An Ethics Mystery: Why Can’t Democrats Be Honest Or Responsible Regarding The Syrian Refugees??



The question of whether to accept Syrian refugees is not, or should not be, a partisan one. It’s simple logic, duty and priorities, as I wrote here. A needy group has an unknown component of deadly members capable of killing Americans. Until or unless those members can be identified and separated from that group, it would be irresponsible to admit them into the country. The Paris bombing vividly illustrated the risk of ignoring these facts. So why are Democrats and their pundit allies making statements attacking those who acknowledge them? You know, just because they are conservatives and Republicans who tend to think that all of President Obama’s policies are misguided doesn’t mean they can’t be right occasionally.

I have been searching for a single persuasive, fact-based argument that justifies the risk of accepting thousands of Syrians. In fact, I have been searching for one that wasn’t dishonest, an appeal to emotion over reality, or a cheap excuse to engage in race-baiting, now the Democratic Party’s favorite pastime.

I’d love to hear one. I’d love to be convinced. If the nation can take in the suffering refugees without vastly increasing the chance of a bomb going off in the a restaurant I’m eating with my family, hurray!

Such arguments just aren’t there, however. Instead we are hearing:

Hillary Clinton: Hillary, who can rarely say anything without engaging on some form of dishonesty, began with a blatant straw man, saying, “We cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and humanitarian obligations.” Who’s being intimidated? I don’t feel intimidated. This would be prudent policy with or without the Paris bombing: don’t allow large numbers of strangers from a region full of anti-American terrorists unless we can vet them, and we can’t. Hillary, sly fox that she is, knows that. Thus she says America needs “to be vigilant in screening and vetting any refugees from Syria” to “ensure those in need are granted safety while keeping out anyone who would seek to do us harm.”  Perfect! After a Syrian refugee who wasn’t vetted because its impossible blows up a few hundred ar Grand Central, Hillary will say, “I never said to let in the refugees without effective screening!” She has a perfect Clintonian deceit: proclaiming that we should allow the refugees with our borders but insisting that we be “vigilant in screening and vetting” really means “don’t let in the refugees.”

[In fairness to Hillary, at least she knows she is talking out of both sides of her mouth, as opposed to Jeb Bush, who is just sounding like a compassionate, indecisive, waffling, babbling fool. Here’s his analysis, as I understand it: Bush said that “the answer to this is not to ban people from coming” but “to lead, to resolve the problem in Syria” and that “People are legitimately concerned about the efficiency, the competency of the Obama administration as it relates to screening processes. But we have systems in place. If there’s any kind of concern, we shouldn’t allow people in.” Still, he told CNN, “there are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They’ll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered.” Elsewhere, he said that banning specific religious groups was wrong. So let’s see, Jeb’s position is that a lot of Christians are in trouble, so we should allow all the Syrians we can into the country using the systems we have in place, except that he doubts the ability of the administration to execute those system, and if there’s any concern (regarding the system? The execution of it? Danger from the refugees?), then we shouldn’t allow people in, but resolving the problem in Syria will make it all better.


I know Jeb isn’t a Democrat, but I’m sure the GOP would gladly trade him for Lincoln Chaffee,a box of Dukakis for President buttons, and an idiot to be named later.

Bernie Sanders: “We’ve got to be tough, but not stupid,” Bernie Sanders told a crowd Monday. “I am disturbed by some of what I am hearing from my Republican colleagues…During these difficult times as Americans, we will not succumb to racism.We will not allow ourselves to be divided and succumb to Islamophobia.”

If a group of Muslims wanted to come into the U.S. and an unknown number of them were zombies, Bernie and the reflex race-baiting wing of the progressive movement would blame the decision to reject them on “Islamophobia”  rather than “the sense it takes to come out of the rain.” This is Becoming-the-Next-Isis-Victims-o-Phobia, you shameless hack. Didn’t Bernie really mean, “We’ve got to be stupid” at the beginning? Otherwise he contradicted yourself…

Martin O’Malley. As if anyone cares, the  third wheel in the Democratic nomination quest told  The Des Moines Register“There are women, there are children dying.” Oh, good, I needed a “Think of the children!” entry in this embarrassing mess. “They are fleeing the same sort of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France and the violence that brought down that airliner,” O’Malley said. “I don’t think it’s too much to ask of us that we do our part here.”

