This is How Terrorism Works

Violence leads to irrational policy responses. Who does that help?

ISIS FightersGroup A perpetrates violence against civilians to create widespread fear and panic in population B.

Population B then reacts in various ways to that fear, including rejecting refugees fleeing other violence perpetrated by Group A.

Adam Taylor points out:

If Muslim refugees come to Europe and are welcomed, it deeply undercuts the Islamic State’s legitimacy. Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has helpfully catalogued some of the Islamic State’s messages on the refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East. The messages give the impression of deep discomfort and even jealousy that the Muslim population the Islamic State so covets for its self-proclaimed “caliphate” would rather live in “infidel” Western lands.

Also, the terror over the weekend is leading some US politicians to heighten anti-Muslim positions.

Jeb Bush:

“There should be really thorough screening [of refugees coming to the U.S.] and we should focus on creating safe havens for refugees in Syria rather than bringing them all the way across to the United States,” Bush said Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “But I do think there is a special important need to make sure that Christians from Syria are being protected because they are being slaughtered in the country and but for us who? Who would take care of the number of Christians that right now are completely displaced?”

Ted Cruz:

“We need to be working to provide a safe haven for those Christians who are being persecuted and facing genocide, and at the same time we shouldn’t be letting terrorists into America,”

So here’s the question:  who benefits from driving a greater wedge between the West and Muslims (or perpetrating the notion that the West is made up of “Crusaders”)?  The message that Bush and Cruz are offering here is clear:  they value Christians more than Muslims.  This plays into the narrative of groups like ISIS.  Further, it undercuts western claims to value human rights.  Once we start talking in sectarian terms as to whom we will protect then the notion of human rights and values goes out the window.

When we panic and overreact, as a number of US governors have done, then it is one way by which the violence in Paris was a success from the terrorists’ point of view.  Indeed by definition:  these actions are being undertaken as a result of fear, not out of a calm, reasoned approach to the situation.  So, like the title says:  this is how terrorism works.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sssshhhhh… Don’t be speaking truth, Steven.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    This is another take on the same idea:
    http://www.vox.com/2015/11/16/9747096/emotional-satisfaction-foreign-policy
    Let’s be smart.

  3. Argon says:

    All to drive polarization.

  4. James Pearce says:

    The message that Bush and Cruz are offering here is clear: they value Christians more than Muslims.

    It’s not just a message. It’s a core belief.

    And seriously, post-Srebrenica, post-Gorazde no one should be proposing the idea of “safe havens” in any conflict. It’s a nice idea, a civilized idea, that fits like a square peg in wartime’s round hole.

    ISIS has already shown a willingness to massacre civilians. So here’s an idea: Let’s concentrate all the civilians in one area, mark it “Safe haven” on the map, and see what happens. Good things, right?

  5. bookdragon says:

    Thank you for this. Another article on this worth a read is this one:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/16/the-islamic-state-wants-you-to-hate-refugees/

    …It has also been suggested that part of the motivation for the attacks, specifically for the targeting, was that it would increase suspicion of refugees, as well as push public opinion and political elites to reject Syrian refugees.

    From a strategic viewpoint, this makes perfect sense for ISIS. Part of their argument is that only Muslims who accept tawheed, the radical unity of the Deity, are really Muslims and the only place one can really be a Muslim is one ruled by Muslims who accept tawheed (these Muslims are called muwaheedun) for those who accept tawheed. Moreover, ISIS’s recruiting argument to support this doctrinal/theological/ideological contention is that true Muslims are not welcome and not safe anywhere else. By casting suspicion on Muslim refugees, whether they are from Syria or other states, and enflaming public and political passions against accepting refugees in specific and Muslims in general, they are able to create a self fulfilling prophecy. What ISIS wants is for the US and other states to clamp down on admitting refugees. And they want threats against and actual violence against Muslim citizens of these states to increase. A self fulfilling/self sustaining effort.

    But only if we actually play into ISIS’s hands. ISIS’s strategy can only be successful if we give them what they want…

    I am not always happy or grateful for Obama’s approach to foreign policy, but right about now I’d repeal the 2-term limit and draft him to stay. Among our political class, he seems to be one of very few adults in the room.

  6. Mu says:

    The reason ISIS is so successful is that the local population basically doesn’t care who’s occupying them. Alawis from Damascus, Shia from Bagdad, Wahabites from Riyadh, all the same. It explains if how 1000 ISIS fighters can hold a highly armed 100,000 people city; there’s just no point for the locals to fight them.
    So far we’ve tried the “but we do offer a nicer alternative” approach, and it has utterly failed. It’s time to reverse that. Make it simply too costly to accept ISIS. Like the approach to Japan and Germany in WWII, it doesn’t matter if you like the Nazis, you’re not doing anything against it, tough luck. If that means to flatten every city that tolerates ISIS occupation, so be it.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    Hear, hear.

  8. DrDaveT says:

    The message that Bush and Cruz are offering here is clear: they value Christians more than Muslims.

    And that’s the debate question I really hope makes it into the final campaign stage. I want to hear whoever the Republican nominee is say bluntly to the American people “Yes, I think that Christian lives are more valuable and deserve more protection than other lives”, or attempt to explain why they said exactly that during the primaries.

    Of course, I’m probably an optimist for thinking that a majority of Americans would find that repellent…

  9. ElizaJane says:

    The reaction to the Paris bombings is a register of the grotesque fear-mongering, Obama derangement, opportunism, and selfish pandering of today’s Republican “leaders.”

    Cast your mind back to March 2004 when a Republican was in the White House. It was an election year. There was a massive Islamic terrorist attack at four different sites in Madrid, killing over 200 civilians and wounding nearly 2000 — in other words, more dramatic than Paris. Did everybody blame George W. Bush? Did Democrats vie with one another to cut off help to all Muslim refugees? Did they call for wiping out the population of Morocco, where at least one of the perpetrators came from?

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they did. But I sure don’t remember it. I also draw your attention to the fact that nobody brings up this event in the current discussion. It’s as if it never happened. Because in the grand scheme of things, killing 127 or 200 people once in a decade is not all that powerful a gesture, unless our reaction makes it so.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @bookdragon:

    I’d repeal the 2-term limit and draft him (Obama) to stay.

    Me too. The totally inept Iraqi army and the handful of Kurds, with US support, have apparently retaken a quarter to a third of the territory ISIS took in their drive into Iraq. What we’re doing seems to be working. Obama is justified in saying we’re already doing everything his Republican critics say we should do. Except large scale US forces on the ground, which the public would not support, and would likely be counterproductive. I’m sure we’re also doing a lot of stuff out of sight, like maybe bribing Sunni tribal leaders, and probably some stuff we cannot admit to, like maybe coordinating with Iran.

    A policy of not having a fixed, stated policy, but rather shucking and jiving and adapting, a game of singles and doubles, makes a lot of sense, no matter how much it drives Joe Scarborough nuts. (Itself a desirable outcome.) I’ve thought several times over the last seven years that Obama had gone a bridge too far. And I’ve been wrong. I don’t see how he can deal with ISIS in the year he’s got left, but this is starting to sound like another “Chill out, Obama’s got this.” moment.

  11. Mikey says:

    The Aaron Zelin post to which Adam Taylor linked has an expanded update at the Washington Institute site. It is worth a full read, but the below is especially applicable to our discussions today:

    As a consequence, it is essential to take steps to prevent individuals from giving in to emotional impulses that could further exacerbate Europe’s security dilemma. As this relates to refugees, it is true that ISIS could exploit the crisis to insert operatives into Europe. At the same time, however, one must remember that the group already has thousands of members with European Union passports and has very good document forgers. Therefore, the sole reason for nesting additional operatives in the refugee flows would be to spark a backlash against Syrian and other refugees as well as the native Muslim populations of Europe.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:

    A policy of not having a fixed, stated policy, but rather shucking and jiving and adapting, a game of singles and doubles, makes a lot of sense

    Along with “don’t do stupid shit”…you know…like the Iraq War in response to terrorism.

  13. bookdragon says:

    @gVOR08:

    no matter how much it drives Joe Scarborough nuts. (Itself a desirable outcome.)

    lol I couldn’t agree more.

    And I just hope that what’s left of Obama’s term is enough for that “Chill out, Obama’s got this.” moment to come to fruition.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    Europe has had a virtual open door policy for migrants and refugees from the Middle East. In other words, they’ve done the good, liberal thing.

    Now, explain how that has helped to deter terrorism. Then explain why us following suit would help to deter terrorism. Not how it makes you feel, not how it’s a shibboleth I have to follow or risk being excluded from the club, but realistically, practically, how.

  15. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Outsourcing the response to the folks at Vox:

    “But the backlash against the refugees plays into ISIS’s hands. As Zack Beauchamp writes:

    ISIS despises Syrian refugees: It sees them as traitors to the caliphate. By leaving, they turn their back on the caliphate. ISIS depicts its territory as a paradise, and fleeing refugees expose that as a lie. But if refugees do make it out, ISIS wants them to be treated badly — the more the West treats them with suspicion and fear, the more it supports ISIS’s narrative of a West that is hostile to Muslims and bolsters ISIS’s efforts to recruit from migrant communities in Europe.

    And that narrative benefits ISIS tangibly, not just spiritually.

    “If they can spur a backlash against refugees, then they can recruit from that population when the backlash occurs,” says Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “This was their playbook in 2005 and 2005 when they were known as al-Qaeda in Iraq. They would attack Shias, spark a backlash against Sunnis, and then recruit by posing as the defender of the Sunnis.””

  16. Jeremy R says:

    It’s worth pointing out that the population of refugees that the US is considering are very different than those that have fled to Europe.

    Those being vetted are currently in huge Middle Eastern and North African refugee camps and are registered with the UN. They’re a subset that the UN has identified as vulnerable and needing to be resettled somewhere safer (unaccompanied minors, single-mothers with children, the infirm, torture survivors, those subject to religious persecution, etc). The majority are children:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/10/21/us/where-syrian-refugees-are-in-the-united-states.html?_r=1

    The refugees who have arrived from Syria since 2012 have been placed in 130 towns and cities. They are among the most vulnerable people in the war: single mothers and their children; religious minorities; victims of violence or torture. …

    Refugees trying to reach the United States must apply through the United Nations, and before being accepted, they are screened by the F.B.I. and through databases run by the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

    The additional 10,000 Syrian refugees this year would come from 18,000 referrals already submitted by the United Nations. State Department officials said that more than half of them were children.

    The selectiveness and the lengthy vetting process (18-24 months) make all these infiltration theories kind of ridiculous:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/oct/04/donald-trump/donald-trump-syrian-refugees-are-mostly-men/

    “The priorities go to torture survivors, people with serious medical conditions, children and teens on their own, and women and children at risk,” Mock said. The people selected undergo screening by state agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. The process can take years.

