The American Civil Liberties Union fancies itself as the nation's great protector of individual freedom. In actuality, if it has its way, there won't be much freedom left to protect. Too many Americans will be dead from terrorist attacks.
The latest example of the ACLU stomping on the country's ability to defend itself is the anti-profiling suit it filed against Logan International Airport in Boston. According to Reuters, the so-called civil rights group is challenging the program known as "behavior pattern recognition" - i.e., the practice of detaining people for questioning based on strange, unusual, bizarre or anxious behavior.
This is the kind of profiling adopted after the ACLU and other like-minded groups legally squashed airport authorities' ability to use more conventional profiling methods, such as giving closer scrutiny to, and perhaps singling out for questioning, more persons of apparent Middle Eastern descent than persons of other ethnic origins.
This screening made sense in light of 9-11 and other deadly radical Islamic attacks on U.S. and Western interests around the world. But the ACLU claimed that trampled on individual freedoms of Middle Eastern ethnics, so the screening was abandoned, at least in the United States, for a random system of checks in which little old ladies and scantily clad adolescent girls are given the same scrutiny - sometimes even more - as swarthy young men dressed in long robes and hoods.
The next-best plan was BPT - behavior pattern recognition - used in Israel and some other countries. But now that the ACLU also finds that unfairly discriminatory, one wonders what the organization would allow in the way of trying to intercept airline terrorists before they strike.
It's as if the group, in the name of some exaggerated, twisted concept of civil rights, wants to strip the nation of the means to take reasonable precautions to defend itself against another 9-11. This doesn't protect freedom; it encourages attacks.
The ACLU doesn't seem to think 9-11 changed anything vis-a-vis balancing freedom against security. It perceives terrorists as just another brand of criminal, and terrorist acts as just another ordinary crime.
As these anti-profiling suits go forward, let's hope the courts will realize what the ACLU doesn't - that plotting mass murders is an act of war that requires stronger commonsense security strategies than would be permitted during peacetime.