“Our part,” apparently, meaning “making the U.S. newly vulnerable to that same kind of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France and the violence that brought down that airliner.”

California Governor Jerry Brown: He says he’ll fully support any Syrian refugees coming to California that are“fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way.” This shall henceforth be known as “The Hillary.” There are no databases to vet any refugee from that region in an “utterly reliable way.” Presumably any Democrat mouthing this blather knows that.

Why are they saying it, then? Do they think Democrats are stupid? That they’ll accept dishonest statements as long as it furthers a partisan narrative, even if it gets people killed? What is this?

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy  told NBC  that the state is committed to accepting the refugees and believes background checks could easily be performed. 

Easily! I have found no objective authority who believes that reliable checks can be performed at all. Is Malloy lying, or an idiot? There really is no other choice.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio: The Hillary Clinton ally evoked an oldie but goodie from the post 9-11 months by writing in a statement that closing the US borders to those fleeing violence “is to hand the terrorists a victory over our democracy.” Yup, if we don’t give them a chance to kill more of us, the terrorists win. He really said that.

You elected this guy, New Yorkers. I hope you enjoy him.  “We should not close our borders to any group of people fleeing the atrocities and horrors of terrorism,” de Blasio continued, for doing so diminishes the freedom cultivated “over the years by Americans who died or risked their lives for it.”

The Democrats are good at straw men, I’ll say that for them. Nobody is arguing that we should close our borders to people fleeing the atrocities and horrors of terrorism. We have to “close our doors” to people who want to bring the atrocities and horrors of terrorism, and if we have to exclude the former to protect ourselves against the latter, so be it.

But good try by de Blasio at pretending that the real issue—taking rational anti-terrorist measures and placing the security of Americans above abstract “compassion”— doesn’t exist.

Is anything more honest, rational of persuasive coming from the news media? Not so far. For example,

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski: The knee-jerk liberal Morning Joe, co-host beclowned herself debating with Rep. Peter King (R-NY), a knee-jerk blow-hard himself, about the government’s ability to vet the refugees.

King, who is on  the Homeland Security Committee, stated the obvious. “We can not vet the refugees from Syria,” he said.  “There are no databases to work against, no government records… People talk about ‘thorough vetting—There is no vetting as a practical matter.”

Brzezinski couldn’t countenance reality when it contradicts Obama fantasy, so she protested, “Hold on one second — there is vetting. There are face-to-face interviews, there are health screenings, often it takes two years for a family to get here.”

Let us pause a second to take in the full silliness of that remark. Face-to-face interviews? Oh, so a refugee can fall for the, “Name? Ok. Place of birth? Got it. Terrorism target?” trick? Health screenings? We’re trying to stop killers, Mika, not pink-eye.

“No, Mika you are entirely wrong,” said Congressman King, accurately. Brzezinski’s rebuttal: “Actually sir, I think you’re wrong… the vetting is happening, whether you like it or not.” The issue of course, was not whether something the Obama administration calls vetting was happening, but whether it could be sufficiently effective. The Obama Administration has proven that it can’t vet IT contractors, NSA contractors or Secret Service employees, but it proposes to do this?

Mika also said “you do what you can, and that is vetting.” Brilliant.

Let’s see: so far we have…

  • We must let in the Syrian refugees, but of course only with effective screening, which is impossible, so we shouldn’t let in the refugees, but in theory we should…
  • Anyone who disagrees with the President’s policy is a racist.
  • Think of the children!
  • Don’t let the terrorists win!
  • We can vet! We can check their teeth! We can look into their eyes!

Is there anything else? I’m still open to being persuaded.

Chris Christie explained all that was really necessary today, and anyone with the least interest in being honest and objective would have to agree with him, saying…

“I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in.”

How could anyone?

 Oh, I nearly forgot: President Obama characterized legitimate Republican concerns about the unvettable Syrians as being afraid of “widows and orphans.” 

I hesitate to use such a term out of my respect for the office he holds, but President Obama just debased it, and not for the first time.

