Mike Lupica, who I grew up reading and who I often still enjoy reading, has an unfortunate defense of Ray Kelly in today’s Daily News. You really don’t have to get past the first paragraph to understand what Lupica is saying here:
You start to wonder if this current war against Ray Kelly from all those opposed to his surveillance of Muslims is even about the war on terrorism any longer, as if somehow the subject has been changed from what is the main event, only for the rest of our lives.
He goes on to make the same arguments Kelly and his defenders have made over the last couple of weeks — New York has been safer on Kelly’s watch, they’re not breaking the law, remember 9/11. There’s also a confusing critique of Rush Limbaugh, as if condemnation is somehow mutually exclusive.
But even if you ignore the straw man arguments — no one, for example, is arguing that the NYPD doesn’t have the right to follow up on credible threats — it’s the very first paragraph that speaks to the mindset of Lupica and others like him on this issue. Namely, Muslims were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and so Islam and Muslims are inherently dangerous and should be watched. And while it’s true that there are people in the Muslim world who would like nothing more than to harm us, there are also American citizens who are being unfairly targeted because of the religion they choose to worship. When you read AP reports about how the NYPD found such damning evidence as someone praying “at least four times” a day, it shows the lengths at which investigators will go to find some wrongdoing.
In 1942, the federal government rounded up over 100,000 people of Japanese heritage and locked them in internment camps. Many of those interned were American citizens. In 1988, we apologized and paid reparations. Do we really want to wander back down that path of suspicion and degradation?