One of the things I periodically heard as a young Christian was that a great big strong king like Herod would not, surely, be afraid of a bunch of two year olds. It’s gotta be a legend, I was told. Nobody’s *that* much of a coward:
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said the United States should not admit any refugees from the Syrian civil war — not even “orphans under age 5.”
Of all the ridiculous and cowardly things coming from the Party of Xenophobia as it cynically seizes on tragedy to politicize and pander to the Base the Trump Built, this has to be the most chemically pure piece of cowardice yet. Why on earth does the Frankenstein base of bellicose laptop bombardiers who now populate the GOP madhouse imagine that a leadership terrified of five year olds is fit to lead them into the Grand Civilizational War the GOP is ginning us into fighting? And that war, make no mistake, intended by these guys to be fought not merely against ISIS, Boko Haram, or Al Quaida. It is against Islam–all 1.6 billion people. How do I know? Because ISIS is not a “civilization”. It is, according to CIA estimates, a group of roughly 31,000 people. And there is no way, ever, that they will “win” and take over the world. So when Rubio says “either we win or they win” he is suggesting to his frightened, bellicose base that all Muslims are our enemy. And Christie underscores that by declaring that even 5 year old orphans must be designated as such.
War with 1.6 billion people. These people are as delusional as ISIS–nd are playing right into their hands. Waleed Aly gets the ISIS strategy–a strategy the discernment-free right is eagerly cooperating with:
Against this common sense has been a wall of sheer stupidity from the reliably wrong voices of the radically dumb in what was once American conservatism. There was the guy on FB who *totally* trusts that Anonymous will use their totally unaccountable hacking skills for good and never to frame their landlord as a terrorist in order to get out of paying the rent. Ahem:
Left: a photo posted by social media accounts claiming the man shown was one of the attackers responsible for the deadly shootings and bombings in Paris. Right: the actual photo, a selfie of Toronto Sikh man Veerender Jubbal, taken in 2014. (Grasswire Fact Check/Twitter)
The same guy, who was completely ready to hack due process out of the Constitution to keep his cowardly skin safe, also wrote of Aly with the same keen discernment:
All I know is that if this guy were are in my platoon, I’d be keeping a close eye on him all the time if he were Muslim. It’s as stupid to totally trust him as to succumb to the anger that Daesh generates in normally acting people. Vigilance, and keeping our own shit together are the operative actions here. The bottom line is if he’s a Muslim we cannot trust him – the times and the Quran have taught us that.
Having heard exactly the same bigotry expressed by Know Nothings a century ago (“Roman Catholics are taught by their Jesuit masters a sinister form of moral doublethink called “mental reservation” that allow them to lie to Outsiders. They will stop at nothing to insinuate themselves into American Protestant society. If one of them ever became President, he would take orders directly from the Pope and instantly undertake the complete destruction of Our Way of Life!”) and toward Jews (see “Learned Elders of Zion, Protocols of the“), I’ve heard this paranoid song before. And if you find yourself tempted to say, “Wait, he’s got a point!” be aware that you have just proven my point that lots of people really do think we are at war with 1.6 billion Muslim–including ones that are clearly the enemies of Daesh and similar monsters.
That is exactly what Daesh wants, as Aly explained and as Daesh has itself made plain. Their stated goal is to eliminate the “grayzone”: to gin idiot Westerners into refusing to take yes for an answer, into treating all Muslims as enemies, and thereby (in their fantasy world) leaving Muslims no choice but to side with these murderous nutjobs in a Grand Civilizational War with the “Crusaders”. The only thing stupider than this ideology (one as in touch with reality as Charles Manson’s dreams of a vast Helter Skelter Race War touched off by the Tate-LaBiana murders) is the sheer stupidity of American Movement Conservativism’s zeal to cooperate with it.
But cooperating they are as a swiftly growing crowd of conservative leaders, acutely alive to the xenophobia and gutless cowardice of a Frankenstein base as bellicose as it is frightened of its own shadow is fully on board with The New Herodianism, pretending that the alternatives are either 1) shut our hearts up to refugees or 2) fling open the borders to murderers and hand them a free gun and grenade upon entry. (Amusing side note: One Texas lawmaker, a puppet of the NRA in the state that scant months ago was sure Obama was invading in Operation Jade Helm to take all the guns, is terrified that Syrian refugees will use the lax gun laws he has insisted on maintaining in order to exercise their sacred second amendment rights and buy guns–thus causing his conflicting ideologies and bigotries to collide and implode into an ideological black hole from which no rational thought can escape.)