That is the low blow rhetoric of an asshole.




82 thoughts on “An Ethics Mystery: Why Can’t Democrats Be Honest Or Responsible Regarding The Syrian Refugees??

  1. Let me see: George W Bush was in office eight months after Clinton left and he gets blamed for 9/11 happening despite Clinton’s tepid response to the terrorist attack on the U.S.S Cole and the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Africa. Here we have an impossibly task for the FBI and Homeland Security to accomplish. Vetting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees some who will probably connections to ISIS. Who will be held accountable for the inevitable?

    • Bush, of course. See, if he hadn’t attacked Iraq, none of this would be happening. Kaddafi and Saddam and Assad and Khomeni and all the dictators would be safe and not harming a fly, and peace and hope would reign supreme. There would be no ISIS. No radical Islam, no terrorists. No beheadings. All Bush’s fault.

      • Khomeini was dead 11 years before GWB was elected. You mean Khameini? (who’s basically the same thing, although some on the left say Iran is essentially democratic) I know you’re being sarcastic, and it would be funny if it weren’t what a lot of folks on the left actually believe with heart and soul. There’s not really a whole lot to say beyond that.

          • “Sir, could you please tell me your flight confirmation code using a phonetic system for no confusion?”

            “Sure! My confirmation code is A as in Apple, V as in Victor, Q as in Qaddafi, P as in Pneumonia, G as in Gaddafi, the numbers 4-6-1-3, and K as in Kaddafi”

            • Gaddafi this time you’ve gone too far…Gaddafi we’ll put your brain in a mason jar… Gaddafi this time you’ve gone too far… you better get a friend to start your car!

  2. That last remark of Obama’s is the most indicative of how the truth is utterly without meaning in leftist circles. One of the most revealing facets about the hordes of “refugees” inundating Europe- and here shortly- is the utter lack of women and children among them. Young, healthy men comprise the vast bulk of them. What they used to call “military age”.

  3. I’d be happy for some of these comments. Most the… liberals… on my feeds are too busy firing off a) Christians are more upset about red cups than actually helping people arguments, b) Mary and Joseph were fleeing and turned away, so why can’t you do better, and today is c) You can’t say Islam is violent, because Christians had the crusades and regularly blow up abortion clinics. I would rejoice at the higher level of discourse you are complaining about.

  4. For pete’s sake, guys, what’s all the fuss about. Let the TSA take care of it. They can hire a bunch of new checkers who speak the lingo — they’re already Americans, so they’re ok, hey? — give ’em a couple a hours training on a lie detector and let ’em go to it. They’ll whip through those 65 thou in no time!

  5. I know Hillary has “no balls” since that is a result of nature, but that terminology certainly can apply to the willingness to take a stance and to actually modify your various positions as facts surface. The “For the children” argument is nothing more than an emotional smokescreen.

    I remember George Bush attempting to defend Iraq policy when all around could see the end result. I see this now with the various Democrats and particularly from the administration.

  6. Why are they saying it, then? Do they think Democrats are stupid? That they’ll accept dishonest statements as long as it furthers a partisan narrative, even if it gets people killed? What is this?

    In a way, the answer to this must be yes. They think, correctly, that Democrats will reflexively oppose anything the Republicans are for as long as there is the slightest emotional justification for it. So I guess the answer is not so much stupid as so ideologically blind that rational arguments can always be trumped by vapid “Think about the children! ™” and similar appeals to helplessness.

    And they are right.

    Sadly, much of the Republican opposition is no less ideological and incoherent. Witness the call for only Muslims to be barred, and Christians allowed in, as if the same lack of verifiable data could actually distinguish a real Christian from a radical Muslim prevaricator. The blatant constitutional problems with such a test hardly bear mentioning in the face of such delirium.

    Whether Democrat acceptance of the maudlin declarations of their leaders constitutes a supplication to stupidity or merely a rejection of logic is, I suppose, irrelevant considering that the results are identical. The only rational response to all this is that we shouldn’t be afraid, but neither should we allow an unknown and unknowable group of people from an area of the world replete with enemies willing to kill themselves in an effort to slay innocent noncombatants into our country, where it would be easy for them to do just that.

