Monday, November 22, 2004

Jaded Cynic and Unwitting Imperialist Part Three

Setting: JC and UI are talking about the occupation (oh sorry zell miller i meant, Liberation snicker snicker)

Unwitting Imperialist: Did you hear we’re finally gonna put down the terrorists in Fallujah!?

Jaded Cynic: And by put down you mean kill them all right?

UI: No no, we’re spreading freedom to them.

JC: which is a great euphemism for killing everything that moves.

UI: well Fallujah is like the last part of the Iraq Liberation, kinda like space is the final frontier of Man’s voyages.

JC: So you think this means we’re coming to the end of the war?

UI: Hell yah, Iraq will have democracy our troops will be back, then we can start brow beating people I deem to be “liberals”.

JC: You realize of course that this is just another effort at “modulating distress”, right?

UI: I don’t know what you mean so I’ll prepare myself for the anti-american speech.

JC: Well despite that same slander you stick to any individual who questions the answers those in power give us, this is not anti-american. Everyone in power(we can refer to these as the “elites”) is in power because they are good at a few things. The most important being manipulation. One of the subsets of manipulation is modulation of stress.

UI: get to the point

JC:OK so remember how America used to honor its fallen?

UI: what do you mean used to? I see people saying numbers on the news all the time.

JC: exactly…numbers, because thats all they get. Our current vice president, back when he was defense secretary banned pictures of the fallen being honored. This is so the people do not make the complete psychological connection between soldiers dying and a flag draped coffin being soaked in the tears of their respective familes.

UI: I don’t buy it

JC: well its not some conspiracy its pretty simple, to get a democracy to do something you can wait until a movement boils up from the bottom and gets to the top OR you can use your influence at the top to create a want in other people. This is called marketing, for example that Quadra air thing you bought from Sharper Image, you remember that?

UI: yah it works wonders

JC: haha, yah exactly. Well they lost a lawsuit because they couldn’t prove it did ANYTHING they claimed in the commercials. So you bought a product that when in court cannot prove it does ANYTHING, but for some reason you believe it does all kinds of things. Don’t think i’m immune I do the same thing, its just an important psychological heuristic we should all know about, but lemme get back to my point-

UI: yah seriously

JC:- This fallujah offensive first of all proceeded a day after the election, which makes it blatantly obvious that this war is not being fought with our soldiers lives and morale in mind AND without a THOUGHT to the hearts and minds of Iraqis. Instead this war is fought and plans are changed, because of Political considerations.

UI: Bullshit, hes commander in chief, he wouldn’t risk our american soldiers like that.

JC: FIrst of all, that person he obstructed from getting in to the texas air nat’l gaurd probably died in Vietnam, so don’t tell me he is compassionate or not elitist. Think about it man: no pictures of coffins, “mission accomplished” banner, “transfer of sovereignty”, Interim government, and now “the final battle”.

UI: Well I believe my leader and I think that Fallujah will represent the end of the Iraqi occupation.

JC: Listen dude, how long would you let your children live without electricty or sewage? How long would you put up with military checkpoints in your neighborhood? How long would you put up with the bombs falling around the clock?

How long would you put up with foreign soldiers in your fucking backyard!?


UI: See you are anti-american

JC: No, that is where you and your jingoist buddies are wrong. We are the real americans, the ones Bolivar was talking about. The ones that want to see true democracy not coporatism(what Mussolini said Facism should be called) spread to other countries. As our texas fuhrer proceeds to strip us of the rights gauranteed to us by the constitution, we will have to destroy the current institutions of power. You’ll be there UI with the rest of us, it’ll just take a little longer for you guys to come around.

UI: you fuckers will get crushed like the warsaw uprising, haha, stage a revolution in the era or terror and cointelpro, you truly are an idealist.

JC: i’m not the only one, my freind, i’m not the only one. LIke I said earlier though, “Fallujah is to shock and awe as Stalingrad was to the blitzkrieg”.

UI: We are starting to look more and more like nazis

JC: thats the spirit haha. Check it out ok 9/11 killed 3,000 civilians right?

UI: right.

JC: we have killed 100,000 civilians in Iraq so far, so we cannot complain about the next 32, 9/11s.

UI: Those were disgusting acts SPECIFICALLY targeting civilians

JC: well despite the fact that we target civilians as well, its based on an assumption that democracy is our system of government. The truth is the elites control the civilians, so killing civilians didn’t do anything. The terrorists should start fighting the people we’re all fighting against, instead of arbitrarly blowing up buildings because of supposed symbolic meaning.

UI: Not only that but the evidence of responsibility for 9/11 always goes back to two places: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s ISI.