    “Instead of sitting around hoping you win the refugee lottery and then wait years, then pass the screening to get to America, it would be much easier for a terrorist group to send a person through Europe or put them onto an airplane to the United States,” Gartenstein-Ross said. “If they could otherwise pass the refugee screening process, they could certainly get on an airplane.”

  17. Jack says:

    @Jeremy R:

    The majority are children:

    The same way the majority of the central American refugees were “children’? Like that?

  18. Jeremy R says:

    @Jack:

    “children”

    Why the quotes around ‘children’? Even if we posit a ridiculous scenario like IS members with dwarfism posing as children, they’d be stuck in Middle Eastern refugee camps for years waiting on background checks here, until they’d ultimately be rejected during in-person interviews and health screening over there.

  19. Jack says:

    @Jeremy R: The quotes around ‘Children” is in reference to last year central American refugee crisis in which 50 year olds were enrolled in grammar school to keep up the appearances that the majority of the refugees were “children”.

  20. WR says:

    @Mu: “Like the approach to Japan and Germany in WWII, it doesn’t matter if you like the Nazis, you’re not doing anything against it, tough luck.”

    Um, that isn’t actually how the Allies worked. It’s how the Nazis worked. If you’re going to call for the US to start enacting the policies of Nazi Germany, feel free – but don’t pretend it’s anything else.

  21. WR says:

    @Jack: “The quotes around ‘Children” is in reference to last year central American refugee crisis in which 50 year olds were enrolled in grammar school to keep up the appearances that the majority of the refugees were “children”.”

    Would that be before the unicorn parade or after the invasion of the giant mushroom creatures?

  22. @michael reynolds:

    Now, explain how that has helped to deter terrorism.

    No, the question is: can you demonstrate how it has fostered terrorism?

    If doing the right thing shows no significant evidence of making the terror threat worse, why stop doing the right thing?

    Given that most of the Paris attackers appear to be Belgian, I am not sure how stopping refugees is the appropriate response.

  23. @Jack:

    last year central American refugee crisis in which 50 year olds were enrolled in grammar school to keep up the appearances that the majority of the refugees were “children”.

    Citation, please?

  24. Jack says:
  25. @Jack: Sooo, two cases of obvious fraud that were identified calls into question the entire problem of unaccompanied minors crossing the borders?

  26. Jack says:

    It’s odd how the UN didn’t demand all the EU nations take some of the Central American refugees we absorbed over the last couple of years. If Akhmoud can be settled in Minot N. Dakota, then it’s just as easy for Juan to be settled in Helsinki.

  27. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Steven,

    There were quite a few “children” entering the US that went straight into MS-13 enclaves. The definition of “child” is stretched when you have a mustache and gang tats.

  28. IMP says:

    @James Pearce: Exactly. There’s the congnitive dissonance factor again: when it comes to cops vs Black Lives Matter activist, we get “ALL LIVES MATTER!” from several of the GOP candidates. Now we have a situation where people are literally being terroized in their own country and its “ALL LIVES MATTER*…(*except for those of non-Christians and other swarthy brown people).”

  29. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Sooo, two cases of obvious fraud that were identified calls into question the entire problem of unaccompanied minors crossing the borders?

    Here’s a bowl of M&Ms, 2 are poisoned. Do you eat them or toss the whole bowl in the trash?

  30. @Jack: You are moving the goal posts.

    So you are basically saying: help no one because someone might be a criminal.

  31. @Jack: People aren’t candy coated bits of chocolate that can be tossed in the trash.

  32. Nikki says:

    @Jack: So we must now be terrified of MS-13 in addition to ISIS?

  33. @Nikki: We are doomed, it would seem.

  34. CrustyDem says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Thoughtful comment from our local Keyboard Commando Dr Strangelove.

    Can’t prove a negative, but which countries in Europe have taken the most migrants and asylum seekers? Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. Not exactly pockmarked hellscapes, are they??

  35. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: No, they are not candy coated chocolate, but since we have a choice, take them or not, we can chose not to take them at all.

  36. @Jack: To repeat myself: So you are basically saying: help no one because someone might be a criminal.

    (And it is a good thing that the US has no responsibility for the drug gangs in Central America or the turmoil in the Middle East, else we might find ourselves with some moral difficulties here. And thank God we never, ever talk about the sanctity of human life, the value of the individual, or human rights!).

  37. Mu says:

    @WR:
    So the allies distinguished between civilians that supported their governments or not? The people of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki might disagree with that statement.

  38. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am not saying help no one because someone might be a criminal. I am saying let’s not import terrorists and refugees from there to here. We have enough refugees already streaming across our border, there is no need for more. Especially people with an ideology that puts killing us as the top of their list.

  39. KM says:

    @Jack:

    Ok, I just want to point out one thing: you claim “50 year olds were enrolled in GRAMMAR school”. The title of your link says HIGH SCHOOL (as do all the “examples” in the article). Big difference. If you can’t get that right, how do you expect us to not pick apart the rest of your claim?

  40. David M says:

    @Jack:

    I am saying let’s not import terrorists and refugees from there to here. We have enough refugees already streaming across our border, there is no need for more. Especially people with an ideology that puts killing us as the top of their list.

    Apparently you aren’t aware we actually do screen the refugees, and it’s quite an arduous process?

  41. KM says:

    @Jack:

    “children” entering the US that went straight into MS-13 enclaves

    Yes, teenagers and young children join gangs. They have for centuries. It’s a young man’s game after all – when was the last time you saw a 50yr gangbanger on a street corner?

  42. Jack says:

    @KM: I misspoke when writing the original and then noticed the difference when I when to get the link at Steven’s request. By then it was too late to edit the original.

  43. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Apparently you aren’t aware we actually do screen the refugees, and it’s quite an arduous process?

    That same arduous process that gave us the Tsarnev brothers?

    Besides, all Muslims read the Koran. All Muslims. So, unless you are suggesting the screening eliminates Muslims, you are not getting my point.

  44. Jack says:

    @KM:

    Yes, teenagers and young children join gangs. They have for centuries. It’s a young man’s game after all – when was the last time you saw a 50yr gangbanger on a street corner?

    They were MS-13 the day they arrived, not after.

    Also, unless you, like the gun control movement, defines children to include people up to age 25, they were definitely not all children.

  45. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Besides, all Muslims read the Koran. All Muslims. So, unless you are suggesting the screening eliminates Muslims, you are not getting my point.

    Oh, I think everyone has gotten the point you know as much about Islam as you do most other political issues. Less than nothing.

  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: We certainly are! If we found two, doesn’t that mean that a skazillion billion trillion got through unnoticed?

  47. bookdragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: +1000 Steven

  48. KM says:

    @Jack:

    too late to edit the original.

    Fair enough – had that happen to me too often to count. L’esprit de l’escalier – oh, la vache!

    Especially people with an ideology that puts killing us as the top of their list.

    But you cannot know that for certain and that is the bone of our contention. You would throw out the baby with the bathwater. The idiom originates with the concept that so many dirty people have bathed in the water, it’s too dark to see through clearly and the innocent is lost in the removal process. The vast majority of these people simply don’t want their family to die. We are not at the top of the hit list, THEY are. That’s why they are running in the first place.

    Caution is commendable but what you are advocating is straight up paranoia.

  49. Jack says:

    @David M: Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)”

    Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

    Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

    Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

    Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has charted them to make Islam “superior over all religions.” This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/023-violence.htm

  50. James Pearce says:

    @Jack:

    Here’s a bowl of M&Ms, 2 are poisoned. Do you eat them or toss the whole bowl in the trash?

    Throw em in the trash, Jack. I don’t care.

    A smart person is going to figure out a way to enjoy those M&Ms while tossing only the poisoned ones.

  51. Jack says:

    @KM:

    The vast majority of these people simply don’t want their family to die. We are not at the top of the hit list, THEY are. That’s why they are running in the first place.

    Like the Tsarnev brothers?

    I will continue to hammer this home until someone can explain what has changed since they were refugees.

  52. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Just to be clear, you’re siding with ISIS here….I’m not sure why anyone would want to agree with those lunatics, but I’m sure you have a good reason. You’ll pardon the rest of us from not wanting to actually be responsible for starting WW3 for no reason.

  53. David M says:

    The Tsarnaev brothers weren’t refugees and didn’t come through the program we’re currently discussing.

  54. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Just to be clear, you’re siding with ISIS here

    Actually, I’m not. Your opinion is…the enemy of my enemy is my friend. ISIS takes advantage of that belief and plays to that weakness by planting their members among those you would count as friends.

  55. KM says:

    @@Jack:

    Here’s a bowl of M&Ms, 2 are poisoned. Do you eat them or toss the whole bowl in the trash?

    Change M&M to carrots and poisoned to rotten and I literally had this situation happen this morning. I removed the rotten carrots, inspected to see if there were any others, washed them for good measure and had my snack.

    Anyone who has grocery shopped ever can do the same. I’d recommend trying another analogy but this one describes you more then you think. You’re the person who wastes countless dollars throwing out good produce because of icky brown spots on the skin, tosses out the whole carton of milk if someone leaves it on the counter for more then 5 mins, demands picture perfect food because natural imperfections are somehow avoidable and then bitch about their enormous grocery bill.

    There are black widow spiders in your bananas. There are poisons sprayed on your food daily and you still eat it. Your food grows in the dirty, germ-ridden ground and still has dirt on it when you eat it unless you scrub the daylights out of it. Doesn’t mean the food isn’t worth it and doesn’t make it any less shocking to find that spider. But we still eat the food, Jack. We do all of this because the food is worth the risk.

  56. Jack says:

    @David M:

    The Tsarnaev brothers weren’t refugees and didn’t come through the program we’re currently discussing.

    The brothers who are alleged to have planted bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday reached the United States in 2002 after their ethnic Chechen family fled the Caucasus. They had been living in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan and were prevented from resettling in war-racked Chechnya.

    If that is not a refugee, what is?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/details-emerge-on-suspected-boston-bombers/2013/04/19/ef2c2566-a8e4-11e2-a8e2-5b98cb59187f_story.html

    FBI officials confirmed Friday that they questioned Tamerlan in 2011 at the request of the Russian government about possible connections to Chechen extremists. He was interviewed by the FBI in Boston, and the investigation found “no derogatory information.”

    Oh, yeah. That vetting is really tough.

  57. David M says:

    @Jack:

    I’m in no way saying Muslims are our enemies at all. You’re agreeing with ISIS that all Muslims should be at war with the west. You are doing doing an excellent job of helping spread ISIS propaganda.

