L. Neil Smith's
Number 140, September 24, 2001
Cliff 'Em All!

A Nation of Primping Fauntleroys Readies for War

by Vin Suprynowicz

Special to TLE

I worry our adversaries may have it right -- America is no longer virile enough, America no longer has the resolve, America has become too silly and "mommified" and caught up in Political Correct fibs and fripperies to win a protracted struggle for our very existence against a force as elemental as the Islamic fundamentalist drive to destroy capitalism, western values ... the modern world as we know it.

Last Friday evening, after 84 hours, CNN and the other networks started to scrape bottom in their attempts to fulfill their "24-hour" commitment to covering the destruction of the World Trade Center. One of the network talking heads (Michele Mitchell?) was interviewing a spokesman for the New York Police Department, and asked a question that made the fellow look temporarily uncomfortable.

"What about profiling?" she asked. "Some of our callers have expressed concerns about profiling" of Arab-Americans.

"We're going to do whatever's necessary to protect America," the crewcut fellow replied. "But we'll stay within the letter of the law."

An adequate response as far as it goes -- and I know how hard it can be to "think on your feet" in those circumstances.

But a missed opportunity to say, "You know, Michele, I've instructed all my men, and I want to say to the American people here tonight, that there are plenty of good, loyal Americans who are of Middle Eastern origin, or Arab extraction. I hope this country learned from our mistake of 1942, when they rounded up and interned all the Japanese immigrants, and even American citizens of Japanese extraction.

"That was a mistake; we've rightly apologized for that as a nation; and I hope we never do anything like that again. Just because someone has an Arabic-sounding name, or a Middle Eastern accent, doesn't make them a criminal. Unless such a person is found to be in this country illegally, he or she has just as many rights as the rest of us.

"But having said that, let's suppose a for a minute your about to board a transcontinental flight, and I'm the security officer assigned to spend a few minutes interviewing your fellow passengers, and there are three people who have attracted my attention, either because they appear nervous, or there's something unusual about their ticketing arrangements, or whatever.

"One of these passengers is an Asian woman whose accent tells me she was raised in Texas. One is a black woman whose accent tells me she was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. And the third passenger who's caught my interest is a visitor to our country from Saudi Arabia, whose name is Mahmood.

"Now, I don't have the luxury of sitting down each of these people for an hour and getting on the phone and checking their stories, as my opposite numbers might do in Israel. I've only got three minutes, and your life could depend on the decision I make in the next three minutes, because you're about to get on that plane, Michele.

"So, knowing no female person has ever attempted to hijack an American aircraft, that no Asian or black person has ever attempted to hijack an American aircraft, would you want me to spend exactly one minute apiece with each of these three passengers ... or do you think maybe I ought to spend most of my time chatting with Mr. Mahmood?

"Because if you chose option 'b,' you've just endorsed 'profiling.' You see, 'profiling' became an issue in this country because of the allegation that police are more likely to stop and question young black men when they see them somewhere where they appear to be out of place, on the theory that young black men commit more than their fair share of crimes. The problem is, young black men DO commit more than their fair share of crimes. And like it or not, Mr. Mahmood IS more likely to be a hijacker."

Political correctness costs lives, and lies and euphemisms and double-talk invite confusion and mistakes. If our limited security resources are expended tossing the luggage of every black and Asian and Scandinavian air passenger in a relentless search for deadly toenail clippers and plastic picnic knives, those resources will NOT be available to run a better background check on a young minimum-wage contract janitor named Fatima Mujahadeen, who's going to be alone in your plane later tonight, vacuuming the seat cushions.

A nation gone daffy

Have "things in America really changed"? Let's suppose a common-sense employer actually summons up the nerve tomorrow to tell an applicant for a job on the 80th floor of the Sears Tower in Chicago, "Miss, you're the best qualified person for this job, but I'm not going to give it to you, because you're in a wheelchair, and in an emergency like Sept. 11 we'd all have to leave via the stairwells, and you wouldn't make it, and not only that, OTHER employees here might lose their lives coming back to help you, as happened at the World Trade Center."

Do you think the ACLU and the courts and the federal anti-discrimination agencies would tell that aggrieved job-seeker, "He's right, honey. Things in America changed last week; we're now gone back to operating on a much older principle, called 'common sense' "?

Or would that straight-talking interviewer lose his job as his company still got dragged through the courts in another million-dollar "Americans with Disabilities Act" lawsuit, as though nothing had changed at all, and we're still willing to sink giggling into the sea, counting angels on the heads of pins and finding new grievances and liabilities everywhere, even as our enemies plot their next attack?

