Jonah Goldberg

What is so infuriating about this is that the ACLU favors policies which discriminate against all sorts of people - old people, women, children and others who, under random searches and other idiotic numerical formulas, are pulled aside for literally no reason at all.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of a war on terror in which roughly 99 percent of jihadi terrorists are of either Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and 100 percent of them are Muslim.

Critics of racial profiling say that it wouldn't have stopped Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) or Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber). This is a red herring. Nobody ever proposed that race should be the only factor, or even the most important factor. But why can't it be one of those 30-plus factors? The Brits who foiled this most recent plot were allowed to take race into account. Was that too high a price to pay for thwarting mass murder?

The terrorists we're looking for are overwhelmingly young, male Muslims from places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Why is it morally superior to inconvenience old Mormon women of Swedish descent - for no reason at all - as much as young men from Pakistan?

Two alleged members of the British liquid explosives plot were young men of British descent who converted to Islam, and one was a woman with a child. Only a fool would advocate a system that, as a rule, deliberately excludes such people from scrutiny. But isn't it equally foolish to spend vast sums on machines designed to interpret the facial twitches and sweat glands of millions of passengers out of an irrational phobia of racial profiling?

Ron Suskind's new book, "The One Percent Doctrine," explores Dick Cheney's view that if there's a 1 percent chance terrorists might detonate a nuclear bomb in an American city, the government must act as if there's a 100 percent chance. Despite the guffawing this elicited from administration critics, it strikes me as eminently sensible. (If there were a 1 percent chance the snake in your back yard would kill your child, wouldn't 1 percent equal 100 percent for you, too?) The ACLU's self-indulgent position, meanwhile, seems to be that if there's a 1 percent chance a cop will be a racist, we must act as if it's a 100 percent chance. And that means humans can't ever be trusted.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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