JC: well years from now, we’ll see what they put in the children’s history books, and one thing I gaurantee is that it won’t be the truth.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Racial profiling in the United States: Is Justice Blind?

The most important problem facing law enforcement today is the issue of Racial Profiling. Statistics do not lie and neither do radical changes in social order. Not since the 1960s has the country been closer to the brink of a race war. Rodney King and the subsequent acquittals of police officers, the O.J. Simpson trial, and recent riots in cities such as Cincinnati all have one common theme: a distrust of law enforcement officials by urban residents. Throughout the course of my research I have come across facts that continually support the belief that race is one of the most important factors in the justice system. Essentially the reason for this disparity is the conditioning that police officers have been subjected to for years. This conditioning in turn spawned a mental picture of what an offender is, this picture soon became the scapegoat of our entire society. Certain individuals deny that racial profiling is a reality and if they do acknowledge its’ existence they argue that it is impossible to stop. These myths need to be debunked, because this unequal enforcement of justice makes a farce of everything the United States stands for.

Dred Scott was the first well known supreme court case that reaffirmed the law that African-Americans are less than human. In this case a slave went to the north and returned to the south, filed a court case for his freedom and was turned down by the courts. This court decision basically said once a slave always a slave, today historians blame it on being sensitive to the southerners. It was basically the next logical step for a constitution guaranteeing equality and a policy that guarantees inequality. The next landmark decision was Homer Adolph Plessy v. The State of Louisiana, this decision decided that Jim Crow laws were in fact constitutional. Homer Plessy was an individual who was 1/8th African and was forced to sit in the “Colored” car. He filed a court case arguing for equality, since the train did not leave Louisina, it did not fit in to the strict definition the court had at the time of federalism, so judge Ferguson felt that there was not a violation. The court needed to give all citizens equality in the public realm, but it also needed to reaffirm the widely held belief that African-Americans were less than human. The court accomplished this by instituting the “separate but equal” era of race policy. The separate part of this phrase became much more important than the equal facet. Schools, restaurants, and restrooms were divided between white and colored. These facilities existed before the Plessy decision in 1896, but the decision essentially legitimizes the practice. This era lasted for 60 years until the Brown vs. Board of education decision. This period of time is incredibly important in understanding our current racial problems. This long period of time which was only a few generations ago, built in to the collective American psyche an image that African-Americans are less than a white American. Most importantly that they are bestial and dirty, therefore they could not use public swimming pools or a white person’s water fountain. These are not light ideologies, to fuel these beliefs there must be a healthy dose of dehumanizing. Lynchings were still happening in the south and beatings of African-Americans was very common.
About 50 years ago, in 1954 the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools had to be integrated. One could argue this is the single most important supreme court case since Marbury v. Madison. For people in the south this was a 180 degree turn around and for people in the north it was a massive change from the status quo. In the decade that is known for its resistance to change and the image of the stereotypical white nuclear suburban family. Brown v. Board had a tough time being enforced, but the executive branch did its’ best to enforce it. When Governor Wallace declared “…segregation forever!” and attempted to block African-American students from entering the University, the National Guard was sent to enforce the court decision.
The court also brought in to focus an important issue when it came to segregation. The difference between De Facto and De Jure segregation. De Jure is segregation required by the law, while De Facto segregation is the unintended result of environmental and social factors. By deciding Brown v. Board the court basically destroyed De Jure segregation. An issue that then became very important was busing to fight against De Facto segregation, there are many problems with busing itself and there are probably better ways to stop De Facto segregation. The government at least was not upholding the inequality that was mandated by the Plessy decision.

