Japanese Internment: Why Daniel Pipes Is Wrong





Mr. Khawaja is adjunct professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey and Rutgers-Camden, and Executive Director of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society. The views he expresses here are his own.

What lessons of relevance to the current war on terrorism should we learn from our treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II? The orthodox civil libertarian position regards the internment of Japanese-Americans as wrong, identifies “ethnic profiling” as its essential feature, and condemns all further attempts at profiling, including that focused on Muslim-Americans today. Michelle Malkin’s In Defense of Internment : The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery, 2004) challenges the civil libertarian orthodoxy by means of a revisionist thesis about Japanese internment. According to Malkin, internment was right, ethnic profiling was its essential feature, and so, ethnic profiling ought to play a central role in the war on terrorism.

Daniel Pipes’s “Japanese Internment: Why It Was a Good Idea--And the Lessons It Offers Today” (along with a companion piece on Pipes’s blog) falls into the latter revisionist category. Although Pipes does not propose the internment of Muslim-Americans, he does suggest (drawing on Malkin’s book) that we revise our condemnation of Japanese internment, stop worrying so much about Muslim civil liberties, and engage without apology in ethnic profiling of Muslim-Americans.

In my view, both of the preceding positions are plausible but also seriously mistaken. The orthodox libertarians are right about internment but wrong about profiling; the revisionists are right about profiling but wrong about internment. A sensible alternative would combine the orthodox position about internment with the revisionist position on profiling. Here’s why.

Against Orthodox Civil Libertarianism

Suppose you believe, as I do, that the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was wrong. You might, contrary to orthodox civil libertarians, still contest the idea that profiling was its essential attribute—i.e., that profiling was what made it wrong.

“Profiling” is simply the use of identifying traits as a guide to the conduct of a criminal or similar investigation. “Ethnic profiling” (or religious profiling) is the inclusion of ethnic (or religious) traits among the traits to be profiled. Understood in this way, profiling is standard police procedure, the abolition of which would substantially hinder law enforcement’s capacity to engage in criminal investigation. It’s just an undeniable fact that a criminal investigation has to focus its suspicions on those elements of the population that have a higher probability of committing a given type of crime than those less likely to do so. While ethnicity/religion never constitutes a cause of suspicion by itself, it can certainly lend additional credence to suspicions independently confirmed. And so, the use of it is perfectly justifiable. In fact, the desire to abolish ethno-religious profiling really amounts to a sort of prior restraint on inquiry—a dogmatic, a priori conviction that ethnicity/religion cannot play a role in an investigation, whether or not the evidence supports that claim.

On the other hand, civil libertarians are right to insist that compliance with the Fourth Amendment is also standard police procedure. Whatever the basis of suspicion in an initial inquiry, the fact remains that arrests, searches, seizures, and detentions must be made on the basis of ordinary probable cause subject to the presumption of innocence. It is one thing to treat ethnicity/religion as one factor among others in the course of an investigation, and quite another to treat it as though it constituted the functional equivalent of probable cause all by itself. The first attitude is consistent with the Fourth Amendment; the second is not.

So profiling can be legitimate when kept in its place. What was wrong with Japanese internment was not its reliance on profiling, but its violation of the Fourth Amendment. It probably made sense to profile Japanese-Americans during World War II, since some of them may well have had the desire to subvert American war aims vis-à-vis Japan. But it neither made sense, nor was it right, to herd them en masse into internment camps, to expropriate them, and the like.

The same principles apply to Muslim-Americans today. It’s an undeniable fact that while most Muslims are not terrorists or even sympathetic to terrorism, the largest part of the terrorist threat we face comes from Muslims. It’s also an undeniable fact that some Muslim-Americans are complicit in or sympathetic to terrorism. In this context, to condemn profiling is not to respect our constitutional rights but to jeopardize them. The Constitution says nothing one way or another about profiling, but it explicitly provides for our “common defense.” That provision, in turn, gives the government an affirmative duty to protect us against Muslim terrorists and their allies. But it can hardly discharge that duty if it isn’t on the lookout for Muslim terrorists—and it can scarcely be on the lookout for them if it deliberately blinds itself to the connection between Muslims and terrorism. Yet that is precisely what opponents of profiling seem to be demanding in the name of “civil liberties”: namely, self-induced blindness to patently-obvious facts.

It’s now clear that worries about profiling partly explained the failure to apprehend the 9/11 hijackers in the months before the attack, a fact made transparent by chapters 3-8 of the 9/11 Commission report. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of profiling (twice questioned in the last three years by the police about crimes I didn’t commit, both times on essentially ethnic grounds), I can’t say that I enjoy being profiled. But then, I don’t particularly relish the thought the some terrorist is exploiting civil libertarian squeamishness about racial profiling to get me blown up, either. Most of the Muslims that I know are willing to put up with being profiled if they know that it has a legitimate purpose, and will be done in a respectful way. To this degree, I agree with the Pipes-Malkin criticisms of the civil libertarian establishment (as well as those of Heather Mac Donald, Michael Ignatieff and others), and agree that it’s time for civil libertarians to ditch the dogmatism and get with the program.