  58. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: Well, I know which side YOU would have been on when the question of accepting/ rejecting Jewish refugees happened back in history….

    Can’t let them in. Too foreign. Dangerous. Might be anarchists. After all, Germany wouldn’t have ejected them unless there was something wrong with them, right?

  59. David M says:

    @Jack:

    Refugee has a specific meaning and isn’t a catch-all term for foreigner. You’d think that would be information you should learn about before discussing the issue.

  60. Jack says:

    @KM: I grow my own food you dipstick.

    There is a difference between a rotten tomato and a Jihadi. I can visually inspect the tomato and tell the difference. The Jihadi on the other hand looks like all the other Muslims.

  61. bookdragon says:

    @Jack: So out of curiosity, if the next terrorist incident is perpetrated by two people who got into the US as tourists, will you be calling for banning tourism?

    I mean, the EU and most other countries don’t print people’s religion on their passports, so ending it all would be the only way to stop all Muslims tourists, so…

  62. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist: There were no Jews threatening to blow up DC in the 30s, now were there, cupcake?

  63. KM says:

    @Jack:

    The Jihadi on the other hand looks like all the other Muslims.

    *sigh* *speaks very slowly* If they did, you’d never be able to find them them at all since it would be a needle in a haystack. And since we CAN and DO locate all the damn time, clearly you have the vision problems, dipstick. How about leaving it to the people who actually can, hmmm?

    Like it or not, the inspection does take place. You will never feel it’s good enough because they can’t promise you perfection.

  64. Jack says:

    @David M: The word refugee was right in the title of the article, you condescending shit.

  65. David M says:

    @Jack:

    But they didn’t come through the refugee program we’re discussing here. In the current context, it’s not a generic term, but a very specific program. One that you seem to have a lot of trouble understanding.

  66. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    There were no Jews threatening to blow up DC in the 30s, now were there, cupcake?

    Care to bet on that? Or do you really not know anything about anarchists?

    (“Cupcake”? Really? That’s so sad…)

  67. Jack says:

    @KM:

    And since we CAN and DO locate all the damn time,

    We do? We apprehended the 9/11 attackers beforehand? How about Fort Hood? Or the other Fort Hood? Or the Chatanoog shooter? Yeah, we have a real good track record on locating them ALL the damn time.

    The only one’s we are good at finding are the ones we (our government) convinces to do Jihad, promises them weapons or bombs, then arrest them before the “commit mass murder” with inert weapons.

  68. Jack says:

    @David M:

    a very specific program

    One about which you know nothing, cannot describe, and cannot point to its criteria.

  69. KM says:

    @bookdragon:

    I mean, the EU and most other countries don’t print people’s religion on their passports,

    That would have some rather interesting consequences. I can just hear screaming about the Mark of the Beast and databases for rounding up Christians by evil atheist Commie jackboots vs the out-and-proud Dominionists would complain about people not wearing their faith on the sleeves and oppression of their freedom of speech. Plus the inevitable “Is X really Christian?” Add in the hilarity of a national registry form for official conversions (“You found Jesus where and when in the last 6 months?”) and that might be the best joke religion’s played on itself in a while.

  70. David M says:
  71. bookdragon says:

    @Jack: And if we close our borders to all Muslims, the Jihadi who really wants to come here and attack us will shave his beard, dye his hair blonde and walk in as tourist with a forged passport that gives his name as something like ‘Jack’.

  72. KM says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Wait, why are you cupcake and I’m dipstick? Dammit, I need Blatant Sexist Remark for my OTB Troll Bingo! Making a girl feel unloved here, Jack…..

  73. David M says:

    @Jack:

    As children, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar lived in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan….In April 2002, the Tsarnaev parents and Dzhokhar went to the United States on a 90-day tourist visa. Anzor Tsarnaev applied for asylum, citing fears of deadly persecution due to his ties to Chechnya.

  74. Neil Hudelson says:

    @KM:

    Additionally, the first line of the article he supplied says they “attempted” to enroll.

    Jack reads “attempted” to enroll in “high school” and immediately thinks “THERE ARE 50 YEAR OLDS IN OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS!!!!”

    Now wait as he calls someone stupid in 3…2…1…

  75. bookdragon says:

    @KM: And of course TSA having to ask foreign travelers to give their faith and then find some way of determining if they’re telling the truth.

    If you say you’re atheist do you have to prove it by spitting on a Koran? Do Christians have to be able to recite random verses from the NT by heart? I don’t even want to think about the ‘Who is a Jew?’ question…

  76. Jack says:

    @bookdragon: We have a much better record of discovering forged passports than we do “Forged refugees”.

  77. michael reynolds says:

    Ah, of course, now I get it, the backlash will help ISIS. It’s all about the backlash. I mean, they attack, we react, so they profit from the backlash.

    One problem. That sequence begins with they attack. Prior to any possible backlash. Right? I mean, unless we’re reversing time’s arrow. France is only involved with ISIS now because ISIS has shown itself to be a bunch of psychopaths bent on murder. France is not the Great Satan. France isn’t supporting Israel (which was the excuse until more recently.) France hasn’t recently drawn any Mohammed cartoons (the most recent excuse). France isn’t the hegemon, we are.

    But France better just cringe, because backlash! France which has let tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in, fed them, housed them, employed them, educated them. I guess all that isn’t enough to avoid backlash.

    So, here’s that logic in a domestic setting. Your neighbor sets your house on fire. But you can’t yell at him, because then: backlash! If you just kind of hunker down like a rabbit, you’ll be okay, the bullies won’t bother you. Because that always works. I mean, bullies are really just scared, same as you, and probably cowards and and and all the other stupid bullsh-t your mommies told you.

    Here’s the cure for backlash: your neighbor sets your house on fire. You stab your neighbor in the neck. Guess who’s not burning your house down again?

  78. KM says:

    @Jack:

    ALL the damn time

    There it is again. ALL.

    You are obsessed with perfect safety. The world must be so disappointing and terrifying for you.

  79. Jack says:

    @KM: Would you prefer Dillhole? I’m nothing if not flexible.

  80. Jack says:

    @KM: I was quoting you.

    *sigh* *speaks very slowly* If they did, you’d never be able to find them them at all since it would be a needle in a haystack. And since we CAN and DO locate all the damn time, clearly you have the vision problems, dipstick. How about leaving it to the people who actually can, hmmm?

    Try again, dillhole.

  81. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Here’s the cure for backlash: your neighbor sets your house on fire. You stab your neighbor in the neck. Guess who’s not burning your house down again?

    SNAP!

    Michael is channeling the Untouchables: He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!

  82. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Here’s the cure for backlash: your neighbor sets your house on fire. You stab your neighbor in the neck. Guess who’s not burning your house down again?

    Since you can’t burn down a house twice, nobody. And since you’d be in jail for murder, you don’t have a house at all since you aren’t putting that fire out what with all the stabbing and all. Death Row’s nicer then a half-burnt house, I hear. That’ll show ’em!

    Feel free to punch your neighbor in the nose, though. Nobody is saying bend over and take it Micheal, we’re saying try not to turn into a homicidal a-hole in the process.

  83. bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: The problem is that what you’re advocating is more like getting an AR and mowing down that neighbor, anyone else on the block whoever even said ‘hi’ to them, and then sitting on the remains of your porch with a box of ammo and shooting at anyone who crosses your field of view.

    But, hey, no one will burn your house down again…

  84. KM says:

    @Jack:

    Would you prefer Dillhole?

    I prefer Yes, Mistress but I’ll settle for Sexy Bitch. You can even pretend it’s an insult – it has bitch in it after all!

  85. Jack says:

    @KM: You don’t understand how this works. I provide a list of names I am willing to use when addressing you and you pick one. Not the other way around.

    Shitforbrains is still available.

  86. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:
    You can’t kill an idea. Many many many MANY people have tried over the course of our history and made the mistake of killing people to squash their ideology. It doesn’t work. You can glass the entire Middle East and it wouldn’t achieve your objective.

    Humanity and history keep having this conversation and humanity keeps forgetting. We started this mess screaming about 9/11 and vengeance and damn Muslims and kill ’em all, God will sort it out. ISIS was born of our fury last time; I really don’t want to see what monster we would create this time around.

  87. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    One problem. That sequence begins with they attack. Prior to any possible backlash. Right? I mean, unless we’re reversing time’s arrow. France is only involved with ISIS now because ISIS has shown itself to be a bunch of psychopaths bent on murder

    Or France could’ve been involved since September 2014, but whatever. Your Hitchensian turn continues unabated.

  88. michael reynolds says:

    I swear to Christ you people are going to find a way to lose this election to Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

    August. The general election is set, it’s Cruz v. Clinton. And we get a Paris in Washington. So Cruz runs an ad in Colorado and Florida attacking Clinton for being weak. “…she even wants more of them living right next to you!” (Dramatic music, grainy black and white shot.)

    You are all wrong. You’re wrong for all the right reasons, but you’re still wrong. When push comes to shove, Americans will vote for tough. Ike over Stevenson. Nixon over McGovern. Reagan over Carter. Bush 1 over Michael ‘the tank’ Dukakis. Bush 2 over Gore. Bush 2 again over Kerry.

    We can’t even win with genuine warriors like McGovern or Kerry when our policies hit people as weak.

    You remember how Obama got elected in 2008? He promised to carry the drone war right into Pakistan and to find and kill Bin Laden. He out-hawked McCain who stupidly rejected the idea of invading Pakistani air space.

    But hey, don’t worry, because courage is all about standing up to right-wingers by giving them the f-king White House. Brilliant. Now let’s come up with a new hashtag, sing a song and go hunting for new and exciting micro-aggressions.

  89. Jack says:

    @KM:

    ISIS was born of our fury last time

    And departing Iraq, deposing Gadaffi, Supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and sending arms and supplies to “moderate” Syrians had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  90. michael reynolds says:

    @KM:

    Of COURSE you can kill an idea. How many Albigensians do you know? How many Nazis do you know? How many fascists? Imperialists?

    Met any followers of Quetzalcoatl lately? No? Can you guess why?

    The only reason you don’t think we can kill an idea is because you’ve never heard of all the many ideas that were killed. Because they were killed.

  91. JohnMcC says:

    @Jack: Isn’t it wonderful to have access to Mr Google’s magical machine these days! Here are the criteria for acceptance into the U S Resettlement Program (in a quick look, it appears that one would need to pass through the UN High Commission for Refugees before being seen by the State Dep’t.)

    http://www.refugees.org/about-us/faqs.html#Resettling

    Seriously, does that sound like a weak point in our anti-terror shield? As noted here and there, there are thousands of Daesh volunteers with passports that would give them instant and unquestioned air fare to the U S.