The time after Brown v. Board is widely referred to as the Civil Rights Era. Between this time and 1964 there was a great deal of social change. An important thing to remember is social change is a long, incremental, and nearly impossible thing to accomplish. People are very resistant to change especially when they had been conditioned since their birth that not only were Blacks less than human, but the supreme court recognizes and agrees with this! It was unheard of for a black woman to refuse to sit in the back of the bus and even more unheard of for white people to travel with blacks fighting for civil rights. The remnants of the ku klux klan and southern law enforcement officers worked together to deny blacks their civil rights. At least that is all they were charged with, because all trials against murderers, bombers, and conspirators were decided by an all white, all male jury. These individuals for the most part agreed with the individuals who had committed these heinous acts, because they had been conditioned in the same way. People walked free, the most famous of these incidents is the murder of three freedom riders. Two white males and one black male, had been traveling on integrated bus lines to make sure it was truly integrated. These individuals were dragged out of the car and murdered by Klan members. This resistance to change is very important in understanding our current problem with racial profiling.
In 1964 the civil rights act was passed, essentially the legislative follow up to the Brown v. Board decision and the activists creating social change. This era is important because there has not been a significant court or legislative action dealing with race since then. The closest is the Whren decision which said it was ok to use race as a factor in policing as long as it is not the only factor(Cox Cohan). As Richard Bennet explained to us, the incarceration rate has been steadily increasing at a much faster rate than before. The point of origin for this phenomenon was the 1964 civil rights act. As Bennet argued I began to formulate a hypothesis. These rights were not given to minorities, instead they had been withheld for countless years in basic violation of our constitution. Since being withheld for countless years(you only have to look back 150 years for slavery) our culture has been conditioned to think of African-Americans as lesser beings. The Plessy decision just codified this belief and Brown v. Board all of a sudden told the public everything they knew and had been told was wrong. So after equal rights were guaranteed to be enforced by the federal government, this “group” of “Coloreds” became a group undesirable to society, but it was unlawful to act on this belief. This is the state of America’s collective psyche today.

Since the Civil Rights Act the incarceration rate has steadily increased, compared to its relatively stable pre-1964 rate(Bennet). The people in power needed something to keep those slaves from becoming equal. Far from a rational decision, it become a common psychological reaction to label this group criminals or to at least imagine criminals as looking a certain way.
“…racial profiling doesn’t happen because data justifies the practice but rather because those with power are able to get away with it, and find it functional to do so as a mechanism of social control over those who are less powerful. By typifying certain ‘others’ as dangerous or undesirable,those seeking to maintain divisions between people whose economic and social interests are actually quitesimilar can successfully maintain those cleavages.(Wise)”

The ruling class in this case is White America and the dangerous undesirable group is former slaves. After so many years of being told that the reason they treated this group of people like trash, is because they were animals like dogs and cats. Now all of a sudden these “animals” are equal to them in the eyes of the law. Either one can understand they themselves are evil for treating human beings like animals or they can understand that this group is still less than human and the government is wrong. Now one can easily understand, which entity is it easier to blame this on: yourself or the government? It is obviously that faceless entity known as the government, so racism survives, to be taught to the next generation(Greenblatt).
The police are just a random sampling of the population with a few qualifications: for the most part these individuals come from working or middle class families and many have relatives that were law enforcement officers. So policemen are being told by others before the civil rights act, before Brown v. Board, and even before Plessy that Blacks were less than human. This conditioning does not all of a sudden stop when the government says that it is not true. The thing that was greatly cut down on were terrorist actions, like the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church in Birmingham Now discrimination in jobs were illegal, where could this shared value of racism go? The answer is law enforcement, although today I do consider racial profiling racist, I do not consider the policemen who profile racist. It is simple, if one is discriminated in a job or if they are beaten for being black, that individual simply brings the issue to court. For a victim of racial profiling, you are already a criminal, you cannot say you were discriminated against, because no one will listen. So it happens once, twice, and soon it becomes a common practice. After many years the public and police begin to have a picture of what a criminal looks like. Understanding the root causes of racial profiling helps us understand the problem we face today, because we have seen a long line of improvements in the quest for equal protection under the law. Also the important thing to understand is that we all share responsibility, so it makes the problem hard to accept.

Many individuals seem to have a perception of racial profiling that it probably exists, but only in specific areas like the south or large cities. The truth is that all across our country there is a disproportionately large amount of minorities arrested(as well as searched), convicted, and incarcerated.
“His office investigated the issue for four months before he officially admitted that New Jersey state troopers were regularly engaging in racial profiling. The office also acknowledged that although the racial profiling issue has gained state and national attention, the underlying conditions that foster disparate treatment of minorities have existed for decades…The report found that the problem of racial profiling was real, and not simply imagined.(Meeks)”