I worry our adversaries may have it right -- America is no longer virile enough, America no longer has the resolve, America has become too silly and "mommified" and caught up in Political Correct fibs and fripperies to win a protracted struggle for our very existence against a force as elemental as the Islamic fundamentalist drive to destroy capitalism, western values ... the modern world as we know it.

In a nation where right-thinking "environmentalist" Luddites and human-haters are actually willing to throw whole towns on the dole (and the health of the economy be damned) by shutting down sawmills and mines and cattle operations to "protect the endangered Northern Spotted Owl" or some other weed or bug that's not really in danger of extinction at all -- merely "threatened in this limited ecosystem" ... in a nation where urban moms are afraid to let their boys play with icky toy guns and there's a systematic campaign afoot to demonize the ownership of firearms or skill with firearms while leaving no public lands open to target practice ... where does anyone imagine we're going to find the skilled marksmen needed to fight a war for our very survival?

Manly virtues? Our womenfolk have been taught to seek out sensitive bunny-huggers, to take their children to the shelter and raise them without a dad the first time some troglodyte suggests that, if he's bound to certain previously undisclosed financial obligations by an "unwritten traditional marriage contract," his wife is similarly bound to fulfill her half of that contract as understood by our ancestors going back a thousand years.

I've been accused of sounding somewhat bellicose of late. In fact, I hate war. "War is the health of the state," Randolph Bourne warned us. I despise the opportunists who will likely use this handy excuse to enact their canned agendas of more victim disarmament ("gun control"), more demands that we show internal passports ("government-issued photo IDs") to move around within our once free country, etc. etc.

By now the citizens of a truly free and virile nation would have been advised to strap on our .45s and fly armed ... the president warning the bad guys "We're ready for you now ... just try us."

Instead, our airlines are being systematically bankrupted (that is to say, consolidated into two or three state-franchised, state-subsidized, state-regulated, quasi-public utilities) and millions of man-hours wasted as law-abiding American search each other for deadly TOENAIL CLIPPERS.

I don't want war. I've long said we should stop meddling in a hundred global "hot spots" from Bosnia to the Horn of Africa where we can accomplish little but to make ourselves new enemies.

But, that said, I also agree with the late Barry Goldwater that -- when you've done all you can to avoid war and war has been thrust upon you anyway -- the thing to do is to fight to win, to kill as many of the enemy as you can as fast as you can, no matter how many mewling Johnson-McNamara gradual-escalation liberals ridicule you for "viewing the world through a rose-colored bombsight" (an actual campaign slogan of that renowned 1964 "pacifist," Lyndon Baines Johnson.)

Who is 'the main sponsor of the Taliban'?

Are we serious about winning a "war against terrorism"? President Bush could begin by declaring an end tomorrow to the fruitless and expensive "War on Drugs," abrogating all American drug laws and releasing that half of our enormous prison population currently in stir for victimless, non-violent "drug crimes."

If heroin and morphine were legal, their prices would quickly drop by more than 90 percent. What do you suppose that would do to the profitability of the Afghan poppy crop?

Think of how many police and intelligence resources could be immediately diverted to tracking murderous ragheads.

And how would that compare to the effects of the administration's current "War on Drugs" hysteria?

"Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you." wrote columnist Robert Scheer in the Los Angeles Times of May 22, 2001, in an essay titled "Bush's Faustian deal with the Taliban."

"All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously. That's the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today.

"The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that 'rogue regime' for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God," Mr. Scheer continued, while noting the chances of this ban actually being enforced would be highly dependant on how many additional goodies we might be willing to send along.

"Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998," Mr. Scheer reminded his readers a mere four months ago.

"Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over Bin Laden.

"The war on drugs has become our own fanatics' obsession and easily trumps all other concerns," Mr. Scheer (not usually my favorite columnist) continued. "How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who has subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?

"At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan where, in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha. ... They've not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession for that matter. ..."

I hope I'm wrong. But I worry our adversaries may have it right -- America is no longer virile enough, America no longer has the resolve, America has become too silly and "mommified" and caught up in Political Correct fibs and fripperies to win a protracted struggle for our very existence against a force as elemental as the Islamic fundamentalist drive to destroy capitalism, western values ... the modern world as we know it.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To receive his longer, better stuff, subscribe to his monthly newsletter by sending $72 to Privacy Alert, 561 Keystone Ave., Suite 684, Reno, NV 89503 -- or dialing 775-348-8591. His book, Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998, is available via that link from Amazon.com, or at 1-800-244-2224, or via web site www.thespiritof76.com/wacokillers.html

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