  92. Jack says:

    @JohnMcC:

    one would need to pass through the UN High Commission for Refugees

    And the criteria for that is what? Claiming to have left your job as a sheep hearder in war torn Syria? As you know, it’s impossible to prove a negative. How does the UN go about identifying let’s say ~ 10 percent of the people who chose to lie and create a new identity. How? The UN does not have access to all of the Syrian governments files. How can the UN tell me I am not Makhmoud the sheep herder if I know Makhmoud died in an attack and I want to use his name?

    That’s some great police work Lou.

  93. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I am all for the cracking of skulls but excuse me if I want to be sure I’m getting the right ones. I have absolutely no problems taking the loveless SOBs out. My argument is to stop making more of them. What you propose will ensure an endless supply of new recruits eager to avenge their brothers and slights against the innocent. You do not give your enemy succor and driving people to ISIS’s waiting arms with a new atrocity does nothing but paint more targets on our backs. Surgical strikes save the patient, hacking off limbs leads to gangrene and death. Make no mistake here – you are not alone Micheal, you’re just channeling your inner GOP and mistaking sound for substance.

    Americans will vote for tough.

    Americans vote for who they think is tough or they would have pick the damn solider over the national guard wannabe. Americans want badasses? Fine – tell Hillary to go emasculate Jeb and wear a codpiece for the rest of the election. Trump will talk about it, she’ll actually do it. She is the biggest bitch on the block and knows it. She voted for the war, remember – she’s as hawkish as they are. If they want cowboys, then let them have cowboys. But do it right, do it smart and for god sake, don’t make it worse being Leeroy Jenkins!

  94. Jack says:

    @KM:

    What you propose will ensure an endless supply of new recruits eager to avenge their brothers and slights against the innocent.

    Good thing you were not advising leadership during WWII.

    Surgical strikes save the patient, hacking off limbs leads to gangrene and death.

    I disagree. If you accept Jihadis in your midst and are unwilling to push them out, carpet bombing is the answer.

    tell Hillary to go emasculate Jeb

    Hillary cannot even control the cumming and going of her own man. What makes you think she can control any other?

  95. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You remember how Obama got elected in 2008?

    You mean the financial crisis that doomed the incumbent party, the record turnout of blacks to vote, the alienating selection of a know-nothing governor as VP, or the strong ground organization of Obama’s campaign? No, it was that one thing Obama said he’d do that proves your point.

    History is not one of your books, and it doesn’t have such clear-cut narratives.

    And for what it’s worth, given the amount of Satan-imagery present in modern-day services in evangelical churches and how often preachers ascribe malevolent forces in the world to Satan, Catharism (the heresy that spurred the Albigensian crusade) is not a dead idea.

  96. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    We do?

    Well, either we do, or all those billions of dollars to DHS and ceded personal liberties (Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, NSA monitoring…) were for absolutely nothing. Or else nobody is trying to attack us. Which is it?

  97. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Now let’s come up with a new hashtag, sing a song and go hunting for new and exciting micro-aggressions.

    The definition of the current Democrat party.

    I agreed with JFK. I could have been a JFK Democrat. Not anymore. Democrats are too caught up in feelings and making everyone think they have a right to not be offended.

  98. m u ncho el box says:

    Ok just so you lap dogs understand …about a year isis literally said it was going to cause a massive refugee wave and now has claimed it has done so…4000 covert operators now in Europe

    The good professor still thinks it was anti vaxxers that planted the ambulance bomb today in Germany….

  99. Jack says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, either we do, or all those billions of dollars to DHS and ceded personal liberties (Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act, NSA monitoring…) were for absolutely nothing. Or else nobody is trying to attack us. Which is it?

    Kabuki theater. A jobs program. TSA on steroids. Call it what you want but it is definitely a waste of money and does nothing.

    Do you know the Patriot Act created the “Sneak and Peek” exception to warrants so “we” could go in and collect evidence of a crime without tipping off the target? Do you know how many times a Sneak and Peak warrant has been used for terrorist related investigations?

    According to Mark Jaycox of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “Law enforcement made 47 sneak-and-peek searches nationwide from September 2001 to April 2003. The 2010 report reveals 3,970 total requests were processed. Within three years that number jumped to 11,129.”

    Out of the 3,970 total requests from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 3,034 were for narcotics cases and only 37 for terrorism cases (about .9%). Since then, the numbers get worse. The 2011 report reveals a total of 6,775 requests. 5,093 were used for drugs, while only 31 (or .5%) were used for terrorism cases. The 2012 report follows a similar pattern: Only .6%, or 58 requests, dealt with terrorism cases. The 2013 report confirms the incredibly low numbers. Out of 11,129 reports only 51, or .5%, of requests were used for terrorism. The majority of requests were overwhelmingly for narcotics cases, which tapped out at 9,401 requests.

    Yeah…terrorism is not at the top of the list. These departments do nothing to prevent terrorism. Terrorism is fought in the streets and at the lowest levels.

  100. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I swear to Christ you people are going to find a way to lose this election to Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

    Don’t worry, man.

    If we lose the election, it won’t be to either Rubio or Cruz.

  101. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    France is only involved with ISIS now because ISIS has shown itself to be a bunch of psychopaths bent on murder.

    Um, no. France has been bombing ISIS for over a year. The problem, Michael, isn’t just what you don’t know. It’s what you know to be true that just ain’t so:

    September 19, 2014 — the Associated Press
    PARIS – Joining U.S. forces acting in Iraqi skies, France conducted its first airstrike Friday against the militant Islamic State group, destroying a logistics depot that it controlled, the French presidency said.

  102. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, here’s that logic in a domestic setting. Your neighbor sets your house on fire. But you can’t yell at him, because then: backlash!

    We’re not saying don’t yell at the guy who set your house on fire. We’re saying don’t yell at his wife and kids who he’s been brutalizing and have run to your house for shelter.

  103. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You remember how Obama got elected in 2008? He promised to carry the drone war right into Pakistan and to find and kill Bin Laden.

    Um, I was actually alive in 2008, and in the course of campaigning I spoke to several thousands of voters. Didn’t meet a one who was voting for Obama because he thought he’d be tougher than John McCain. Did meet a lot of people who said they were voting for him because he seemed smarter, though….

  104. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of COURSE you can kill an idea. How many Albigensians do you know? How many Nazis do you know? How many fascists?

    Right now I can think of one….

  105. Bookdragon says:

    @Rafer Janders: He won because he ran on hope. Hope vs fear. I’m not sure which the public will vote for this time, but I know which one I will choose.

    …although as I think on it, I can vote both this time since the idea of any of the GOP nuts running foreign or domestic policy is frightening.

  106. Bill Lefrak says:

    Actually terrorism didn’t start “working” per se until the West was dumbed down and emasculated by left wingers in the media, in academics and in the political classes. Munich for example accomplished absolutely nothing for those Islamic terrorists nor for any of their ilk. The “Weathermen” went nowhere. Other than to the top of Obama’s original benefactors list, but that’s another topic for another time. The Black Panther Party did nothing, except to inspire a collection of grindhouse movies. OPEC tried economic terrorism, with their embargoes, but other than shifting some production lines in Detroit that too went nowhere.

    Beirut ’83 didn’t work for those terrorists. The West had had its moment of clarity and had overcome its 1970’s-era malaise. Reagan and Thatcher were in office. Mulroney followed a year later.

    Lockerbie didn’t accomplish anything of import for those terrorists. Still the era of Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney. Still a serious populace. The dopey left still largely was consigned and constrained and still were not completely in charge of academia or the national media and still had not completely hijacked the Democrat Party and its apparatuses. Keep in mind, too, regarding the populace, that Michael Dukakis lost 40 out of 50 states to one of the weakest incumbent Veeps in memory.

    Terrorism starting making serious inroads in the 1990’s, as the far left obtained full tenure on Western college and university campuses and as the media went full libtard, too. The Cold War had ended, seriousness evaporated, and leftism in many respects was allowed to fester unchecked. Terrorism followed suit. Mogadishu. WTC ’93. Khobar. Tanzania and Kenya. U.S.S. Cole. We had the “Torricelli principle.” Probably the dumbest national security policy in history. Culminating of course with 9.11.01.

    Now here we are, during the acceleration phase of the West’s leftism-infused decline, and sure enough we’re actually having to debate with brain dead academics whether to allow carte blanche for potential terrorists to come on in and to shack up right here in the US of A. It’s not simply obvious enough for the chattering classes; this, too, requires gnashing of teeth. It’s verboten to point out that, yeah, dopey, we need to be profiling these people. Duh. No males between 15 and 50 either. Period. That’s actually a bad thing even to say much less to enact as policy. That’s how far the West has slipped. That’s how retarded the academia-media-politico classes have become.

    The best friend of ISIS is the Western media-academia-politico classes. The latter is what will allow ISIS to survive. The former will use that de facto shelter to kill a lot of people.

  107. David M says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    Less word salad and a little more coherent thought next time is probably the first step to recovery.

  108. @m u ncho el box:

    The good professor still thinks it was anti vaxxers

    The good professor finds it odd that certain folks seem to think that repeating some phrase over and over again in different threads is somehow clever.

    Indeed, the good professor would appreciate a more skillful use of the language.

  109. @Bill Lefrak:

    Beirut ’83 didn’t work for those terrorists.

    So, the goal of the terrorists was for the US to stay in Lebanon and we showed them by withdrawing?

    I suppose it was Reagan’s plan for Hezbollah to then grow in strength in Lebanon and to have to deal with a string of kidnappings that would, in part, lead the US to sell arms to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra scandal?

    Are you trying to do satire?

  110. WR says:

    @michael reynolds: Oh, please. Now you’re claiming we need to nuke the Middle East to win an election? We’ve got to murder millions of civilians or Hillary won’t win? That’s the rationale?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and believe that you’ve hit a tough patch in the book you’re writing, and that you’re deliberately posing as an assclown here to amuse yourself as you fight your way through the problem.

    And I’ll admit you’re doing a fantastic imitation of the right-wingers here — deliberately misunderstanding anything said to you, recasting your opponent’s arguments in ludicrous terms, and then sulking in self-pity when all those mean libs gang up on you.

    I do believe this is a role you’re playing — based in part on some of your deeply held beliefs which you have turned into cartoons — and that you are having fun pissing people off. It’s kind of like when Mamet decided that not only was he suddenly a conservative, he was a conservative who would compulsively cut and paste from Glenn Beck. It’s pissing off the libs for fun and profit.