Against Pipes-Malkin Revisionism

If that was all that Pipes was saying, I’d agree with him. But it’s not all he’s saying, and the rest of his argument strikes me as wrongheaded and dangerous.

The fundamental problem with Pipes’s position is the supposedly “unarguable premise” he borrows from Malkin. Quoting her, he writes: “in time of war, ‘the survival of the nation comes first.’ From there, [Malkin] draws the corollary that ‘Civil liberties are not sacrosanct.’” Malkin is right that the survival of the nation is an imperative, but since “the nation” is defined by the Constitution, “its” survival is meaningless apart from that fact. A constitution is to a nation what a brain is to a person: take the brain out, and you kill the person; take large enough chunks of the brain out, and it may as well not be there. The Fourth Amendment, if you’ll pardon the metaphor, is too large a chunk of the national brain to be thrown out on a whim. In that sense, it is “sacrosanct.”

A related problem is Pipes’s cavalier adoption of Malkin’s thesis about Japanese internment. There is first his rather condescending minimization of the effects of internment, as in his reference to its “supposed horrors.” Well, the issue isn’t “horror” (a term few writers besides Pipes have used) but injustice, and the injustice wasn’t “supposed,” but perfectly real. I suppose there are worse things in the world than expropriation, forced re-location, imprisonment, and forced labor (with conscription added for good measure), but these things strike me as bad enough to arouse a modicum of indignation.

There is also his suggestion that opposition to internment is nothing more than a hobbyhorse of “the victimization lobby,” a term that not only suggests that Japanese Americans weren’t victimized, but suggests that those opposing internment have nothing worthwhile to say in criticism of it. Both claims are pretty obviously false.

Then there is the implausible suggestion that Malkin’s book has, by itself, settled the issue once and for all, academic scholarship representing little more than a “shabby, stultifying” and ultimately irrelevant “consensus.” Shabby consensus or not, the fact remains that none of the six bullets in Pipes’s article (intended to showcase the highlights of Malkin’s thesis) even approximates the beginnings of a case for internment. Meanwhile, critics have cast doubt on Malkin’s argument that is hard to square with Pipes’s confidence in it.

A third problem is an inconsistency in Pipes’s rejection of internment for Muslim Americans in the here-and-now. In criticizing Pipes on this point, I want to distance myself from the many critics who have ascribed to him an explicit proposal to put Muslims in “concentration camps.” That isn’t what he said, and it’s stupid and irresponsible to claim that he did.

The problem is not a matter of Pipes’s explicit statements but of the logic of his argument. Having defended Japanese-American internment, having described Muslim-Americans as a threat on par with Japanese-Americans during World War II, and having denied that the civil liberties of either group were or are “sacrosanct,” Pipes is no longer logically in a position to reject internment, whether he wants to or not. So even as he disavows any proposal to put Muslims in camps (and I regard his disavowals as sincere), he cuts the ground out from underneath that disavowal, and thereby raises questions about his commitment to civil liberties. Given his current dialectical predicament, those questions are unanswerable.

Meanwhile, it is clear that other Americans are boldly willing to go where Pipes refuses to tread. Pipes quotes with approval Cornell University’s Media & Society Research Group report entitled “Restrictions on Civil Liberties, Views of Islam and Muslim Americans” (December 2004): “Specifically,” Pipes writes with approval, “44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in America, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques, or infiltrating their organizations.”

In the companion piece on his blog, Pipes explains that he himself doesn’t support registries for Muslim-Americans; he simply takes the report as a whole to indicate an encouraging “realism” in American attitudes toward Muslims. But even with that qualification, I find myself frankly mystified at how Pipes can regard the report’s findings as good news. Yes, the report indicates support for profiling. But it indicates a lot more than that.

According to the report, 63 percent of Americans “agree that the government should be able to detain indefinitely suspected terrorists.” Meanwhile, 42 percent of "highly religious respondents [and 27 percent of all respondents] believe that Muslim Americans should register their whereabouts with the government.” Forty-three percent of respondents believe that the government should “outlaw some un-American actions,” and a substantial number seem to be in favor of banning “un-American” protests or criticisms (this last claim involves a modest inference from the findings of Table 3 of the report). Pathetically, 26 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the terms “Allah” and “the Koran.”

If the findings of the report are to be believed, substantial numbers of Americans have come to regard Muslims as second-class citizens whose rights can be violated more or less with impunity. These same Americans regard the Fourth Amendment as a dispensable luxury, and many of them feel free to condemn Islam while being blankly ignorant of what it actually says.

