It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see the hysterics and hypocrisy of many of our so-called leaders right now. Most Republicans and even some Democrats are reacting to Paris with knee-jerk fear and ignorance. Yes Paris is a total nightmare, sad and frightening, and we need to take real action to keep our people safe. But we must balance that with maintaining our principles and resist falling into the trap of the “us against all of them” mentality, which is exactly what ISIS wants. The hypocrisy is everywhere: just two examples: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both the children of immigrants, now want to slam the door of freedom in the face of some of the most desperate people in the world…
And yet they constantly shout about the importance of maintaining our liberty and freedom. Click around and find the latest examples: a mayor in Tennessee has suggested we call in the National Guard to round up refugees who are already settled here. That’s just creepy. Another Republican leader referred to the internment of Japanese during WWII – most of whom were American citizens and had their liberty and freedom totally violated – as an example we need to follow now. Really? What history course did you take? Even “Gentle” Ben Carson made an analogy today… between refugees and rabid dogs.
Instead, dig down deep and ask yourself… what is really going on here? Isn’t it obvious? They are feeding off our fear, and either ignorant of, or willfully hiding, the facts, in order to advance their own agendas, at the cost of the very American principles they claim to hold most dear.
What most of the American public likely doesn’t know, or understandably have the time to research (and which they are taking advantage of), and which President Obama and his Administration need to do a much better job of articulating to the public, is this: it currently takes 18 to 24+ months for an individual family from Syria to clear all the checks – including a specially-added layer for anyone coming from Syria, before individually being admitted to the U.S. for re-settlement. There is no auto-approval process. The Homeland Security investigators who clear these people at the end of the entire process can deny them just for getting so much as a “bad vibe” from a guy. These are generally highly-educated people with young families whose lives have been totally devastated by the civil war, who risked death to flee with nothing but what they could carry, and by the grace of God made it out to a neighboring country. They started an application process 18 to 24 mos ago, and stayed in a refugee camp or host country since, then followed through and cleared every step of the process, and nearly always had some family or prior connection here that aided in their security clearance above those being denied.
Think about it: anyone being approved now would have to have started the process BEFORE ISIS took Mosul in the summer of 2014, let alone becoming the monster it is today. It’s not like there are thousands of people boarding planes in Damascus yesterday and landing at JFK and LAX today passing with a rubber stamp through Customs.
Meanwhile, so far 7 of the 8 terrorists appear to have been Belgian or French, not Syrian. The 8th may have been Syrian, Iraqi or who knows: the Germans have said he may have intentionally dropped a forged Syrian passport, which is extremely easy to get in the EU right about now, as a false flag.
Why would they do that, you ask? Lots of reasons. First of all, it was a highly coordinated attack with getaway drivers. The actual killers intended to blow themselves up or escape. You don’t need a passport to cross back into Belgium or anywhere else in the EU, so why carry one? Either you are really stupid (which unfortunately for all of us, it appears they were not)… or you want it to be found.
So that the world will see the West slamming the door to the people they have displaced, making recruiting that much easier. Isn’t that what ISIS wants?
Don’t believe me…. ask someone with a bit more Foreign Affairs experience than both of us combined: Madeleine Albright:
Meanwhile, anyone with a EU passport, including any French or Belgian national just like the 7 of 8 Paris attackers, can board a U.S. bound plane tomorrow due to the Visa waiver program, and if they are not already on the No Fly list, be in NY by dinner. They can easily then obtain semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons legally by exploiting the gun-show loophole which the NRA and Congress refuses to close, and buy unlimited amounts of ammunition online, with zero background check.
If Congress really wants to protect the American public and prevent a Paris in the U.S., they should start by addressing the Visa waiver program, and then passing an emergency bill to close the loopholes that according to the Washington Post, over 2000 suspected terrorists have used to attempt or successfully purchase guns in the US in the last 10 years:
When Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was asked two days ago in a press conference about closing the loophole that allows any person — including those on the FBI’s consolidated Terrorist Watch List — to legally purchase an assault weapon in the U.S., he pleaded ignorance:
Q: There’s been a certain amount of resurgence in interest over a bill that’s been floating around here about whether people on terror watch lists should be able to legally buy guns in this country. Should they be able to?
MCCONNELL: [Shrugs shoulders.]
Q: On the FBI terror watch list?
MCCONNELL: Yeah, I’m not particularly familiar with that.
Told that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) have pushed legislation on this – the measure was introduced nine months ago – McConnell added, “I’m not familiar with the legislation, so I’ll pass on it.”
Pretty pathetic, and frankly scary.
As Sec. of State John Kerry stated late today, over 750,000 refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since 2004. Of them, around 12 have been arrested and deported for various reasons. And exactly zero for planning or executing any form of terrorism plot. According to my math that’s an arrest rate of .0016 % and a terror rate of 0.00000%.
Yes it is true that we can never be 100% safe. We are made aware of this all the time. No system is full-proof. And it is probably true that no matter what system we implement, including having the Director of the FBI personally “sign off” on each Syrian and Iraqi refugee, like the feel-good Bill that the House passed this evening, will not prevent ISIS or others from trying to get into the country with bad intentions.
So – wouldn’t it make sense to make it harder for them to get an assault weapon once they get here? They didn’t bring one on the plane.
Said another way – in what world does it make sense that we put people through a 24-month background check and personal attestation by the Director of the FBI – but in small chance that someone slips through, and or more likely yet, that a homegrown radicalized terrorist, inspired by ISIS, decides to take action (France, Belgium anyone?) – that we make it beyond easy to purchase the weapons actually needed to carry out a mass slaughter like Paris?
Can we all agree that it should be – at minimum – at least as difficult to buy an automatic weapon here – especially if you are on the FBI’s Terror Watch List – as it is to carry one onto our passenger planes?
Oh wait, sorry! “Big Government” had a budget cut due to Sequestration, and the Director is too busy… personally signing off on a 24 month background check on a family of three, for us to check the Terror Watch List to see if a known maniac is legally buying a weapon that’s sole purpose is to take as much human life as quickly and efficiently as possible….
Only in the minds of those who want to act tough and prove to their paranoid constituents that they have “taken action to protect the homeland” – but in reality lack the basic political courage and will to stand up to the gun lobby, and make some reasonable adjustments, does this make any sense.
Instead, what do they do? Stoke the fears of the public, slam the door to Freedom, and ask that we forget the very words we have emblazoned on Lady Liberty herself:
“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”