    Personally I think it’s a waste of your writing talent. I hope you get through the problem at hand and return to writing posts that while sometimes infuriating, invariably entertaining, and filled with real thought and passion, instead of pretending to be Pinky.

  111. michael reynolds says:

    @WR:

    The last time we were seriously hit by terrorists we instituted a torture regime, a surveillance state and two wars.

    But I’m sure this time it will be different. Because human nature just changes overnight that way.

    You have a whole country full of people who feel liberals are changing their country in dramatic ways: gay rights, political correctness, rising Latinos, and so on. They feel stymied, they feel scared, they feel abandoned. And now we’re telling them, “Hey, in addition to all that, meet your new Syrian neighbor.”

    We are pushing too far, too hard. Remember what just happened in Houston? Liberal overreach. When we push too far, too fast, we get pushback.

    So, for the sake of a handful of refugees whose fate will in no way alter anything on the ground in the middle east, for the sake of what, 1% of those refugees? Am I anxious to turn the country over to people who will try to roll back gay rights, roll back abortion rights, pack the Supreme Court, make the rich richer and inevitably start yet another ground war that will kill lots of Arabs and some of us as well? No. I am not anxious to do that.

    I’m getting plenty of scorn, no logical arguments. Do we need these refugees? No. Will letting them in solve anything in the ME? No. Will our European allies stand with us on this refugee issue? No, not in the end.

    This is posturing and signaling and hashtaggery that has f-ck all to do with helping Syria or defeating ISIS. It’s a feel-good for liberals. You want to actually do something about the refugees in the ME? Set up a safe zone on the Turkish border, maybe a second in Iraq. But this is an empty gesture with absolutely no up-side for the US beyond the smug self-satisfaction of the morally superior. It is narcissism as policy.

    Hate on me all you like, dude. On this one the crazy right-wingers are right. This is a dumb move made for dumb reasons.

  112. M u N c H boxoxo says:

    @SL T

    The good professor finds it odd that certain folks seem to think that repeating some phrase over and over again in different threads is somehow clever.

    Indeed you do. Indeed that is your phrase….isis is less of a threat then…what was it?

    and sure enough we’re actually having to debate with brain dead academics whether to allow carte blanche for potential terrorists to come on in and to shack up right here in the US of A.

    Classic. Have a wonderful night in your safe space.

    I mean don’t try to refute isis telling your lying eyes that they were going to create a giant wave of muslims and send them into europe or something. Then claim gleeful that they have indeed done just that.

  113. elizajane says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “The last time we were seriously hit by terrorists we instituted a torture regime, a surveillance state and two wars.”

    Surely you don’t mean to imply that was a success? Our finest hour?

    Also, that was not the last time. See my comment above on Madrid, where twice as many were killed and injured as in Paris. By not escalating that one, our side won. Moreover, we were not seriously hit on this one — France was. Concern is called for, but not empathy to the point where we feel we have just sustained a body-blow.

    My family live a few blocks from the concert hall in Paris where one of the attacks occurred. They are a lot less agitated and hot for revenge than millions of people in fly-over country in America seem to be. I don’t get it. We weren’t supposed to even like the French and their fries.

  114. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We take the refugees because it’s the right thing to do, and there isn’t really any downside. And it makes ISIS look bad.

  115. Bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: pushback?

    Weren’t you the one mocking anyone concerned about backlash earlier?

    Seriously, have you had a ministroke or something? Sudden personality change and difficulty following and processing information are things to see a doctor about.

  116. Bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: pushback?

    Weren’t you the one mocking anyone concerned about backlash earlier?

    Seriously, have you had a ministroke or something? Sudden personality change and difficulty following and processing information are things to see a doctor about.

  117. Bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: pushback?

    Weren’t you the one mocking anyone concerned about backlash earlier?

    Seriously, have you had a ministroke or something? Sudden personality change and difficulty following and processing information are things to see a doctor about.

  118. David M says:
  119. DrDaveT says:

    @KM:

    Wait, why are you cupcake and I’m dipstick?

    Nah, grumpy was “Cupcake”. My sadness at the mind that is Jack was purely vicarious.

  120. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    Kabuki theater. A jobs program. TSA on steroids. Call it what you want but it is definitely a waste of money and does nothing.

    So you’d be in favor of repealing both the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act? Congratulations; that’s the first sensible thing you’ve said. (Although I fear the horse left the barn far too long ago, in the case of the HSA…)

  121. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We are pushing too far, too hard.

    Nah….

    “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans.”
    – Barack Obama on this topic

  122. michael reynolds says:

    @David M:

    We make ISIS “look bad?” You don’t think maybe the raping and enslaving and murdering already did that?

    You figure what, the Muslim world will say, “Awww, look how nice the Americans are to take in 1% of the refugees we kinda blame them for creating.” Because that’s sure how they see France and Germany for taking in large numbers of immigrants from the ME. You can really feel the warmth of all that gratitude.

    Let me ask you something. 1945, the Russians are raping and murdering their way to Berlin. There are a bunch of Germans who’d love to get the hell out of there. Some of those people are Nazis or Nazi-sympathizers, but probably most of them aren’t. We have no way of knowing. They lived under the Nazis, and they certainly accept a degree of fascism in their hearts because they’ve had no real experience of democracy, and what they saw of it didn’t work out too well.

    Do you take those refugees in?

    Now, add the fact that somehow asymmetric warfare – terrorism – has been discovered. People knew about making suicide vests, knew about car bombs, knew how to fire assault rifles. They’d already seen the effects and they were impressed.

    Under those circumstances, do you take those refugees in?

    I am not that filled with the milk of human kindness. I am not a liberal from academia, I’m a street level liberal. Working class. People who know genuine risk in their lives are not generally sanguine about adding more risk. Not without a good reason. Half this country is holding on by their fingernails, and we’re going to turn this into a litmus test? This is what matters most to liberals? Taking care of people from another country, a country rather well known for not liking a single damn thing about us? A couple of months ago we didn’t know these people existed, and now their fate is what we’re all about?

    If you don’t think that message could resonate like a bell with a wide swath of the American population, then you and I know very different set of humans.

    I do not find the moral argument compelling. And as a practical, political matter, we’re putting everything we believe in, in the hands of ISIS. If they pulled off a major attack do you think this country will vote for a liberal woman who cares for Arabs over some strutting male thirsting for blood? Not yet, pal, we ain’t that evolved.

  123. David M says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ISIS wants a war between the West and Islam. There’s no reason for us to go along with their wishes and stop accepting refugees.

  124. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I am not that filled with the milk of human kindness.

    Yeah, we got that.

    Half this country is holding on by their fingernails

    Compared to Syria? Really? You’re going to go there?

    Michael, you sound exactly like the GOP fearmonger me-first sociopaths you usually lambaste so effectively. You can’t have it both ways, that the GOP is wrong when they reflexively fear Mexicans and right when the reflexively fear Muslims. If 1 in 1000 of Syrian immigrants are actually jihadist assassins, that increases the danger to the US by… nothing. Zero. As even Jack will tell you, if the jihadists want to get into the US and blow up some of us, they will.

    The only even remotely plausible argument you’ve made is that the US is so irrationally cowardly that any successful attacks on US soil will cause them to vote Republican. I can almost see that — but if Hillary is such an inept politician that she can’t turn that against the Party of Stupid, then she shouldn’t be President anyway. In the meantime, tens of thousands of people every bit as deserving as you or me are scrambling for their lives. We can either help them, or let our national cowardice prevent that. If you insist on pragmatism, think about the long-term consequences of how the rest of the world will view our choice.

  125. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If they pulled off a major attack do you think this country will vote for a liberal woman who cares for Arabs over some strutting male thirsting for blood?

    A hawk like Hillary Clinton over a goof like Donald Trump? Absolutely.

    Don’t worry, man. Congress is going to vote on the Syrian refugee issue. The Republicans will probably prevail.

    So guess who won’t be able to use the Syrian refugee issue in next year’s election.

  126. An Interested Party says:

    I’m nothing if not flexible.

    Except for your raging xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, and bed-wetting fear, sure you are…

    Terrorism starting making serious inroads in the 1990’s, as the far left obtained full tenure on Western college and university campuses and as the media went full libtard, too.

    Ahh, the Dolchstoßlegende theory…hey, maybe that will work in next year’s election…hell, it worked for Hitler…

  127. bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: We did accept those refugees. One of my best friends is the daughter of a woman who was among them.

    We also accepted Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees, who certainly knew about asymmetric warfare and were feared to be communist agents. It was done over the objections of people like you, but it was done and the vast majority of those people have made this country better for giving them a refuge.

    Maybe this country isn’t ‘evolved’ enough, but let’s put it to the test. I’d rather lose to the GOP standing up for the principles his country claims to champion than have no party to vote for because the Dems listen to you and morph into Donald Trump wannabes.

    Besides, the GOP is the party of fear. We aren’t going to beat them at that even if we turn the whole ME into a giant sheet of radioactive glass. You want to win? Then call them out for what they are: cowards. People without the moral courage to live up to what Judeo-Christian principles, which they claim the country should be founded on, demand.

  128. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m getting plenty of scorn, no logical arguments.

    Explain how “we shouldn’t give a terrorist state a propaganda victory they can use to recruit more followers by denying these refugees asylum for cravenly political reasons” is not a logical argument. In fact, having a rejoinder to that which isn’t a half-assed analogy about arson as sophisticated (and as inaccurate) as the one some conservatives make between sovereign deficit spending and household spending would be nice as well.

    Second, nothing you’ve written has been particularly logical. Logic involves proving statements. You haven’t offered any proof or evidence beyond axiomatic assertions and hypotheticals. You state things as fact which are not, and have a thin and at times biased grasp of the history involved in your own statements.

    Third, you’ve strawmanned your critics relentlessly with positions they haven’t taken, labeling anyone who disagrees with your take “mushy” and “more interested in feel-good moral superiority.” Hell, you brought up microaggressions in a different thread which no one else had mentioned and was completely irrelevant, all just to tar your critics as wimps.

    Logic doesn’t mean what you pretend it means. But this doesn’t matter because you’re not arguing, you’re orating.

  129. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Let me ask you something. 1945, the Russians are raping and murdering their way to Berlin. There are a bunch of Germans who’d love to get the hell out of there. Some of those people are Nazis or Nazi-sympathizers, but probably most of them aren’t. We have no way of knowing. They lived under the Nazis, and they certainly accept a degree of fascism in their hearts because they’ve had no real experience of democracy, and what they saw of it didn’t work out too well.
    Do you take those refugees in?

    Since I’m descended from those very refugees, refugees who went on to become Democratic-voting American citizens, then yeah, sure.

    Also, you moron, in 1945, do you think “what they saw of it didn’t work out too well” applied more to their experience of democracy or of fascism?

