Rep. Peter King's plan to investigate the "radicalization of the American Muslim community and homegrown terrorism" is the knee-jerk reflex of a demagogue who has made a career out of inflaming people's fears.
In his previous stint as chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he latched onto, among others, the proposed sale (supported by the Bush administration) of six U.S. ports to DP World, one of the world's largest port operators based in Dubai. A salient fact, to which Mr. King would have most certainly been privy, was that DP World operated three of eight terminals in Hong Kong that have U.S. Customs and Border Protection Green Lane status, conferred to importers who demonstrate strong security practices and exempting them from regular inspections. In practical terms, that means elements of DP World could have slipped a "dirty bomb" into this country long ago.
But whipping up public hysteria plays far better than enhancing public understanding. No doubt Mr. King, whose glossy constituent mailings show him spending much of his time surrounded by uniforms, has heard concerns from the law enforcement community that he wants to hear.
Far be it for Mr. King to engage in Rumsfeld ruminations about whether we are creating terrorists more quickly than we are getting rid of them.
The collateral damage of demeaning and subjecting an entire religious community to animus would seem to be of no greater concern to the incoming Homeland Security Committee chairman than the very real consequence that his actions will dangerously destabilize already unstable elements on the margins of these communities.
West Gilgo Beach