The most noticeable difference is in drug possession crimes. African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population and 13% of monthly drug users. Well this is to be expected for the proportion of drug use to fluctuate a few points around its’ proportion to the general population. So one would expect that the rate of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations would go back and forth between 6% and 20%. Well it turns out 35% of drug arrests are African-Americans. Maybe for some reason there is just a few more drug users per capita that are African-American that the survey missed in the monthly drug users. Now the next step in the justice process the verdict, at this step in the process African-Americans make up 55% of those convicted of drug possession. Now the judges turn, they have justice in mind, they’ll keep drug users out of jail and in treatment programs so they can rid themselves of their addiction. It turns out African-Americans make up 74% of those incarcerated for drug possession(Walker). At the point of the proportin of drug arrests one may think its just a little bit not to bad a violation, but by the time one understands that 74% of people incarcerated for drugs are African-American we must understand that this problem is pervasive.
Some people argue that minorities are disproportionately distributing drugs or that minorities are impoverished so they have to resort to a life of crime. These are hindsight justifications, the truth is that even if minorities were disproportionately distributing drugs how could they make up 74% of people who possess drugs when they are 12% of the population, this is basically an assumption that all young black males are drug users. This assumption is faulty, because the evidence shows they are only 13% of monthly drug users(Walker). The argument that poverty creates an environment in which crime is the easy way out is true. Crime is a short term answer to poverty, but I know that most impoverished individuals whatever race work very hard to keep their head above water. To assume that a child born in a poverty stricken neighborhood will end up a criminal is not logical. Also to assume that minorities come from impoverished areas is in itself ignorant and prejudiced. As we have seen no matter what social standing a person comes from if they are a minority they are treated negatively by the justice system(Ramirez).
One example of this is what people call DWB, or Driving While Black. In a case the ACLU took, a black prosecutor was driving back to Washington DC after attending a funeral with his family. He was in a hurry to make a trial the next day. He was pulled over in the rain and asked if he would submit to a search. The driver stated that he knew his rights and did not want his car searched. The family was forced to wait there as they brought a drug dog to sniff out the car. As their car was searched the family stood out in the rain. When the attorney arrived in his office he called the ACLU and they filed a case against the police(Meeks). The case led to document that had been circulating among the police that there were lots of drug shipments going through their highway and the perpetrators are usually black and usually in a rent-a-car(Jost). Well the attorney was black and he was in a rent-a-car, but to everyone’s astonishment he was not a drug smuggler. This is just one isolated incident, but if one looks at the ACLU site it quickly becomes obvious that there are cases filed in many states. Although some of them may be exaggerated or simply not true, some of them are true and give us a glimpse in to what it feels like to be singled out and intimidated because of your race.
A recent study found that 9 out of 10 individuals incarcerated in Maryland on drug offenses are African-American(JPI). Also on any given day 42% of African-American men age 18-35 in Washington DC are under the control of the justice system. This is defined as being either on probation, parole, in jail, or in prison. Also one-sixth of African-American men(defined as over age 16) are arrested each year(Walker). The disparity is not only in drug crimes either, African-Americans make up half of all state and federal prisoners. They also make up two-thirds of federal prisoners incarcerated for drugs(Walker).
Certain people think that the racism within the system is a myth. That in actuality it is polices that ranking officers have their officers follow(Fredrickson). For instance to order officers to pull over black people driving rent-a-cars, because they have arrested some black people driving rent-a-cars for drug possession. Some argue this is good policing, like crime mapping you can pick up a pattern. They don’t think of it as racial profiling, it just makes sense. The truth is just because 13 of the 16 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi Arabian and all 16 were Muslim, does not mean that we should search Saudi Muslims a lot more than other individuals when boarding planes. This seems rational because its based on empirical analysis, but instead it puts us more at risk. If law enforcement is too busy searching innocent minorities for drugs and airport security officers are too busy searching innocent Muslims for shoe bombs, no one is catching the real criminals. This is the primary effect that racial profiling has on the justice system in the United States. By focusing on individuals because of their race we are not incarcerating those dangerous to society, we’re incarcerating a race of people. By letting through the criminals everyone in society is endangered by racial profiling.
The secondary effect of Racial Profiling is alienation of the group that is affected. Minorities become dehumanized just as badly if not worse than having to sit on the back of the bus or not eat at lunch counters. With family and friends being searched illegally. Then disproportionately arrested, convicted, and incarcerated its easy to understand the justice system has marginalized this group. Beyond the statistical facts and personal experiences with the justice system, there is the media. The O.J. Simpson trial, the Rodney King beating and subsequent acquittal, and the recent beating in Cincinnati that left a man dead these all create and fuel a perception of the justice system. People who are affected by these tragedies respond in anger, rioting and destroying their own neighborhoods. Many individuals of all races have let the media frame racial profiling without understanding the facts(Lamberth). These very few highly publicized cases convince skeptics that racial profiling is a myth created by the media and convince people who believe in racial profiling that incidents are much more violent than usual. This is interesting because increased perception seems to polarize opinions on racial profiling, when it should unite them. The answer to this in my opinion is to use less sensationalism when covering these stories, to see it as a symptom of the larger problem of racial profiling and not just a fluke.

