On the radio just now, the host was arguing that it's time to get over our overly PC squeamishness and start some racial profiling in the War on Terror - er, excuse me, in the "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" (or "Global SAVE" for short).
His point is that random searches of bags at subway stations is not a good use of resources. By picking every fifth passenger, for example, we'll end up stopping somebody's granny (who just happens to be number five) and, according to the radio guy, allowing the young Arab-looking man who was number four to get onto the train with his backpack full of explosives.
His example is geared to elicit an "of course he's right" response. Why would granny want to blow up a train? And so, he gets reasonable people to go along with the notion that the enemy is "Arabs" or "Muslims" and target only them.
The answer is that searches should be conducted based on a reasonable suspicion, but that race is not enough of a reason to suspect somebody - or to let them off the hook. Yes, sometimes the suspicious looking character will be Middle Eastern. But if we want to avert the next tragedy, they had better be looking for suspicious White guys (and gals) too.
In addition to the above, they still need to be doing random searches, even if that might mean picking on your granny. It won't take recruiters long to figure out that they need to send out bombers who don't "fit the profile." It's also important to remember that Islamic extremism isn't the only philosophy that wishes us ill will.
I would certainly like to help prevent the next Osama inspired bombing. But, if we're serious about the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, shouldn't we be looking for the next Timothy McVey or Eric Rudolph follower as well? I don't know about you, but I'm more scared of Redneck Extremism than any threat from across the globe.