Video: Airport screening radicalizes moderate Muslims, or something

Mediaite catches this offering of sophistry from Katty Kay on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday, in which we’re warned that the implementation of notoriously PC measures to protect air travel is somehow responsible for turning moderate Muslims into radical jihadis. The BBC reporter insists that our policy of rescreening Joan Rivers for her AKA in her passport (legally, she’s Joan Rosenberg) every time she travels is one of the core reasons why we’re facing the threat of home-grown jihadism. Apparently, the fact that we’re fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan isn’t much of a problem in comparison:

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The issue of screening is one that Eric Holder raised. It is something that whether we say it or not is happening. I’m sure there is more scrutiny of Pakistani Americans coming into the country than there might be of other Americans coming into the country. It’s happening already. Whether there’s an argument about whether that kind of racial profiling drives people to extremist. I’ve heard moderate Muslims in America say they’ve known people who were moderate who felt when they felt racial screening at airports have actually then turns towards extremism. It’s a dangerous weapon, racial screening. I think it’s already happening here but it is something that has to be used carefully.

Ah yes, the time-honored reportorial device of “I’ve heard someone say that someone else said they’ve known people that ….” Maybe we can call that the Roe standard — an emanation from a penumbra of something that doesn’t actually exist. It also ignores the fact that none of these measures were in place on September 11, 2001, when extremist Muslims killed almost 3,000 people, or before when al-Qaeda conducted a series of attacks against Americans and American assets. Nor does it consider at all that the airport screening procedures wind up inconveniencing a lot more than just Muslims or people with Arabic names, as Rivers again could attest.

E. J. Dionne actually makes a good point about the need for some nuance in security measures that take into account the most prominent threats of terrorism while attempting to maintain an open mind about all potential threats. It’s not easy to do, but as I mention in the previous post, it helps when we’re not trying to shoehorn law enforcement institutions into prosecuting a war.