The newest form of Racial Profiling involves Muslims. This specifically deals with airport security and suspension of habeas corpus. Since the attacks on 9/11 airport security has become controlled by the military. They are operating under orders to look for suspicious persons, since the mental picture of what a hijacker looks like is already ingrained in them, the look for a certain type of person. This person usually wears a cloth on their head, has a certain skin color, and maybe even an accent. Also American citizens detained in Guantanimo bay without being given access to an attorney or communication with their families. These people are held there specifically because they are Muslim and are suspected of knowing certain people. This is fine to arrest and change someone with a crime, but to imprison these people with the term “Enemy Combatants” is a stretch. It becomes obvious that this policy is tilted when one sees that virtually all the prisoners are Muslim. Also racial profiling affects other minorities like Latinos, as it turns out 30% of federal mandatory minimums are given to Latinos(FAMM). Also from many peoples experiences we can understand racial profiling can work in reverse. When a Caucasian is driving in a neighborhood the law enforcement perceive to be a “minority” neighborhood, they are pulled over on the basis of race. The assumption is for the most part based on drug searches.

Now we understand that racial profiling is pervasive, we understand it affects every race, and we know that this problem is exacerbated by drug war policies and media sensationalism. We have a basic understanding of racism in the United States and a recognition that racism has survived.
Many individuals are resistant to the idea of racial profiling, because they feel it scapegoats law enforcement for a societal problem they aren’t responsible for. These individuals are right and wrong. To scapegoat law enforcement officers is wrong and sometimes these claims can come across that way, especially if they are unfounded claims(like many cases very well might be). The truth is law enforcement is responsible for the problem, but just as responsible as everyone else. The police commit small acts of disproportionate arresting, the public with juries commits a few more small acts of disproportionate convictions, and the judge comes down on minorities a little harder. All these subtle differences have a cumulative affect and create a horribly unbalanced justice system.
The people in the system are not racist, they are just products of social conditioning. We are all products of social conditioning, but many of us are not exposed to certain cultures. For instance the culture of law enforcement is very interesting. As Ronald Hampton discussed with us every different station has different values and objectives. Their superior officer gives them orders and they follow them. To lead to this disproportionate arrest rate the police in many jurisdictions must have a subtle shared value of what an offender looks like. These values are pieced together from training, experience, and being taught by previous generations of officers. With arrest rates for drug possession more than twice the rate of consumption for African-Americans this is the most rational explanation. Police officers are not racist, they have just been arresting blacks for so long they’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Again even if they recognize their mistakes, there aren’t that many, just a little lopsided in the enforcement.
Many think that police are the number one problem in addressing racial profiling. The public and the judge are just as important though. Through the jury system, an offender is judged by his/her peers. They determine guilt and as the statistics in Samuel Walker’s book show us they are convicting a higher rate of black people than white people. These juries are samples of the population and are sometimes minorities themselves. As it turns out in society in general no matter what race you are, the conditioning exists to some degree that you believe a certain type of person commits certain types of crimes. Also these juries are viewing trials which are usually good prosecutors with their own future in mind and unskilled defenders, because the defendant can’t afford a better attorney. So they convict a little higher percentage than would be expected.
The judges then have a chance to balance the scales of justice. If more African-Americans are being sentenced why not give a larger percentage non-prison rehabilitation. The statistics don’t take a downturn though, instead they continue to rise. As the number finally becomes a whopping 74% of drug users incarcerated being African-American.
The problem does not rest squarely on any single entities shoulders. Instead the problem is ingrained in our culture and everyone is responsible. So how can such a huge problem ever be addressed?

The first step towards reducing Racial Profiling, is to have every station in the United States record the race of the people they pull over and search. If the current practices continue we will be able to pinpoint certain jurisdictions that use race as the most important factor in determining probable cause. This can lead to a federal lawsuit for violating people’s civil rights. If the current practices don’t continue, because people realize they are being monitored the problem will be solved at the law enforcement level. Frederick Taylor is an organizational theorist known for his popularizing of the theory of Scientific Management, which is a belief that there is a best way to manage any organization. Taylor did a study in the workplace and found out that the more he dimmed the lights the harder people worked, until it got too dark to work. When the study was done he concluded that the people had worked harder, simply because they knew they were being studied. I think that if a police officer is convinced not to search someone, because he is scared of legal repercussions, then that person was not worth searching. The collection of traffic stop/search/arrest data will lead to stricter enforcement of probable cause and eliminate the gap between the 14% of drug users are African-American and 35% of arrestees are African-American.