  130. Lit3Bolt says:

    @michael reynolds:
    @Tillman:

    Let’s be fair, Michael’s just trying to do his part in the War on Terror. Remember how we nuked Fallujah after the Madrid bombings? And 7/7? Remember how we nuked Jakarta after the Bali nightclub bombing? Remember when Reagan nuked Beirut in ’83 and Libya after the Lockerbie bombing? Remember how that solved all of our problems for all time because that’s the way the world works because random historical analogy devoid of context or random violent revenge fantasy?

    What?! You don’t want to nuke things?! LIBERAL!!! WISHY-WASHY FEEL-GOOD HIPPIE LIBERAL TRAITOR!!!

    What? You also don’t want to show terrorists that they can manipulate your immigration policy? Or any policy at all? BUT WE MUST OBEY XENOPHOBIC FASCIST DEMAGOGUERY OR WE’LL LOSE EVERY ELECTION! It’s a law of human nature and just the way the world works!

  131. Loviatar says:

    Stopped by after a few months to see how the urbane civilized mouthpieces for the reichwing were reacting to the Paris attacks. I’m saddened to see Michael Reynolds is pulling a HarvardLaw92 on this issue.

    —–

    Michael,

    A thought exercise, you’ve bragged on your children, on their intelligence, sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Please repeat what you written here to them, please make your case for nuclear war and genocide to them, please explain to them how you would trun away women and children fleeing rape, murder and slavery. As you do so look into their eyes and realize they’ll never see you or respect you in the same way ever again. I’m pretty sure that same look is in the eyes of many of the readers and commenters on this site.

    You’re wrong on this issue.

  132. Without getting into some of the above (which is overwrought in many cases), my fundamental point is that the following is problematic:

    1) Terrorists attack.

    2) Politicians immediately start reacting out of fear and making policy proclamations.

    That is, as I note in the title, exactly how terrorism works. Why we would want to rush headlong into that dynamic is beyond me (let alone why anyone would defend it).

    So, regardless of the morality of the refugee issue, it strikes me as worth taking a deep breath and thinking through the problem rather than immediately stating that no refugees will be accepted (whether in the US or in Europe). Anyone who can make a cogent argument that he governors who made their proclamations this week were doing so in calm, measured fashion, have at it.

    Further, there is a) a moral component to the refugee issue insofar as US policy is partly responsible for the the mess that is the ME at the moment, and b) there is a strategic and practical issue insofar as rejected refugees have a higher chance of becoming radicalized themselves, not to mention that a West that shows itself uncaring towards Muslims helps the radical cause in the short and long term. There is a strategic reason to try and stop this from being perceived as the West v. Muslims.

    Are their domestic political considerations to be had here? Of course. But the notion that we have to run scared from refugees as if that protects us from terrorist attacks is nonsense.

    Again: the 9/11 attackers got in on tourist and student visas. They didn’t need to sneak in through some convoluted scheme (and the Paris attackers seen to be connected to Belgian nationals–who could easily get into the US on touristy visas).

  133. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Again: the 9/11 attackers got in on tourist and student visas. They didn’t need to sneak in through some convoluted scheme (and the Paris attackers seen to be connected to Belgian nationals–who could easily get into the US on touristy visas).

    Belgium is part of the U. S. Visa Waiver Program. So is France. All citizens of those countries have to do to enter the U. S. is show a valid passport. The entry stamp is good for 90 days.

  134. @Mikey: Exactly. The notion that we are “safe” if we deny entry to refugees is an illusion.

  135. michael reynolds says:

    You know, whatever people, whatever.

    @DrDaveT:

    I say: Half this country is holding on by their fingernails

    You respond: Compared to Syria? Really? You’re going to go there?

    Let’s put that in a political ad and see how it resonates with an unemployed machinist in Ohio.

    Chris Cillizza at the WaPo:

    That stance has been greeted with widespread ridicule and disgust by Democrats who insist that keeping people out of the U.S. is anathema to the founding principles of the country. “That’s shameful,” President Obama said in a speech addressing the Paris attacks on Monday. “That’s not American. It’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

    Think what you will, but one thing is clear: The political upside for Republican politicians pushing an immigration ban on Syrians and/or Muslims as a broader response to the threat posed by the Islamic State sure looks like a political winner.

    The Pew Research Center did an in-depth poll looking into Americans’ view on Islamic extremism in the the fall of 2014 — and its findings suggest that politicians like Cruz have virtually nothing to lose in this fight over how best to respond to ISIS’s latest act of violence.

    Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:

    Here’s the thing: to the average person, it seems perfectly reasonable to be suspicious of admitting Syrian refugees to the country. We know that ISIS would like to attack the US. We know that ISIS probably has the wherewithal to infiltrate a few of its people into the flood of refugees. And most voters have no idea how easy it is to get past US screening. They probably figure it’s pretty easy.

    So to them it doesn’t seem xenophobic or crazy to call for an end to accepting Syrian refugees. It seems like simple common sense. After all, things changed after Paris.

    Mocking Republicans over this—as liberals spent much of yesterday doing on my Twitter stream—seems absurdly out of touch to a lot of people. Not just wingnut tea partiers, either, but plenty of ordinary centrists too. It makes them wonder if Democrats seriously see no problem here. Do they care at all about national security? Are they really that detached from reality?

    We’ll get some polling in a day or two. Maybe you’re all right and this isn’t going to be an issue. Whatever the negatives are in the polls, double them if we suffer an attack.

    But by all means proceed and enjoy your little orgy of scorn and self-regard. I promise not to throw it in your faces when Ted Cruz nominates Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement.

  136. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    So, should we give up out ethics forever or just in election years?

  137. bookdragon says:

    @michael reynolds: That WaPo piece is dreadful and deserves mockery.

    “You might not like Republicans calling for a ban on refugees. But it’s smart politics.”

    How is that different from:

    “You might not like putting Japanese Americans in internment camps. But it’s smart politics.”

    If we become no better than that, why bother worrying about who wins an election?

  138. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    We should not lose the war over one small battle.

    Or would you like to be the one to explain to women who can’t get an abortion, and to gays who have no legal protection in employment, or the soldiers who die in another Republican war, or to the black men who still get gunned down in the streets, or to the Hispanics being torn from their homes, that they were simply not as important to the Democratic Party as Syrians were?

    Priorities. Here’s how that works to voters:

    1) Me
    2) My family
    3) My neighbors and friends
    4) My country and fellow Americans
    5) Our national friends and allies.
    6) Everyone else

    Tell me something, Mr. Compassion, how many are you proposing to let in from Nigeria or Congo or North Korea or Sudan? And why so few from Syria, given the obvious humanitarian need. I mean, we keep hearing 2 million refugees. Shall we go the full two million?

    Now explain your answers in terms of your own ethics and in terms comprehensible to a woman working three jobs and barely getting by, bearing in mind that working people generally don’t give a sh-t about grand rhetoric. How is importing Syrians helping that single mother?

  139. bookdragon says:

    @Grewgills: Not to mention any pretense of courage or leadership.

    FRANCE announced today that they will admit 30,000 Syrian refugees.

    Remember when the conservatives used to mock the French as ‘surrender monkeys’? Guess who the weak, fearful surrender monkeys are now…

  140. michael reynolds says:

    BTW, here’s a poll from a month ago, before Paris:

    55% of Americans favor taking in some Syrian refugees, 44% oppose.

    You all figure that 44% maybe rose a wee bit in the last week? A 10% rise makes it a 50/50 issue. A 20% rise makes it politically very dangerous. And if we are attacked, that number will go to 65% and that’s political disaster.

    Here’s another interesting poll, this one of Arabs, with Syrian refugees broken out as a separate demo. 13% of Syrian refugees are positive or somewhat positive toward ISIS.

    So, for every ten thousand Syrian refugees figure 400 ISIS sympathizers in the definitely ‘pro’ camp, 1300 in the pro or somewhat pro-ISIS camp.

    It took what, two dozen guys to pull off the Paris attacks? But of course we’ll screen them out using our special TSA psychics.

    Nah, no risk here.

  141. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Or would you like to be the one to explain to women who can’t get an abortion, and to gays who have no legal protection in employment, or the soldiers who die in another Republican war, or to the black men who still get gunned down in the streets, or to the Hispanics being torn from their homes, that they were simply not as important to the Democratic Party as Syrians were?”

    Sure… until we decides that abortion is controversial, and we’d better get rid of it before the Republicans use it against us in an election. Or gun control — no, wait, Dems have already preemptively given up on that one. But we’d better start deporting Hispanics at random, or the Republicans will run on illegal immigration.

    Or we could, you know, fight for our principles.

    Because as the saying goes, if a voter is faced with a choice between a Republican and a Democrat pretending to be a Republican, he’s going to go with the real thing every time. Because there will be no real choice in values, but one of them actually has beliefs he’ll stand behind.

    I don’t know if you’ve been in California long enought to remember Kathleen Brown. She was an enormously popular liberal politician — Jerry’s sister — who ran for governor. But as soon as she announced her candidacy, she started listening to her handlers. And even though everyone new she was a leftie, she wouldn’t talk about what she believed — for fear of alienating the “centrists” or “swing voters” or whatever. And she lost in a landslide — because people who were opposed to her beliefs voted against her… and people who shared them couldn’t trust someone who ran away from them.

    Democrats can’t win by pretending to be Ted Cruz. If the nation wants Ted Cruz, they’re going to vote for him. The only way to beat Ted Cruz is to actually oppose him — to give an alternative, not an echo.

    Seems to me the normally sane Michael Reynolds would understand this.

  142. michael reynolds says:

    And here it is, the first post-Paris poll:

    Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as “shameful” and un-American.

    That’s 53% willing to say it to a pollster. What do you want to bet the real number is close to 60%? Already! And what will it be when someone digs up that Pew poll showing a 13% ISIS support number among Syrian refugees? And by the way, that’s all Americans, not likely voters who will skew older and more conservative.

    You people are all about symbols. You’ll surrender the ability to actually help Americans in need in order to strike a pose and admire your own courage. You’ll hand this country over to Trump or Cruz rather than risk saying something unpopular to your fellow liberals. You want to belong and you want to feel warm and toasty inside.

    F-ck that. I want power, because without power you’ve got nothing.

    You’re as dumb as the Republican wingnuts eternally calling for their “true conservative.” You don’t understand that you are out of touch with the American people. You’re as much in a bubble as any Fox News addict.

    A majority is already against you. And that’s before the issue gets massaged by the cons. And before a possible attack in the US. But hey, enjoy the view from your ivory towers. Bask in your righteousness.

    What the hell, at least the Republicans will cut my taxes. So there’s that.