In order to maintain the charade that this pander to the xenophobic GOP base is “realism” the GOP of course depends on the fear and ignorance of that base. The main lie being told is that there exists no mechanism at all by which refugees are screened. And so, times without number this past weekend one heard the rhetorical question: “Oh! So in order to satisfy your sense of moral superiority and toleration we are just supposed to let in terrorists masquerading as “refugees” like France did?”
Actually, there is no evidence that France did any such thing. The extremely slender thread by which hangs the conservative case for condemning all refugees as terrorists just snapped. It now appears that all the butchers were homegrown–rather like Timothy McVeigh, who nobody wants to suspend civil rights over.
Given that only two groups have indicated they agree with Daesh that the slain of Bataclan had it coming–Fundamentalist Protestant jerks and The Remnant–such people should be careful what they wish for.
But above all this is the enormously popular demand, overwhelming centered in the GOP and Movement conservatives: to kick refugees fleeing Daesh in the teeth, even if they are five year old orphans. From governors to Congresscritters, the cry–totally for the benefit of the frightened and ignorant base–is that we keep out the mob of terrorist “refugees” who will all murder us in our beds.
Not that we don’t face real danger. As Mike Flynn points out:
Back in July, there was a break-in at a French military base, from which grenades and plastic explosives and detonators were stolen.
On 5 November, Bavarian police stopped a car for inspection that was found to be stuffed with weapons — and a GPS set for Paris.
A few days ago, seven jihadis carried out a series of horrific murders in Paris. ISIS claimed there were eight. It’s possible the Montenegran man stopped in Bavaria was #8.
Last Sunday, there was a break-in at an Army Reserve center in Worcester, MA (The 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment is stationed there) and “16 weapons” were stolen.
There are going to be more terror attacks sooner or later. Face that fact. The question is, are we going to let them own us through our own fear and panic and cowardice or are we going to resolve to have courage, use our wits, do the right thing, and thereby do the smart thing? So for instance, are we going to notice the fact that these weapons were not stolen by Syrian refugees, since they are not here yet? Are we going to exercise prudence and take note of this fact:
I know, I know. “Oh yeah, wise guy? What about the Boston Bombers?” Well, prescinding from the fact that, statistically speaking, that still means you have a better chance of dying by lightning strike after being thrown from a train by agents of the Russian mafia who have mistaken you for an enemy of Putin than by being killed by a refugee, here’s reality: the Boston Bombers were not refugees. Their dad was here on a green card and then applied for asylum status.
This bring us to the next point: namely, that most of us don’t have a freaking clue about the process refugees have to go through to come here–and the fact that the GOP leaders who want you to be terrified of them so that GOP leaders can save you from terrorist five year old orphans.
Here’s the deal: Refugees already have an arduous vetting process.
1. Refugees are screened by several different agencies.
Their first point of a refugee’s contact is with the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. The UNHCR refers people to countries based on whether they have any family members there and where resettlement makes the most sense, say U.S. officials. If that’s the U.S., then refugees are vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, and the Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. Fingerprints are taken, biographical information is collected. They are then each individually interviewed by U.S. officials trained to verify that they’re bona fide refugees.
Refugees from Syria are then subject to additional screening that looks at where they came from and what caused them to flee their home, stories that are checked out. All of this occurs before a refugee is allowed to set foot in the country.
2. It’s a lengthy process.
As you might imagine, all of the vetting, from interviews to fingerprinting, takes a while. On average, officials say it’s 18 to 24 months before a refugee is approved for admission to the U.S.
The U.S. has admitted some 1,800 Syrian refugees in the past two years, and President Obama wants to allow 10,000 more. The administration says half of those who have been admitted are children and about a quarter of them are adults over 60. Officials say 2 percent are single males of combat age.
Here’s more reality: the GOP leaders counting on your fear and ignorance know this, and don’t care. So educate yourself. Because they, rather like Daesh, know they can own you through your own fear if they can keep you in the dark and frightened of the bogey man, imagining that these people are enemies to fear instead of Daesh’s bitterest enemies and natural allies in our fight with these monsters.
This is all Parable of the Good Samaritan stuff. We don’t help refugees because they are Christian. We help them because we are Christian.
Are there microscopically small risks if we do? Yes. But there are astronomically graver and more certain consequences if we refuse:
“Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ ¶ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”(Mt 25:41–46).