to give us an approach of how we can increase the identification of people that might be a danger to civilians as well as a danger to this nation.

BLITZER: Thank you, Cain.”

 

Profiling nowadays has an undeserved bad reputation. But if properly conducted, profiling is a very effective security practice. It’s a way of using resources to study  patterns, to tell us what kinds of persons we need to look out for.

It’s not just about paying extra attention to Muslims. It’s paying attention to a suspect’s behavior, to his associates, to his past, to what he has actually said and done.

Kudos to Santorum for having the courage to defend profiling.