The next step has to deal with the jury and prosecutor. The convictions are a result of the prosecutors dropping a larger percentage of Caucasian drug cases and public perceptions of drug use. To reduce this disparity we must limit the prosecutorial discretion at some level. Many cases the prosecutor is convinced the person is bad and just throws counts at them to see what will stick. Also all jurors should be made aware of the disparity in conviction rates. This may help them look through their own conditioned prejudice.
For the judges these individuals already have a tight grasp of the law and should not be contributing to this disparity. Simply put these judges need to be aware that they are somehow incarcerating a much higher rate of African-Americans than Caucasians, especially for drug crimes. This may also be contributed to by mandatory minimums. Hurting the judge’s discretion, forcing incarceration for drug crimes instead of rehab(FAMM).

Racial Profiling is a symptom of a larger societal prejudice(Fagan). If we can reduce the disparity and set our goal to eliminate it completely we can cure this symptom. This is a positive step in insuring everyone equal protection under the law. Racial profiling should not be used to determine probable cause for searching or arresting. It does not matter if 100% of plane hijackers in history are Muslim, this does not justify violating the rights of every Muslim. Separate but equal is also not very long ago, we must remember that racism didn’t all of a sudden die in 1964, instead it became something under the surface. It is perpetuated by an unequal justice system and sometimes it boils over and leads to riots.
To catch the real criminals we must stop searching innocents, we must stop marginalizing racial groups with our law enforcement, and we have to accumulate data to gain a greater understanding of the problem. I myself have been conditioned throughout my lifetime, I try to remain open minded and look through the prejudice, obviously this can never happen.
Prejudice and racism will never cease existing, what we need to do is eliminate it from our government. This is a plausible goal and without reaching it I fear we may be taking steps backward in regards to civil rights. Simply put without justice there can be no peace. Racial disparity in the justice system is unjust and affects everyone no matter what race.

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Sorensen, Jon; Hope, Robert; and Stemen, Don “Racial Disproportionality in State Prison Admissions: Can Regional Variation be Explained by Differential Arrest Rates?” Journal of Criminal Justice Jan, 2003 Vol. 31 Iss. 1 pg. 73-84

Stone, Christopher “Race, Crime, and the Administration of Justice” National Institute of Justice Apr, 1999

Strandberg, Keith W. “Racial Profiling” Law Enforcement Technology Jun, 1999 Vol. 26 Iss. 6

University of Chicago Press “Assessment of the Black Female Prisoner in the South” SIGNS 1977 Vol. 3 iss. 2

US General Accounting Office “Racial Profiling Data Available on Motorist Stops.” Mar, 2000

Walker, Samuel. Sense and Nonsense about Crime and Drugs 2001 Wadsworth Thomson Learning

Weitzer, Ronald and Tuch, Steven “Perceptions of Racial Profiling: Race, Class, and Personal Experience.” Criminology May, 2002 Vol. 40 Iss. 2

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Wood, Peter B. and May, David C. “Racial differences in perceptions of the severity of sanctions: A comparison of prison with Peter B. Wood, David C. May” Justice Quarterly Sep, 2003 Vol. 20

Authority Without Leadership

Wrote this in March so it is somewhat postdated, I think its a decent analysis of Terrorism and Iraq.