All of this suggests that a substantial number of Americans have come to regard Muslims as dhimmi, i.e., as having something like the status assigned to non-Muslims under Islamic rule. It also gives some credence to Edward Said’s famous thesis that American discourse about Islam is governed less by knowledge than by recourse to free-floating Orientalist stereotypes (a fact I admit without being a big fan of Said’s scholarship). Unlike Pipes, I don’t regard this as “realism” or “encouragement.” It seems more like an example of what Richard Hofstadter once described as the “paranoid style” in American politics.

An Alternative

There is, in my view, a sensible alternative to both the civil libertarians’ dogmatism and Pipes’s revisionism. The alternative is a better understanding of, and more assiduous commitment to, the Fourth Amendment than that possessed either by orthodox civil libertarians or revisionists a la Pipes and Malkin.

As far as I can see, profiling and monitoring are perfectly consistent with the Fourth Amendment in both the Japanese-American and Muslim-American cases. Neither involves a crossing of the sort of boundaries that the Fourth Amendment protects. Properly circumscribed, infiltration can be consistent, but constitutes a difficult issue that deserves a separate discussion.

By contrast, even apart from the logistical difficulties they pose, registries and internment are clearly incompatible with the Fourth Amendment (and/or the Fifth), whether with respect to the Japanese or Muslim cases. Where there is no probable cause of a crime, it’s just wrong to treat people as though they were guilty of one. In this light, the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II matters because it is a paradigm case of how not to think about or deal with contemporary Islamic terrorism or the Muslim-American population. It’s a paradigm case of going off the deep end.

In the 1993 Supreme Court decision Minnesota vs. Dickerson, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, apropos of “weapons pat-downs” by the police: “I frankly doubt…whether the fiercely proud men who adopted our Fourth Amendment would have allowed themselves to be subjected, on mere suspicion of being armed and dangerous, to such indignity” as a demand to stop and be frisked by the police without probable cause of a crime.

Scalia may be going a bit overboard in this particular case, but the attitude he expresses is the right one. It’s bad enough to be suspected of terrorist activity simply because you are a Muslim (or look like you might be). But it’s unconscionable to be treated as a criminal when there’s no probable cause indicating that you might be one. That’s something that no one in a free country ought to accept, war on terrorism or not.

Having spent some dismal time in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan under martial law, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the ever-watchful eye of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, I admit that I may be biased toward the idea of a Bill of Rights and protection against unreasonable search and seizure. But a piece of advice may be in order for those too willing to use the “we’re at war” slogan to weaken our commitment to the rights: once you violate them, what you get is not more security, but progressively less.

War, as Clausewitz famously put it, is politics continued by other means. That ill-understood maxim implies that victory in war is victory on terms chosen by the victor. Constitutional liberties are among the terms that define what counts as victory for us in the current war. Once we surrender them, we’ve lost what we’re fighting for, and with it, the war itself. That should be enough to rebut the old cliché that we can’t “afford” civil liberties during wartime. In fact, what we can’t afford is to give them up.


comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry to have come back to this so late.

On Ressam: I didn't say that the 9/11 Commission Report claimed that he was ethnically profiled. I said that the Report gave evidence of the necessity of profiling.

Specifically on Ressam, I saw the customs officer who stopped him say that ethnicity played a role in a documentary I saw on TV. Unfortunately, I don't have it at my fingertips. But a simpler example is Zaccarias Moussawi, who clearly was profiled. And the Phoenix office of the FBI asserted suspicions of Arabs at flight schools, not just anyone. Was it illegitimate to profile Arabs at flight schools prior to 9/11? Nothing in Glenn Rodden's posts tells us why, and nothing acknowledges that simply undeniable fact that if they had been profiled, 9/11 could have been forestalled.

Rodden's claim about my indecision about profiling is simply a repetition (despite one concessiona and one apology) of his earlier carelessness in reading what I wrote. There is nothing indecisive in what I have said. I support it. I have said repeatedly--what Rodden just as repeatedly ignores--that profiling is not a sufficient condition of probable cause. Nor is it by itself an element in establishing probable cause.

It should in this context not be terribly hard to see why profiling, by itself, does not stop terrorism. I never claimed that it did. But that is not the test of its efficacy. It is part of a larger menu of techniques, and when IT is used APART from that larger menu of techniques, failure arises. This indicates not a failure of IT but a broader failure.

Rodden repeatedly claims that if profiling is used and a crime nonetheless takes place the "policy of profiling has failed." This is not just one non-sequitur, but a whole series of them. First, the mere fact that a crime takes place does not mean that a whole "policy" has failed. If it did, the occurrence of crime would refute the existence of police departments. Second, we need evidence that profiling is what LED to the failure. This is RODDEN's burden of proof, not mine. I am saying that profiling is legitimate. He is saying that specific crimes show that it has failed. OK--which ones, and how?

