This week's column takes us through the looking glass ....
It's more than passing strange when a former CIA director and the head of an Islamic advocacy group arrive at the same place on profiling terrorists -- or, rather, not profiling terrorists. I refer to ex-spy chief James Woolsey and executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Nihad Awad, whose post-Abdulmutallab (the underpants bomber) statements are startlingly similar.
First, Awad's statement. It is pointed as befits a media-trusted quote-meister - a gig unchanged, shockingly, by Awad's past links to Hamas and other jihadist groups, and CAIR's status as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate. "First look at behavior, not at faith or skin color," Awad told the New York Times. "Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects."
Operative message: Ignore Islam. Watch for suspicious behavior and beef up the security gauntlet. That's a sure-fire way to deny the existence of jihad and never end it, choosing instead to submit indefinitely to its untenable siege, equal parts frightening, humiliating and inconvenient. But -- and this is where things get really disturbing -- Woolsey's idea of deterrent strategy is no different.
"I don't think we should focus just on people from the Middle East," he told National Review Online, euphemistically dismissing the heart of the Islamic world. "But generally speaking, we are talking about males in their late teens to 40 or so. I don't see any reason why one shouldn't put young men under particularly rigorous scrutiny and double-check all of them."
All of them? To Woolsey, this counts as being tough-minded. "You really have to be an extremist with respect to political correctness to think you can't treat young men differently from grandmothers."
He added: "My family, we're all WASPS. All three of my sons say we should be scrutinizing people like them: guys in their 20s and 30s. They say they'd be glad to go through three checks at the airport."
Is he kidding? Nope. He wants us to believe that generic "young men," not agents of Islamic jihad, are the problem. "Behavioral distinctions are also something to focus on," he continued. "People who are acting funny, people who don't have baggage, people who pay in cash. Those things have nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or religion and seem entirely appropriate as reasons for double-checking or having them go through special scanning machines."
Woolsey's message is the same as CAIR's: Ignore Islam. Look at behavior, and beef up the security gauntlet. Oh, and watch those young WASP men. And thank goodness, his message implies, "acting funny" has nothing to do with "race, ethnicity or religion." Because who in his politically correct mind wants to examine whether race, ethnicity or religion (emphasis on religion) factors into our airports' having become Dar al-harb -- Islamic war zones? The results would undoubtedly be what is known as "insensitive." While not "racist" (Islam is not a race), they would certainly be religion-ist. Praise the multiculturalism and pass through the whole body scanner. It's better to be dead than politically incorrect.
This isn't to say that security personnel shouldn't watch young men or zero in on "behavioral distinctions" to prevent imminent attacks. And people from outside the Middle East may indeed be killers. I've never forgotten an old story of a young Irish girlfriend of a Libyan terrorist who unwittingly tried to board a plane with a bomb in her carry-on luggage.
But denying the threat within Islamic ideology blinds us to the threat that Islam poses to the West. This denial prevents us from erecting immigrational, legislative, financial and other defenses against further incursions of jihad and reversing the spread of Islamic law (Sharia).
It's one thing to get the Islam run-around from a CAIR official. Indeed, the effort to decouple discussion of Islam from terrorism is official policy at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the 57-member Islamic body that counts heads of state and foreign ministers as working members. But it's another thing to get the same see-no-Islam message from a former U.S. intelligence chief like Woolsey.
That's when you know you're losing.