The world did not change on September 11th in one way, it did not get more dangerous to live in the United States. Despite the color of the threat status we have been under the same amount of threat since before September 11th. People learned right away that small groups of people could kill large amounts of people, modern technology can give individuals great power. This is a Type III situation the solution and the problem are blurry. First of all the federal government has never come up with a cohesive definition for what “Terrorism” actually is, every agency has a different definition. A solution to try to stop terrorism is impossible, technology being inert will be used for good or evil, nothing can stop this, because the genie is out of the bottle. The way to fight Terrorism in my opinion is eradicate the perpetuation by helping countries develop so young people can work for food instead of joining barracks and being manipulated by older authority figures to do violent acts.
George W. Bush’s presidency has been the most divisive of presidencies recently. His “compassionate conservative” PR flood stated he would unite the country. Instead the president has done many things wrong in handling this threat to the United States. The first mistake was the “Phoenix Memo” to Robert Mueller which was not read or at least not paid attention to by the leaders of the FBI. The memo claims Moussaoui has been training in flight school practicing flying, but never landing or taking off. The memo was ignored and the previous strategy for preventing airplanes from becoming hijacked failed on September 11th.
The president then framed the problem a lanky cave dweller on dialysis had orchestrated an offensive on United States soil. The answer was of course, war. The war on terrorism began in a mindset that Bush created, that this was a type I problem. The terrorists are easy to spot in Bush’s mind they dislike freedom and they hate liberty with a passion. In fact there is very little to “terrorists” except that they are the “bad guys” they’re just plain evil. The idea of “terrorists” is now used to justify any policy. For instance the United States is currently occupying a country that we invaded, because Bush insinuated links between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, even though this link is completely fictional and Bush as well as Rumsfeld have admitted that there is no link in press conferences.
This is important, because we as followers are not being asked to learn. Instead we are being inundated with false news reports and false war reports, all with one thing in mind to make us afraid. We are never asked by our leaders to remember the early 80s visit to Saddam Hussein where Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand and the US presented him with technology to test chemical weapons. To learn that we may share responsibility for the only viable reason in ousting this dictator, that he gassed his own citizens, this may cause learning our president does not want this. We are not asked to remember the Mujahedin or that Bin Laden was trained by the CIA, and that the United States abandoned Afghanistan after it served its purpose fighting off communists. In my opinion many of our modern threats can be traced to horrible foreign policy during the Cold War, this is because everyone was scared of Communism so they allied with Fascist leaders in other countries. I fear the same thing will happen with our treatment of “terrorists” we have not actually investigated our position. We do not truly know why someone would be motivated to give his life to destroy our country. I do know for a fact it is not because that person “hates liberty” or “our lifestyle” like the president says.
This is a type III problem but it is being framed by our leaders as a type I problem. Also the public is not being asked to learn, instead the public is asked by the media to duct tape the windows of their house in case of chemical weapons attack. The only learning our leaders want the public to do is learning where the closest Wal-Mart is and consuming. There is no outcome to this path, the only outcome is an endless “war on terrorism” or as Rumsfeld would call it “A long hard slog.” We need to understand that essentially this problem will never be fully stopped, this is a type III Problem. The answer does not lie in more bombing and ground troops, but through a period of learning and understanding the true motivations for terrorism. This is the most important facet of our war on terrorism, just like the war on drugs, this war is endless and pointless, because it will never stop terrorism.
A few key events since 9/11 have been the deployment of ground troops to Afghanistan, formation of Homeland Security department, invasion/occupation of Iraq, Guantanimo bay prison/internment camp, resisting the 9/11 commission, and the steady encroachment upon civil liberties beginning with the Patriot act.
The deployment of ground troops to Afghanistan was seen as an obvious response, basically a catch Osama task force. While we were deploying troops to catch a Bin Laden in Afghanistan the only flights to take off on 9/12 were those that flew Bin Laden relatives living in the United States to Washington, DC and then to Paris, France by the FBI, before they could be questioned. This story was not latched on to by the media, instead the media focused on our first kneejerk reaction which was the deployment to Afghanistan. These ground forces have been dying since they were deployed and Osama Bin Laden has still not been found. In this specific areas Bush failed to form any semblance of leadership. He framed the problem as finding the culprit, he regulated distress by assuring us that he would catch the criminal responsible, and focused our attention on the fact that we are under threat. The fact that simultaneously at this very moment and every moment since this paper was written, thousands of nuclear weapons have been pointed at you, your friends, and family. Although this threat is far more dangerous and real, our leaders have decided what they are focusing on. Bush has shifted responsibility, maybe not to stakeholders but to followers in the military. Bush has started a new PR blitz that claims the U.S. will find Osama Bin Laden soon. This is another example of regulating stress, people were starting to get tired of waiting for the person responsible for 9/11 so our leader held a press conference.
The formation of the Homeland Security department goes with the framing of the problem as a type I. The problem was lack of horizontal communication and in group/out group dynamics, so the simple answer is to combine all the agencies involved. This has now become the largest reorganization of the federal government in history. This action has given us a color coded threat level that is the mascot for the PR stupidity of our administration. Although the threat level was created to give comedians fodder during stand-up routines, it actually serves a purpose. It is very expensive to raise the threat level and puts things like the coast guard on a little higher alert. This is probably the closest to leadership George W. Bush gets. The homeland security department seems to increase communication and reduce the rivalry between group like the CIA and FBI. So it will help catch some attacks before they happen, like 9/11 should have been stopped because of the “Phoenix memo”.
The invasion of Iraq has also been a cornerstone of the Bush neo-conservative foreign policy. Since Bush’s election Paul Wolfowitz has been searching for a way to steer us in to war with Iraq. The opportunity presented itself in the form of thousands of Americans dying in the WTC and pentagon attacks. The problem was framed in a way that will seem so simply in hindsight in a few years idiotic. We brought up the usual suspects Saddam, Kim Jong Il, and Iran. This is where Bush’s foreign policy changes from not very smart, to catastrophically bad. The problem was framed that Iraq had chemical weapons that could not be found by the UN. Also the fact that Iraq had violated a UN code (in the opinion of the US) justified a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, which itself violated two UN policies. The United States foreign policy has been led astray, the problem has been framed that “If you don’t get them first, they’ll get you.” If we follow Bush’s framing of the problem we can only win by destroying everything and everyone that isn’t American! The war’s justification changed as time has passed, we know there are no Weapons of Mass Destruction, we know that Saddam used technology from the US to build his chemical weapons in the first place, and now the only justification left is that Saddam is generally an evil person. Saddam is George W. Bush’s scapegoat, he is the proverbial deer strapped to the hood of the car, a trophy to show the public that he has done something.
The jailing of “enemy combatants” at Guantanimo bay Cuba is also another example of authority without leadership. Essentially Bush used a technicality in the Geneva convention and abused it on such a level to fill Gitmo detention center. As civil rights groups asked that the American citizens at least be able to contact a family member or attorney. Their families were not even allowed to know they were being held without trial by the United States government. To regulate distress the Bush administration assured America that these people were all terrorists, even though the only definition of terrorists Bush has given us is that they are people who “hate liberty”. This catch-22 worked out nicely and is even comical to read, because if terrorists hate liberty, we’re playing right in to their hands jailing them without trial. Recently the courts decided that Jose Padilla can see a lawyer and talk to his family, which opened the doors for other U.S. citizens being held at Gitmo to finally receive some sort of justice. The Bush administration focuses attention away from Guantanimo bay, because logically everyone makes mistakes many people in Gitmo are innocent and deserve a trial to determine their innocence.
Another example of the poor leadership being displayed is the encroachment on constitutional rights and resistance to the 9/11 commission. The Patriot act made it easier for law enforcement to do a lot of things, but the most important was invade privacy. There is a easier brightline to establish the need for a warrant to tap phones, although these rights have seen a slow encroachment as technology has advanced the mass fear has catalyzed this process.
The leadership President Bush is displaying is very weak. He refuses to deal with Terrorism as a type III problem. He instead will be fighting the symptoms of Terrorism for ever, because he does not frame the problem in the right way.
Terrorism will be here after Bush’s presidency no matter what. The things we will remember are the two wars we are simultaneously fighting overseas, while installing a non-elected leadership council in Iraq, and suspending habeas corpus for American prisoners. Framing the problem as a type I and using fear to build political capital is horrible leadership.
I hope that the United States comes to its senses and the wild rage that has taken hold after 9/11 turns in to a spirit of inquisition. Killing terrorists as we catch them or locking them up and throwing away the key in Cuba are not viable strategies. Only through investigation and understanding of how terrorists are created can we hope to reduce the threat of terrorist attack in the future. Until then I will be ever cognizant of the thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at my head and remember that terrorism is really nothing new.