Rodden's criticism is so patently absurd that once put clearly, it should provoke laughter. It is as though someone were to recommend that surgeons use scalpels and a critic kept mindlessly asserting: and yet surgeries often fail! Correct, but that is the fault of surgeons, not scalpels, and surgeons are not scalpels. Surgeons wield scalpels, and law enforcement ought to use profiling with the same care. But crime is not a refutation of profiling any more than death is a refutation of surgery.

The next series of "criticisms" Rodden makes do not even pretend to deal with what I said. I have claimed that profiling ought to be practiced. He then demands evidence that it IS practiced. The two things have nothing to do with one another. Despite this, he insists that evidence that profiling is NOT practiced somehow adds up to evidence that it SHOULD not be. It doesn't. The whole set of criticisms rests on a confusion.

Rodden then claims that he has "no idea with where I was going" in my criticism of his claim that profiling depends on deterministic assumptions. I was "going" to a refutation of his claim. Regardless of what it "sounds" like to a person who refuses to read what it says, it is a full refutation of his claim about determinism. Incidentally, his knowledge of the subject of determinism can be gauged by his claim that if you can predict someone's behavior, it is determined. The claim is a blatant non-sequitur.

To the question, "What is Islamic fundamentalism?" In the present context, it is the literal interpretation of canonical Islamic texts for purposes of imposing an Islamic political order on unwilling persons.

"What ethnic group"? Principally two, but the categories can expand or contract in relation to facts. One ethnic group consists of Arabs, the other of South Asians. A third might include Indonesians. Islamic fundamentalism is widespread in both (and increasingly all three) populations.

As for the last claim, once again Rodden simply flouts what I have said, and repeats what he wants to maintain without even making the pretense of dealing with the content of my argument--which seems to be his standard MO here.

If profiling does not rest on determinism (a claim he professes not to follow), and cannot by itself lead to establishing probable cause (a claim he never manages to discuss), and probable cause is the only trigger for search and seizure (a claim he doesn't dispute), he simply has no logical leg to stand on in disputing my argument. And he presents none.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I haven't set up any straw men. I have simply refuted Pipes's argument. Now let me refute yours.

On point 1: Malkin's position is revisionist in the obvious sense that it contradicts about 50 years of mainstream scholarship on the topic. Both Malkin and Pipes admit this, and take it to be essential to their arguments, so it doesn't help them to assert that the thesis is not revisionist. "America as a whole" does not consist of historians. The term "revisionism" applies to a revision of mainstream historiography.

On point 2: The Constitution may not be a divine document, but it codifies principles that can't be casually discarded without discarding the rule of law. Yes it can be amended or changed, but until it is, it says what it says. The possibility of an amendment discarding the Fourth Amendment is vanishingly remote, and if it did, I would be comfortable in saying that the republic brought into existence by the US Constitution had gone out of existence.

Point 3: What is true of many nations is not true of the US. The Federalists argued rather cogently that the pre-Constitutional nation was a different country than the post-. Abraham Lincoln rather cogently argued that the Civil War made post-bellum America precisely a new nation. My point follows in this tradition. The rejection of the Fourth Amendment would constitute the destruction of the America of the US Constitution as it is written today, and would be a new nation.

As for the claims you make after that, the only legitimate one is the one about values that is consistent with what I said. The nation is defined by the Constitution, but the Constitution has to be interpreted in terms of underlying principles. True enough. That doesn't contradict anything I said and doesn't affect any part of my argument.

As for your claims about non-assimilated Muslims, they are an instance of the fallacy of poisoning the well, and are just what one would expect from someone who had not assimilated the laws of logic or practiced objectivity in argumentation. Incidentally, I am not a Muslim.

Fourth point: I didn't talk about the war on terror as a temporary police matter, and don't think it is. Pipes himself was referring policies being enacted today, not in 25 years, and that is why I used the word "today". But my point is valid for the next 25 years, too.

Fifth point: You do not actually seem to have an argument here apart from the fatuous assertion that only liberals are against internment. The claim is false by itself, but even if it were true, it would prove nothing.

The one cost at which a country cannot "win" a war is giving up on the principles that define the point of victory. "Victory" means victory on one's own terms, not on any old terms. One's principles are one's own terms, and individual rights are America's founding principles. The irony is that for all of the chest-thumping toughness of your criticism, your view is the concession to Islamic terrorism, not mine. What you want is a regime that resembles an Islamic state with one exception: in your favored state, it is the Muslims (as opposed to Jews or Christians) who are the dhimmis. Unlike you, I don't believe in dhimmitude at all. Such are the perils of assimilation.



Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Regarding question 1: The most spectacular evidence is the use of profiling to prevent Ahmad Ressam from entering the US in 1999 to blow up Los Angeles Airport. But as I said in the article, chapters 3-8 of the 9/11 Commission Report give good evidence of how the failure to profile led to the failure to apprehend the 9/11 hijackers.

Re question 2: We should apply ethnic/religious profiling wherever there is a good probability that its use will prevent the commission of terrorist acts. In Spain, it would make sense to profile Basques. In the US it would make sense to profile members of the Christian Identity movement as well as pro-life Christians whose theology might lead to attacks on abortion clinics. How to use it varies by circumstance.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Ah, so I was mistaken--your model isn't the Islamic Caliphate, but Meir Kahane. But let's not split hairs.

Actually, what is recommended for the Canaanites, etc. in the Hebrew Bible exceeds the ferocity of anything reserved described in the Qur'an, and yet I balk at the idea of "deporting every last Jew" anywhere. But I suppose that when you publish your full views on the topic of mass deportation, I'll be forced to rethink what I had always thought a settled matter.

Yr obed't servant,

Irfan Khawaja


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Racial profiling did have something to do with stopping Ressam. It was an additional component that gave added plausibility to his nervous behavior, which is exactly the formulation I used to defend profiling in the article.
A nervous Middle Easterner at a border checkpoint should be regarded with some suspicion, and his looking Middle Eastern can be an element in creating the suspicion. I am having trouble understanding why you think that's wrong.

I didn't say that racial profiling failed to apprehend the 9/11 hijackers; I said exactly the opposite--that the FAILURE to profile resulted in the FAILURE to apprehend. In fact, suspicions were aroused by the hijackers precisely when they were profiled; unfortunately, the suspicions were insufficient and were not followed through. But that is not a failure of profiling; it's a failure to follow through.

Anyway, your misinterpretation of that part of what I said answers many of your other questions.

I don't know whether the Spanish government profiles Basques. Basques are a separate ethnic group; they speak a different language. But whether or not the gov't profiles them, it certainly makes sense to profile them.

US law enforcement definitely profiled Christian Identity groups and white supremacist groups; read any standard history of the FBI covering the 1990s. They profiled them before OKC, and after. I don't know whether they do profile pro-life Christians, but I wasn't arguing that they do--I was answering your question about whether they should. And I said "yes" to that question. So your further question "If not, why not?" is a change of subject irrelevant to our discussion.

Incidentally, what law enforcement agencies "argue" has nothing to do with what is actually true. Law enforcement agencies and officers say all kinds of goofy things and refuse to say all kinds of sensible things. They also lie a lot. The issue is not what they "say" but the justifiability of the policy they should be following.

Racial profiling doesn't rest on the assumption that a race determines behavior. It rests on the assumption that there are significant correlations between members of a given racial group in a specific context and certain unlawful behaviors.

Religious profiling rests on the assumption that certain religious subgroups have beliefs that correlate highly with unlawful behaviors. If a certain ethnic groups correlate highly with relevant religious subgroups, you have an excellent reason to profile, and that is exactly what is true of Islamic fundamentalism.

Since by my argument, profiling does not by itself establish probable cause, and only probable cause gives a basis for searches, seizures and/or detentions, profiling can't lead to searches, seizures or detentions, much less internment. It's not the assumption that led to Japanese internment.


Yoel Natan - 2/5/2005

Irfan Khawaja is not aware of my full views on this topic, so I'm glad to give him the last word on this discussion. I plan to publish my full views in the future. However, I do want to say my ideal state does not include Muslim Dhimmis. I believe that because Jihad is promoted in the Koran*, Hadith, Sira, Sharia Law, and by Islamic jurists and theologians**, every last Muslim needs to be deported back to the Mideast because they are too dangerous to have around non-Muslims--as history and the newspapers show time and again.
* http://www.angelfire.com/moon/yoelnatan/koranwarpassages.htm

** Abu Mansur Maturidi (died 944 AD), Hanbali jurist Taqi Al-Din Ibn Taymiyya (1269-1328 AD), Wahhabism’s Wahhabi (1703-1792 AD), Ikhwan’s (Muslim Brotherhood’s) Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966 AD), Maulana Abul Ala Maududi (1903-1979 AD), etc.


Jim Beam - 1/27/2005

Mr. Khawaja commits another serious error when he states "In the US it would make sense to profile members of the Christian Identity movement as well as pro-life Christians whose theology might lead to attacks on abortion clinics," and attempts to equate that statemtent with his other statements approving of *Muslims in general.*

It's one thing to approve of profiling of members of a specific group with a specific agenda -- e.g. the Christian Identity movement, or the Ku Klux Klan. That's a far cry, however, from profiling *Christians in general.* It is the latter strategy that Mr. Khawaja supports in his article -- he appears to approve of profiling *Muslims in general* -- and is attempting to defend that stance in his responses to the criticisms presented here. It is Khawaja who is changing the subject, not his critics. It is not enough for Khawaja to support the profiling of this or that radical Christian group. Either he supports unqualified profiling of *all* Christians and *all* Muslims, or he must be equally selective in profiling both.


