Those against the use of racial profiling by security agencies note that personal liberties of those targeted are infringed [Dur06]. Stopping and randomly searching Arabs and Muslims on the suspicion that they are terrorists, without any other consideration apart from their race is ethically wrong in normal situations. However, if you consider the situation as a war, implied by the war on terror, then the considerations have to change drastically. From the principles of Just War Theory, war should be only considered as the last resort. From this principle, the emphasis is laid on avoiding armed conflict by any means necessary. Using racial profiling as a measure of preventing a terrorist attack that could prompt an armed conflict is rational. In line with this view, racial profiling helps save lives by preventing war, as such the last resort before armed conflict. (Davis &Silver, 2004)
RACIAL PROFILING IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM 8 One of the principles proposed by just war theorist is that of legitimate authority. From this principle, war can only be waged by a legitimate authority that protects the interest of the entire community. Using this perspective, war cannot be waged by individuals or groups that do not constitute a government. One can, therefore, assume that terrorist have no capacity to wage war, making the war unjust. However, from their attempts in spreading their agenda through war, they put the lives of American citizens in danger. This forms the basis of America’s involvement in the war on terror [Pet02]. Since it is a national government, it satisfies the criteria that only a legitimate authority can wage war. In this sense, the United States government are justified to wage war on terror and as a result the use of racial profiling as a means of preventing loss of human life on both sides of the conflict. Just war needs just cause. The war needs to be in response to a legitimate wrong suffered. A terrorist attack, like the 9/11 attacks are adequate reasons to wage war. The attackers had already contravened most of the rules of war by targeting civilian targets. The world trade center, for example, was not of any military importance. This unprovoked attack on a civilian target can constitute the use of excessive force and intentionally harm innocent civilians, which goes against the just war principles. This total disregard for war conventions offers a justifiable cause for the war on terror. American states have the constitutional mandate to protect all its citizens from both external and internal threats, which terrorism constitutes both. The use of racial profiling in this context is therefore justified since the US government is within its rights to wage the war on terror and using racial profiling helps prevent unnecessary loss of lives [Apu14]. Intentions play a crucial role while determining whether a war is justified. The main objective of any conflict should be to re-establish peace. The intended result of any armed conflict should be targeted at obtaining peace that could not have been achieved from the war.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 10 pages?
- Spring '15
- September 11 attacks