Political Correctness and 9/11
Vol: 8 Issue: 25 Saturday, May 25, 2002
America is slowing coming to the realization, however unwilling, that the catastrophic failure of the intelligence system on 9/11 was in part the consequence of political correctness and decades of liberal re-education.
The evidence was all there; the FBI failed to pull it together, the CIA failed to take into account what the FBI didn t know, those charged with briefing the president failed to take into account what nobody told them and then it was time to find somebody to blame.
A weak partisan effort to blame the administration failed when it became obvious there was more than enough blame to go around.
It is the Congress charged with the oversight of the intelligence community, not the administration.
The failure was real. But it failed long before Mr. Bush went to Washington.
One of the reasons the FBI failed so abysmally to connect the dots regarding all the memos about Middle Eastern men taking flight training was the FBI s self-imposed and rigidly practiced polices against racial profiling.
This caveat: Being against racial profiling is not the equivalent to blind political correctness. It was born out of good intentions, and to address genuine wrongs.
As a young police officer in Texas I personally witnessed the dark side of racial profiling and its consequences in the black American community.
We view racism as an evil in any form, whether directed against black or white, Jew or Arab.
But common sense must play a role. The FBI refused to profile Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. Not because they couldn t, but because that would create a database profiled by race.
It isn t like we didn t know about al-Qaeda, bin-Laden or Islamic terror against US targets prior to 9/11.
The refusal to profile potential terrorists by race has been cited indirectly by virtually every DoJ apologist as one of the failures that led up to 9/11.
The policy continues into the New Normal, but more people are beginning to question the wisdom of things like random checks at airports in the New Normal.
Like the one involving 87 year-old Joe Foss, famous WWII aviator, Medal of Honor winner and former governor of South Dakota.
Foss was sent to secondary inspection while others fitting the profile of an Islamic terrorist, [young men of Middle Eastern descent], boarded unchallenged.
Racial profiling can be ugly; there were a few instances following 9/11 in which men fitting the profile were refused boarding passes simply because of their race.
But being blown to pieces in an airplane is uglier.
Having a policy of inspecting those who fit the profile of a Middle Eastern terrorist would be inconvenient.
One would think that Americans of Middle Eastern descent are no less eager to board an aircraft with a terrorist than would Americans of any other background.
The same applies to allowing the FBI and other intelligence and anti-terror organizations to compile investigative databases using the profile that fits the threat.
It would be an inconvenience to those being profiled, a waste of hours and manpower that would inevitably be expended barking up the wrong tree, but it might have cross-referenced Zacaraias Mousaoui with the other 19 hijackers who were also learning how to fly jumbo jets, but not necessarily how to take off or land them.
There are a lot of ‘what-ifs’ and any kind of racial profiling would be a policy fraught with dangers to civil liberties.
But somewhere in the mix there has to be some measure of common sense and a recognition of the reality of war.
You can apologize to the inconvenienced or the embarrassed, but you can t apologize to the dead.