Yoel Natan - 1/25/2005

Even if one accepts that Irfan made some valid points, they do not rise to the level of outlawing the use of internment camps altogether forevermore. Irfan also sets up straw man arguments where he plays with the parameters of the situation involved in order to invalidate Malkin and Pipes’ positions. Examples follow.
First, it is wrong for Irfan to call Malkin’s position on internment “revisionist” as though the liberals set the consensus and now minority or conservative viewpoints can only be revisionist. Perhaps in the ivory towers Malkin and Pipes’ viewpoints sound revisionist, but not in America as a whole.
Second, Irfan talked about the constitution as though it were written in stone like the Ten Commandments, and that internment frayed or decimated the Constitution. The Constitution, however, has been amended many times, and could be made to include clauses allowing for internment and “threat” profiling with religion being a measured factor. U.S. voters do not like to amend the Constitution for temporary problems, but if they realize this War on Terror will last decades or even centuries, they would probably be amenable to amending the constitution to aid the War on Terror. Thus at some point internment could be used without bending the constitution.
Third, Irfan wrote “the nation is defined by the Constitution.” This is nonsense since many nations have gone without constitutions without ceasing to be nations. Many nations have adopted new constitutions without becoming a brand new nation. Whenever the U.S. amended the constitution, it did not become America 2.0 or version 3.0. It remained America. Furthermore, many nations such as Poland have copied the U.S. Constitution when drafting their constitution. Copying, say, a third of the U.S. Constitution does not make another nation one-third American.
The glue that holds nations together is shared values, culture, history, and one or two official languages. The argument that a nation is defined by its constitution sounds exactly like the argument a non-assimilating Muslim might make. To many Muslims a nation is valued only for the guaranteed rights that Muslims can exploit to undermine democracy and promote Islamization.
It is scary that someone thinks a nation is defined by the constitution rather than by consensus view and culture. The reason it is scary is Muslims define a nation as being Islamic when the Koran is the constitution, and Sharia Law is the law of the land. Then Dhimmi views do not matter and they are abused and discriminated against because, after all, they “live in an Islamic land” with an Islamic constitution. The Dhimmi inhabitants, who most often were the original inhabitants, would surely disagree that the constitution defines the nation, and would do everything to get rid of that Koranic constitution!
Fourth, Irfan talked about the War on Terror as though it were a temporary police matter. Irfan wrote: “The same principles apply to Muslim-Americans today.” However, I don’t think that Malkin and Pipes were talking about the situation “today.” Most reader think of the War on Terror lasting a long time:
· Newt Gingrich and many others talk about the War on Terror dragging on “for the next 20-25 years at best, or drag on for several centuries” (http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/300),
· Philip Jenkins thinks that at some point there might be “inter-religious violence in Europe itself” and even “Muslim paramilitary groups waging religious war on French and German soil” (Jenkins, Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 180), and
· Many think that suicide bombings could soon becoming to London, Paris, and in New York as frequently as they are in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Thus, Irfan’s assertion that Malkin and Pipes’ are wrong about internment being necessary now or even in the near future are irrelevant. Most readers assume Malkin and Pipes mean that at some point, perhaps a decade or two from now, internment camps might become necessary and unavoidable. Malkin and Pipes make the case for internment now because it is better to have the debate now rather than when the U.S. finds itself under siege.
Fifth, and finally, Irfan seems to say that the internment of the Japanese during WWII should have been deemed totally unnecessary even at the time. It seems to me that only liberals and leftists could make such an argument, since they do not value democracy as much as the rest of us, and they think that living in a fascist or Communist land would not be so bad since—after all—the leftists would be in charge!
During WWII, U.S. and U.K. citizens faced the prospect of the first and second worlds becoming mostly fascist or Communist. The third world would have been half Muslim, and the other half would have been leaning toward, or susceptible to, Communism. America’s main allies were the British Empire and the unsavory Soviet Union under Stalin. In such a war that one MUST win at all costs, a nation must lock up people who refuse to move where you order them to move. The Japanese were ordered to move to the interior of the U.S., but most did not comply, and thus they found themselves detained.


