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profiling or precaution?

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When Wallid Shatter, an Arab American Secret Service agent, was ordered off the plane by the captain of American Airlines Flight 363, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) wasted no time lodging a complaint with the airline, accusing AA of racist profiling and demanding an apology. But there’s much more to this story, as this piece by Christopher Caldwell shows: The Secret Service Agent and the Airline.

In a nutshell: armed Secret Service agents are, of course, required to notify the airlines when they fly on passenger planes. This guy first handed in an illegible copy of the paperwork, so they asked for another copy. He filled out the paperwork again; it had problems and inaccuracies. He did it again, and again it was filled out incorrectly. Then the guy got belligerent.

Think about this. It’s Christmas day. Richard Reid is all over the news; he just tried to blow an American Airlines plane out of the sky. Here’s an Arab American claiming to be a Secret Service agent, but he apparently doesn’t even know how to fill out the forms correctly, even after three tries. On top of that, he’s getting loud. How can the pilot be accused of bigotry? What if Wallid Shatter really had been a terrorist with forged credentials? The same people would now be accusing the (dead) pilot of missing obvious signs.

(And there’s even more—he tried to get back on the plane to retrieve his jacket. If you’ve ever tried to get back on a plane against the flow of departing passengers, because you forgot something, you already know that airline personnel are not crazy about the idea. I’ve left my guitar in the overhead rack several times and gotten off the plane, dazed by lack of sleep, and I speak from personal experience. You become a problem. And they don’t like you.)

This incident is an example of political correctness taken to the point of dangerous absurdity, unashamedly exploited by the Arab lobby.

And I have to ask, what is up with this Secret Service nutjob? He’s an agent of the federal government. He flies all the time. He knows the regulations. He knows how to fill out the paperwork. How can he screw it up three times? And how dare he think it’s appropriate to call in the lawyers and CAIR and scream “PROFILING!” at a time like this? Someone ought to slap him down.

If they’re not too afraid of CAIR, that is.

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 Frank says:

All right, Zubin, hit it! -- Frank's onstage cue to conductor Zubin Mehta during their collaborative effort with the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra in 1970