  143. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “F-ck that. I want power, because without power you’ve got nothing.”

    And once you’ve obtained power by pissing away all your principles, what do you have then?

    I understand the polls. Polls are a snapshot of a moment in time. Opinions change, strong emotions fade.

    And one thing that can help change poll numbers is something called leadership. It’s what we want our leaders to do. You, apparently, have decided, that the country should be run like The Voice, where everyone phones in an opinion and the one with the most phone calls wins.

    I’m just wondering — if polls showed that a majority of the American people wanted to throw all Muslims in camps, would you be arguing for that? Then what if a new poll showed they wanted writers sent to camps as well? Still thinking we need to follow the masses everywhere they go?

  144. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    53% are saying that now in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks when their passions are still raw. This, like everything else, will fade with time. In a few months the polls will be back where they were a month ago. In the mean time we can either stand by our ethics and work to move the needle to a more rational position or we can abandon them and see which way the wind carries us.
    You keep offering false choices. It isn’t either stand by our ethics with regard to terrorism and refugees or stand by our ethics when it comes to domestic issues revolving around equal protection and human rights. I chose to stand by my ethics in all of those cases.
    Democrats aren’t going to win or lose on this one issue a year from now. Keep in mind, with the screening process currently in place we aren’t going to be seeing these refugees prior to the election, so your fear mongering about one of them committing an act of terrorism prior to the election is not a rational risk calculation about the election or anything else.

    Now, a serious question for you. What do you think is the right thing for us to do absent your hypotheticals about the election? If this had happened after Clinton had won the presidency and Democrats had taken over the Senate, would you still be advocating your current position on the refugees?

  145. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “That’s 53% willing to say it to a pollster.”

    What percentage said they wanted tighter gun control laws after Newtown? And what was the percentage 2 months later?

  146. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    NBC has the number at 56% opposed.

    Canada – you know, the “nice” version of Americans – is 54% opposed. So essentially identical to us.

    But sure, the polls will all change because. . . why exactly? Americans were 44% opposed before Paris, so that’s your floor. It’s 56% now.

    Republicans hugely opposed. Independent voters right behind them. And a third of Democrats are opposed. And if ISIS hits us here in the US? You think that’ll induce Americans to change their minds and welcome more Syrians?

    You folks, I love you even though I am the new Hitler, but you are out of touch with this country and the world. You’re risking losing everything progressives care about for a token number of Syrians. You might want to ask someone other than another middle class white male what they think about that trade-off. Because academic liberals are handing the GOP a classic Atwater-Rove issue. And if we lose, gays lose, women lose, blacks lose, working people lose, and the GOP will have been rescued from death.

    Liberals think the game is being right. The game is power because without power it does not f-king matter if you’re right.

  147. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Liberals think the game is being right. The game is power because without power it does not f-king matter if you’re right.

    If we give up our ethics what does power gain us?

    But sure, the polls will all change because. . . why exactly?

    Because the wounds don’t remain raw forever. In a month or two the Paris attacks will have been replaced in the imagination of the average American (and Canadian) by the next shiny. For passions to remain inflamed they have to be stoked.
    Worst case scenario, Clinton can remain quiet or evasive for the time being and it won’t cost her a damn thing. Wait. Let passions cool and see what happens in the coming months. The refugees aren’t coming tomorrow. Your fear mongering can wait.
    Again, my same question to you:
    What do you think is the right thing for us to do absent your hypotheticals about the election? If this had happened after Clinton had won the presidency and Democrats had taken over the Senate, would you still be advocating your current position on the refugees?

  148. I am about to get a complex with “academic” and “professor” being tossed around as a pejorative left and right in these comments…

    Liberals think the game is being right. The game is power because without power it does not f-king matter if you’re right.

    As a political scientist, I have to agree that yes, at the of the day the game of politics is about power and that being “right” is not only debatable, but is not necessarily the goal.

    However, I will also note that elections do not tilt on one issue, and especially not an issue like this. The general attitude of the electorate on security and foreign policy is largely set and it is highly unlikely, to the point of near impossibility, that the election will, in fact, hinge on “a token number of Syrians.”

  149. (It is entirely possible that we will not even be talking about refugees in a month’s time and the topic will likely have faded in intensity in about a week. Yes, it will come up from time to time, but this election is not going to be about Syrian refugees).

  150. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    Had this happened after the election I think my reaction would be indifference. I don’t think importing people from the middle of a civil war in the age of terrorism is terribly clever. But I doubt I’d work up much heat over it.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Elections have turned if not on single issues then on moments, on perceptions that gel suddenly. To this day Democrats are seen as weak on defense because of McGovern – a situation where McGovern was clearly right. Didn’t matter, we have yet to outlive that.

    If something happens between now and November in the US this will not only be an issue, it will be the political issue, and you know it’s true. The Republicans will shove Hillary’s statement right down her throat and choke her with it. This is a classic Rovian wedge issue that breaks perfectly for Republicans, all conveniently provided by ISIS.

    Now, if nothing happens? Then all it is is a nagging feeling in the back of people’s minds that maybe Hillary isn’t quite tough enough. If something happens, this country will elect whoever looks most likely to inflict some serious pain. Even if it’s Trump. Even if it’s Cruz or Rubio.

    Can you tell me as a poli sci guy in all good faith that I’m entirely wrong?

  151. @michael reynolds:

    If something happens between now and November in the US this will not only be an issue, it will be the political issue, and you know it’s true.

    Well, it depends on what the “something” is. An attack like Paris would have major consequences for the race, but exactly what they would be would very much depend on how they went down. Indeed, an attack could strengthen the President and actually help the Democrats, depending on how the scenario played out (for example: George Bush did not win the popular vote and yet was the most popular president of all time, polling-wise, after 9/11).

    Now, if nothing happens? Then all it is is a nagging feeling in the back of people’s minds that maybe Hillary isn’t quite tough enough. If something happens, this country will elect whoever looks most likely to inflict some serious pain. Even if it’s Trump. Even if it’s Cruz or Rubio.

    Can you tell me as a poli sci guy in all good faith that I’m entirely wrong?

    1) Cruz is not getting the nomination. If the GOP electorate truly want an bellicosity, it will be Trump. If they don’t it will be Rubio or Bush. (That is an educated guess, so we shall see–I shan’t bet the house on it, but there is really no reason to assume Cruz is the likely nominee).

    2) Regardless, if nothing happens (which is the more probable outcome) then this refugee issue will likely be of little consequence. If something happens the issue will what the something is and how it is handled, but it will not be about the refugee issue, per se.

    Sure, if a refugee is admitted and then perpetrates and attack, that could have significance ramifications, and could directly effect the race–and it would likely help the Reps.

    But, by definition any unique event of sufficient magnitude could reshuffle the race, but we aren’t talking here about some unique event, we are talking about whether we should look at Paris and immediately declare: no refugees because we are scared!

    If you want to say that a terrorist attack wherein the terrorist was a Syrian refugee let in after Paris, then yes, that would be potentially devastating to the Democratic candidate. The issue is: how truly likely is that scenario? And, further, I would note that that has not been what you are arguing. You have been arguing that simply letting refugees in makes Hillary look weak and therefore helps the Reps. I don’t think that the issue is big enough, or has enough legs for that to be the case.

    I suspect that ultimately the number of people who would vote R over D because of this issue is negligible.

  152. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    No, Steven, I’ve been pretty consistent in saying this is a problem if we get a Paris in DC. It’s a signal, it’s the kind of signal that acts like a tee in golf, it sets the ball up to be smacked. “She was SecState and didn’t solve the ME, she lets Syrians sleep with your daughter, and now look what happened!” It’s the completion of the narrative. First X then Y leading to Z. X establishes Y making Z obvious. The final straw.

    Of course a major terrorist event is a potential game changer, and all other things being equal it could play either way. Except that it feeds the long-nurtured narrative of a cerebral and disconnected Obama. How does it play against Hillary? A week ago I’d have said she’d chew it up and spit it out. Now, unfortunately, Hillary is identified with Syrian refugees who will appear in GOP ads as terrorists on their way to Iowa.

    Incidentally, if we lose the WH it’s all moot since clearance takes longer than the remainder of Obama’s term. So we’ll have lost the White House to accomplish nothing.

    The odds of that happening? I don’t know. 10%? That’s more than I’d risk for what is really nothing but a gesture. 3 million refugees? We’ll take what, 100k? It’s a gesture. We could set up a safe zone, save more people, take less risk. But being Democrats we have of course decided on self-destruction instead.

    I’ll tell you this as a story guy: I could put campus PC, microaggression, black lives matter (which I support, smart group), gun control and Syrian refugees together to make a pretty devastating picture of a Democratic Party disconnected from average Americans. Snotty, intolerant, weak and unconcerned about the sacred middle class. I could make a hell of a 30 second spot.

  153. @michael reynolds:

    If there is a Paris attack in DC is will almost certainly come from people who entered the US legally (not as refugees) or via homegrown types.

    Regardless, you are are arguing about hypotheticals of dubious probability. There are any number of such scenarios would could argue about along those lines.

    It is more likely that one of the candidates will be caught in a sex or business scandal that will influence the race than is what you are discussing.

    I could put campus PC, microaggression, black lives matter (which I support, smart group), gun control and Syrian refugees together to make a pretty devastating picture of a Democratic Party disconnected from average Americans. Snotty, intolerant, weak and unconcerned about the sacred middle class. I could make a hell of a 30 second spot.

    Well, of course. And it is a narrative that would mostly appeal to those already voting Republican. There are other competing narratives as well that could comprise them.

    You are over-emphasizing the degree to which a specific issue of this nature affects outcomes.

  154. BTW, I can live with the notion that we need to make sure we are being as careful as possible with vetting refugees. However, what I cannot accept is:

    a) Letting fear dictate policy.

    and

    b) Pretending like the probabilities of an attack come more from refugees than they do from people who can get in with a legit visa.

  155. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The odds of that happening? I don’t know. 10%?

    I think that is a wild overestimate for a major terror attack within the US within the next year. Accepting Syrian refugees, which you admit will not happen prior to the election doesn’t make that even slightly more likely. It looks like you are making an emotional investment in very low probability hypotheticals.
    Regardless of what happens between now and then the eventual Republican nominee will try to paint Clinton as weak on terror, weak on Iran, weak immigration, terrible for the economy, an enemy of Christians and and enemy of gun owners. All of that is BS. You aren’t going to call for her to walk back her stance on gun control that has a MUCH larger chance of turning swing voters. If you are really concerned on losing swing voters in a close election on an issue that in the end is purely symbolic, then you should be calling on Democrats to drop their positions on gun control that have exactly zero chance of getting through the House and would be filibustered in the Senate even if Dems took it back. That would have much more impact in Colorado, Ohio, and other swing states.