Arnold Shcherban - 1/23/2005

In the city of Alma-Aty(in Republic of Kazakhstan) where I was born and raised lived many Chechens at the time (50s-60s).
Most of them lived in a certain area within the city, called Tastak. Because the good bulk of the violent crimes commited in the city was concentrated in Tastak, and perpetrated by Chechen individuals and criminal groups of Chechens (which had nothing to do with today's or yesterday's political struggle/terrorism), the local militia (the equivalent of police here) would often make 'search and seizure' raids to that area.
All law-abiding citizens of Alma-Aty (the overwhelming majority, indeed), considered those raids as natural reaction to the crime wave concentration there.
When, the crime wave subsided (in 70s) the raids also stopped, though many of Chechens still lived there.
It shows once more that provided there are no racist intentions in the actions of law enforcement, just purely preventive and operative once, there could be no harm of any significant scale to the general public (aside of possible rare incidents, caused by honest error or incompetence) in the tactics, labeled in this country as 'racial profiling', actually implying the presense of the racist intentions, stipulated above.
As far as the profiling of terrorists of white ethnicity
is concerned, it just practically impossible to profile
the great majority of the country to begin with, 'cause then you have to profile the majority of the profilers too, right?
Not mentioning already political, economical and social explosiveness of such practice: then the goverment itself becomes the greatest terrorist of all, and this time - explicitly so...
No administration in the world would commit suicide this way.
What I said here is in no way an apology for the real racist practices of the past and present on the part of
law enforcement in this and other countries.
It is no apology for the great exaggeration of the terrorist threat coming from the others, deliberately confusing it with the internationally acknowledged right for the struggle for national indepedence, sovereignity and real democracy (power of majority for majority), and against dictators imposed on people by the multiinternational corporations and loyal to them politicians in White House, while mostly keeping silence
about the threat of domestic terrorism coming from ultra-right Christian groups, KKK and similar others - the terrorism that was a daily practice, remains largely unpunished and still maintains its ugly presence and terrorist activities though, admittedly, on smaller scale.
But one has to be intellectually (and operatively) honest
in making clear distinction between racism and profiling
of criminals/terrorists whatever ethnicity they might belong to.


Glenn Rodden - 1/15/2005

But we do not do this for political reasons and that is what the supporters of racial profiling fail to acknowledge. The Bush administration has not and will not develop a racial profiling policy of white Christian males because that policy would be politically explosive.


Glenn Rodden - 1/15/2005

Khawaja: "Racial profiling did have something to do with stopping Ressam. It was an additional component that gave added plausibility to his nervous behavior, which is exactly the formulation I used to defend profiling in the article. A nervous Middle Easterner at a border checkpoint should be regarded with some suspicion, and his looking Middle Eastern can be an element in creating the suspicion. I am having trouble understanding why you think that's wrong."

I am having no trouble understanding that you are making up facts to support your argument. The 911 Commission Report makes no mention of Ressam's ethnicity playing any role in his capture. Chapter 6 of that report gives a detailed description of Ressam's capture an it makes no mention of his ethnicity: "Late in the afternoon of December 14, Ressam arrived in Port Angeles. He waited for all the other cars to depart the ferry, assuming (incorrectly) that the last car off would draw less scrutiny. Customs officers assigned to the port, noticing Ressam's nervousness, referred him to secondary inspection. When asked for additional identification, Ressam handed the Customs agent a Price Costco membership card in the same false name as his passport. As that agent began an initial pat-down, Ressam panicked and tried to run away."

I restate my position that Ressam's behavior led to his arrest and not his ethnicity or his religion and therefore his arrest does not justify profiling.

I did misunderstand your earlier response to my question and I apologize for that. However, you still seem conflicted on whether or not profiling is an effective policy. You said: "In fact, suspicions were aroused by the hijackers precisely when they were profiled; unfortunately, the suspicions were insufficient and were not followed through. But that is not a failure of profiling; it's a failure to follow through."

What are insufficient suspicions? And why didn't law enforcement officials follow through?

"I don't know whether the Spanish government profiles Basques. Basques are a separate ethnic group; they speak a different language. But whether or not the gov't profiles them, it certainly makes sense to profile them."

The above answer is pure speculation and does not address the first question that I asked.

"US law enforcement definitely profiled Christian Identity groups and white supremacist groups; read any standard history of the FBI covering the 1990s. They profiled them before OKC, and after."

I have no doubt that the FBI tracked the activities of Christian Identity groups, but how did they use that information? But obviously that policy did not prevent the OKC bombing. Again, why support policies that fail?

"I don't know whether they do profile pro-life Christians, but I wasn't arguing that they do--I was answering your question about whether they should."

I seriously doubt that the FBI is profiling pro-life Christians.

"And I said "yes" to that question. So your further question "If not, why not?" is a change of subject irrelevant to our discussion."

Actually, my question goes to the heart of the matter. There is no evidence that profiling is an effective policy for fighting terrorism. Policymakers often adopt policies because they do not know what else to do. Profiling sounds good, but it does not work.