Rowley, Colleen. “Coleen Rowley’s memo to FBI director Robert Mueller” May 21, 2002

Associated Press. “Pelosi pushes for new 9/11 deadline” New York Times Feb 26, 2004

Heifetz, Ronald. “Leadership without easy answers”

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

We must start building an aversion to conditioning

"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly... it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over."
-Joseph Goebbels

"America is safer"
-George Bush Jr.

"The whole story is complicated by Strauss's idea--actually Plato's--that philosophers need to tell noble lies not only to the people at large but also to powerful politicians."
-Stephen Holmes

"There is definetly a link between saddam and what happened on 9/11"
-Condoleeza Rice

"All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country"
-Herman Goring (founder of gestapo) Nuremburg Trials

"If you vote for the wrong guy, chances are we'll get hit again and it'll be worse."
-Dick Cheney

"If the president goes to the American people and wraps himself in the American flag and lets Congress wrap itself in the white flag of surrender, the president will win...The American people had never heard of Grenada. There was no reason why they should have. The reason we gave for the intervention-the risk to American Medical students there-was phony, butthe reaction of the American people was absolutely and overwhelmingly favorable. They had no idea what was going on, but they backed the president. They always will."
-Irving Kristol, The fettered Presidency
(American Enterprise Institute, 1989)

You have read the facts by now or you prolly wouldn't be on this stupid site.
The dominant ideology of this administration is Straussianism (this is how it is referred to in the political science community) or Neo-Conservatism as it has been called in major news oulets.
please wake up its so important that we work to protect our constitution
-Jimothy J. Jones

P.S. I heard a rumor today that Dick Cheney was resigning they're gonna get Rudy Guliani to be VP, and in 2008 The Party will choose either Jeb Bush / Rudy Guliani or vice-versa. Remember also that 1/3 of The Party's delegates support Jeb Bush for president in 2008.