  156. Tillman says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    BTW, I can live with the notion that we need to make sure we are being as careful as possible with vetting refugees.

    To that point, Dara Lind at Vox posted an article discussing the vetting process in place for Syrian refugees some days back. This seems relevant:

    The entire process typically takes 18 months to two years. With Syrians, it’s been closer to the latter. And most of the holdup has been with the security check — which imposes a standard for involvement with terrorism that is often, in practice, impossible to meet.

    In the Syrian civil war, tangled allegiances and fractured rebellions have blurred the lines between civilian and combatant, and between jihadist and non-jihadist rebel. It is just difficult to exist in Syria without interacting to some extent with a group that the US might consider linked to terrorism, and that is almost always a deal breaker for resettlement.

    No immigrant is legally allowed to come to the US if she’s ever been affiliated with a terrorist group, or if she’s provided “material support” to one. For refugees, that ban extends to the spouses and children of anyone who’s been affiliated with or materially supported a terrorist group. And it’s one of the things investigators most consider when they conduct a security check on a refugee — and a big reason why it takes 18 to 24 months to process a resettlement application.

    Syrian refugees have to prove a negative: that they have never had any involvement with any group the US would consider terrorists. For men who have served with one rebel group or another during the war, that can often be impossible; if a man left a rebel group when it affiliated with al-Qaeda, he has no way to prove that he wasn’t an al-Qaeda affiliate himself. Families that have had no involvement with any groups, meanwhile, face the difficult task of proving the absence of any involvement. And this is compounded by the administrative problems in processing Syrian refugees: Different databases may transliterate Arabic names differently, making them hard to cross-check; some names may sound alike and lead to confusion of identity.

    In early 2014, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) held a hearing to call attention to the restrictions on refugees who’d provided “material support” for terrorist groups in Syria — saying that someone who gave a rebel “a sandwich or a cigarette” could be barred from the US.

    In response, the government created an exception: People who provided “insignificant” material support could now get admitted as refugees, if the official processing them thought they deserved a pass. But the government took until May 2015 to define “insignificant” support, putting a hold on any applications that might have fit in that category for 15 months. A year-plus is short in policy time, but for the refugee families struggling to get by in overcrowded refugee camps, it is an eternity.

    Apparently the change has made a difference. Since June, the US has admitted nearly 200 refugees per month (in the months before the policy change, by contrast, it was admitting fewer than 100). But in order to meet the 10,000 goal the US has set for the coming fiscal year, it would have to admit more than four times that number.

    For Reynolds’s “suicide bomber in DC” scenario to come to pass, one of the two hundred Syrian refugees since 2011 (number’s cited earlier in the article) has to have already fooled the stricter version of the vetting process and been in something approximating deep cover for four years before choosing now as a good time to cause mayhem. As a reminder, Snowden leaked the details of the already-extant NSA domestic spying program in 2013, and it beggars belief to suggest the NSA doesn’t flag recent refugees from war zones. Hell, ISIS did not declare itself a caliphate until last year! The kind of planning that would go into this, and the sheer luck required to pull it off, would make a great novel. But as Aldous Huxley said, “The trouble with fiction is it makes too much sense, whereas reality never makes sense.”

    Let’s not even get into how Hillary Clinton, lauded as a good debater around here not two months ago, with a husband/campaign surrogate largely renowned for his ability to pontificate on the details of policy in engaging fashion, is now in danger of losing because of this flimsy narrative that only makes sense as a doorstopper you buy at an airport to pass the time. Obviously the fear of mad bombers hiding in a wave of refugees exists, but you have to have a kernel of truth to latch onto for it to stick.

  157. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Of course fear sets policy. That’s just rhetoric. If fear didn’t set policy we’d have open borders, we’d shut down the TSA, we’d pull all those guards off federal buildings, we wouldn’t need an intelligence community or a military. We spend hundreds of billions a year, and make untold numbers of decisions based on fear.

    Pretending like the probabilities of an attack come more from refugees than they do from people who can get in with a legit visa.

    It’s irrelevant, as I’m sure you know. What will matter is perception. You think Frenchmen are sitting at Café de Flore talking about how Frenchmen murdered all those people? The terrorists aren’t “Frenchmen” to Frenchmen any more than their equivalents in this country would be identified as Americans.

    You are over-emphasizing the degree to which a specific issue of this nature affects outcomes.

    Except it won’t be a specific, single issue, it will be part of a narrative, as I said above. Of course it’s never X, it’s X then Y leading to Z. But this is a really big X. Don’t kid yourself, this is an issue and it’s getting traction. You see the polls I cited? The Bloomberg poll has it 53% opposed, 11% Christians only, 8% unsure, just 28% favor the current plan.

    You think the 11% “Christians only” are your persuadables? Because I think they’re an inch away from being added to the 53%. Let’s divide the undecideds evenly, which is very generous. That makes it 53 + 11 + 4 = 68%. What set of circumstances is going to turn that 68% into something less than 50%? Democratic Party people are already getting heat from some of their candidates, do you think those people can’t read their local constituencies?

    Hillary is now standing against 7 out of 10 Americans on this policy. You really think that’s a happy place for her? Any major ISIS event in this country and she is immediately, “soft,” especially contrasted with Trump or Cruz. This isn’t going away because GOP candidates are going to run on it, and the narrative will be: Hillary, soft on terror. “X” i already out there, if we get a Y, we will sure as hell get a Z, and that will be a Republican WH.

    And again, why? Why does this have to be done right the hell now and not after November? We could have agreed to a pause, not a damn thing changes, and we’d look serious on security. This was an unforced error. This was dumb, and you can call it a principle, but it’s really just posturing. If what we cared about was people in need, we’d be bringing people in from Nigeria. This is about it being Syria.

    This is guilt-driven expiation of our sins. A risk taken for a gesture.

  158. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Why do you think that the poll numbers in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack in Paris are somehow immutable or only doomed to get worse? Why will this tragedy inform American public opinion longer than the other tragedies that have occurred over the past decade or so? Why will the desire to close our borders after this tragey last longer than the desire for stricter gun control after the next school massacre? What is it that distinguishes this event and makes it so pivotal?

  159. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Of course fear sets policy. That’s just rhetoric. If fear didn’t set policy we’d have open borders, we’d shut down the TSA, we’d pull all those guards off federal buildings, we wouldn’t need an intelligence community or a military. We spend hundreds of billions a year, and make untold numbers of decisions based on fear.

    Irrational fear should not dictate policy. That it sometimes does doesn’t mean that we should accept that outcome rather than arguing for more rational decisions. As to your list, there is a difference between basing policy decisions on irrational fear and based on rational assessment of risk.
    Not having open borders is based on more than irrational fear, though the degree to which we have closed them is partially based on irrational fears. In the past you have opposed the restrictions based on irrational fears. Are you rethinking that now in light of the upcoming election? Trump is getting a lot of traction on immigrant bashing. Should Hillary jump on that bandwagon?
    The TSA is at least part kabuki based on irrational fears and should be scaled back. How it metastasized is an object lesson in basing policy decisions on irrational fear.
    Guards on government buildings, having an intelligence community and a military are more about logical risk assessment and other mostly rational calculations than irrational fear. Irrational fear does sometimes play a role in those decisions and when it does it is almost always to our detriment.
    It feels like you are now advocating surrendering policy decisions to irrational fears whenever those irrational fears reach a tipping point that could effect an election. Am I misinterpreting or misunderstanding you, or do you just think this one instance is somehow special?

  160. @Grewgills:

    Irrational fear should not dictate policy. That it sometimes does doesn’t mean that we should accept that outcome rather than arguing for more rational decisions

    Exactly.

    There is no denying that fear frequently directs policy–the point is that it shouldn’t.

    Policy based on irrational fear begat the Iraq War which in large part helped give us ISIS and the discussion we are having now.

    It behooves segments of the public to see fear driving policy to speak out and ask for a more rational approach (even though that may be efficacious).

  161. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills:

    Irrational fear should not dictate policy. That it sometimes does doesn’t mean that we should accept that outcome rather than arguing for more rational decisions.

    Indeed. It seems to me we should be pushing to educate people on this, not succumb to the fear that THEIR fear will somehow lead to a Republican victory in 2016.

    Most people I’ve interacted with don’t seem to know how arduous the vetting and admission process actually is (as pointed out in the Vox article you excerpted). And there’s this from Paris: The eight terror suspects named so far are not refugees and all have EU passports

    Add to that the undeniable fact IS would benefit from the West shutting its doors to Syrian refugees.

    There’s an opportunity here, why should we squander it by knuckling under to ignorance? Most of the people who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat because of the refugee issue wouldn’t vote for a Democrat anyway. Seriously…the garbage my conservative friends are filling my Facebook feed with is unbelievable.

  162. Rafer Janders says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You think Frenchmen are sitting at Café de Flore talking about how Frenchmen murdered all those people?

    Um, yes. I was actually at several Parisian cafes this week, and one of the conversations was about how horrifying it was that this had been done by fellow countrymen, by people who had been raised among them.

  163. Rafer Janders says:

    @Grewgills:

    What is it that distinguishes this event and makes it so pivotal?

    Michael’s fear.

  164. munch says:

    Um, yes. I was actually at several Parisian cafes this week, and one of the conversations was about how horrifying it was that this had been done by fellow countrymen, by people who had been raised among them.

    …uh you mean muslims?….they aren’t countrymen…they don’t assimilate…they assassinate.

    Irrational fear should not dictate policy….its not irrational when they are really trying to kill you.

  165. Matt says:

    @Jack: You clearly haven’t read the bible or the other books that the bible is based off.

    do you mix fabrics? Deuteronomy 22:11
    Have you eaten shellfish lately? Leviticus 11:12
    Ate something that had cloven foot but doesn’t chew it’s own cud? Leviticus 11:3
    Have you stoned everyone you’ve heard cursing? Leviticus 24:16
    How many cheaters have you stoned (including rape victims that didn’t scream loud enough? Deuteronomy 22:23-24
    Have you stoned to death any female who wasn’t a virgin when she married? Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

    Punishment for those sins? death usually by stoning as stated in….

    Romans 6:23
    Psalm 145:20
    Ezekiel 18:4 of course
    There’s more but you get the point.

    Pull the plank out of your own religion’s eye before you complain about others.

  166. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: Actually quite a few and they are easy to find if you spend a little time on the internet….

  167. Matt says:

    @Matt: Hell you can find them in Germany still very VERY easily despite most of the imagery being banned.

    They prefer to be called Neo-Nazis now though.