I have no idea where you are going with: "Racial profiling doesn't rest on the assumption that a race determines behavior. It rests on the assumption that there are significant correlations between members of a given racial group in a specific context and certain unlawful behaviors." This sounds like something from a FBI manual, but it means that we can predict someone's behavior based on their race.

"Religious profiling rests on the assumption that certain religious subgroups have beliefs that correlate highly with unlawful behaviors. If a certain ethnic groups correlate highly with relevant religious subgroups, you have an excellent reason to profile, and that is exactly what is true of Islamic fundamentalism."

First, what exactly is Islamic fundamentalism? Second, which ethnic group are we talking about?

"Since by my argument, profiling does not by itself establish probable cause, and only probable cause gives a basis for searches, seizures and/or detentions, profiling can't lead to searches, seizures or detentions, much less internment. It's not the assumption that led to Japanese internment."

I disagree. Profiling is not so benign. At its root is the assumption that certain racial/ethnic/religious groups a more likely to committ crimes than others.


Derek Charles Catsam - 1/15/2005

If it is logical and acceptable to profile Muslims in airports because of 9-11, then the only inescapable conclusion one can draw is that white men deserve equally strict scrutiny whenever they enter federal buildings given that the second largest terrorist attack on American soil happened in Oklahoma City at the hands of two white American men.
dc


Arnold Shcherban - 1/15/2005

Logically and practically speaking Mr. Khawaja is quite
right: the racial profiling is the prudent thing to do
in extremal situations, such as, e.g. a real threat of large-scale terrorist attack or ongoing war.
And he's right again when pointing out that the Japanese
internment wasn't the result of racial profiling in the
sense he defines the latter. I would argue, however, with Mr Pipes that the Japanese internment was not needed at the time, it was not logical and prudent thing to do, it went much beyond racial profiling, wasn't the consequence of racial profiling, and was, in fact, political and racist (note the difference with racial) act of the American goverment.



Glenn Rodden - 1/14/2005

"Regarding question 1: The most spectacular evidence is the use of profiling to prevent Ahmad Ressam from entering the US in 1999 to blow up Los Angeles Airport. But as I said in the article, chapters 3-8 of the 9/11 Commission Report give good evidence of how the failure to profile led to the failure to apprehend the 9/11 hijackers."

Racial profiling had nothing to do with capture of Ahmad Ressam in 1999. The aresting officer stated that Ressam appeared nervous and was sweating profusely when he tried to cross the US/Canadian border in December 1999. In other words, Ressam's behavior and not his race or religion led to his capture.

As you correctly pointed-out, racial profiling failed to apprehend the 911 hijackers. So why support a failed policy?

"Re question 2: We should apply ethnic/religious profiling wherever there is a good probability that its use will prevent the commission of terrorist acts."

This is an interesting statement because above you noted that ethnic/religious profiling does not prevent terrorist attacks. Furtheremore, I have trouble with broad statements like "a good probability that its use will prevent the commission of terrorist acts." What is a "good probability"? And who defines what a good probability is?

"In Spain, it would make sense to profile Basques."

Does the Spanish government actually profile Basques? If it does, how is it done? Are the Baseques a separate racial/ethnic/religious group? And is the policy effective?


"In the US it would make sense to profile members of the Christian Identity movement as well as pro-life Christians whose theology might lead to attacks on abortion clinics."

Do you have any evidence that the US law enforcement agencies actually profile any of these groups? After the Oklahoma City bombing, did the FBI begin a racially profiling white Christian males? Afterall, white males have a long history of committing terrorist acts against the US government. Does any US law enforcement agency actually profile pro-life Christians who argue that abortion is murder? If not, why not?

Racial profiling is not an effective anti-terrorist policy and it should be abolished by all law enforcement agencies. Racial profiling rests on the assumption that a person's race determines their behaivor. That is the same assumption that led this country to intern Japanese citizens during World War II.

"How to use it varies by circumstance."


Glenn Rodden - 1/13/2005

Irfan Khawaja argues that racial profiling of Muslim-Americans is a good policy because “Profiling is simply the use of identifying traits as a guide to the conduct of a criminal or similar investigation."

I have two questions: 1. Is there any evidence that racial/religious profiling is effective in fighting terrorism? 2. Shouldn't we apply ethnic/religious profiling to all ethnic and religious groups who committ terrorist acts?


Barbara Bernstein - 1/12/2005

Although I generally agree with Daniel Pipes, and I approve of Campus-Watch, I have to say that I was disturbed when I first read Daniel Pipes' views on this topic, and I find myself in agreement with Irfan Khawaja.

Profiling is both necessary and reasonable. Registries, internment camps, and such other extreme measures are, in the truest sense, anti-American. Either we live in a country of laws, followed when they are inconvenient as well as when obeying is easy, or we are just another tinpot banana republic sliding into a state of fascism and anarchy. I know which America I prefer.

History News Network