    In other words, the Democrats are willing to risk hundreds and even thousands of innocent American lives — not just combatants — to prove they are “compassionate,” even if it means abdicating the primary responsibility of government.

    Does it really matter if it’s stupidity or ideology? Not to me.

    • Clear and helpful. And the typically foolish “Christian-only” grandstanding by Cruz, who knows better and is pandering, and Huckabee, who thinks the Constitution can be ignored at will, just handed Democrat demagogues…which right now appears to be all of them, an excuse to pin the whole controversy on bigotry.

  7. This is hysteria, plain and simple.

    The vast majority of terrorists these days are home-grown, cultivated through social media and friends – citizens or residents of the country they then terrorize. The biggest threat in Europe is from second-generation immigrants whose host countries have failed at assimilating them – something the US has always been better at than Europe.

    Instead of fantasizing about angels-on-pinhead probabilities of a Syrian Trojan Horse terrorist waiting out an 18-month vetting process, we should be seriously asking ourselves how it is that American teenagers in places like Spokane are getting seduced into terrorism through Facebook.

    On this issue at this time, we are enacting an uncanny replication of how we rejected Jewish immigrants in 1939; approximately 65% of US citizens said we should not admit 10,000 Jewish immigrants, and that was shortly after Kristallnacht. We literally turned away a ship full of 900 German Jewish refugees off the Florida coast, nominally because of fears they’d hurt our economy.—jewish-refugee-ship-turned-away-from-florida-coast.html

    It was shameful then, it’s shameful now. Using the fig-leaf of statistical odds well below that of shark attacks and lightning strikes, we are waltzing our way to xenophobia. It’s ugly and, one would wish, un-American.

    • I’m in a rush. Short response: baloney. The willingness to put American at risk is un-American. If there was any reason to trust the same President who rammed through a fatal agreement with a completely untrustworthy Iran, there would at least be a discussion to be had. no screening, so refugees, and the claim that the refugees can be screened is an obvious lie, from multiple untrustworthy officials.

      • “The willingness to put American at risk is un-American.”

        Except you haven’t even established that there is a risk. We’ve allowed thousands of Muslim refugees into this country every year since 9/11. How many of those refugees have committed terrorism here at home? Answer: zero. You’d think if Muslim refugees were as terrorism-prone as Republicans insist, we’d have one single example of a Muslim refugee committing terrorism here in the past decade, and we don’t. You might call that “moral luck,” but I call it “statistics” and “learning from the past to make decisions about the future.” Looking at the numbers, the risk you keep talking about doesn’t seem to exist.

          • The Tsarnaev brothers arrived in the US in 2002 and 2004. Dzohkar was about 10 years old. They went to American schools. Their ethnic heritage was Chechen.

            Should we ban children? Chechens? Not sure the Boston incident really proves all that much.

            • This was in response to the previous post about a Muslim refugee committing a terrorist attack. Were they refugees? Were they Muslim? Who did they come to the United States with? Ethnic heritage? That has little to do with it since the motivator was an extremist view. Douglas McCain was an American and a Muslim extremist.

              Proves that much? Are you serious?

            • You might want to study up on the Chechens, Charles. Do you remember the massacre in another music hall… this one in Moscow? Or the savage, degenerate slaughter of more than 300 school children in Beslan? How about the statements made by the murderous mother of the two monsters who bombed the Boston Marathon? Is any of this indicative… or is it to be excused? How about the other Islamic attacks here in America, the responsibility of “home grown” terrorists born of Moslem immigrant families? All nice kids… who took to mass murder as soon as they were ready.

              These people carry their poison with them, Charles. They do not “assimilate”. They do not acknowledge our laws or traditions. Their creed is violently alien and hostile to the very foundations of our society. And they have no compunctions about killing as many Christians and Jews- men, women and children- as they can, convinced that their “martyrdom” in the process will earn them eternal paradise.

              You cannot reason with people who hold murder in their hearts in the service of a savage god. You can only fight them. And, as you must fight them, it’s better to do so in their own evil warrens overseas. To import them into our own country, only to inevitably have to fight them here, is sheer madness. This is the sad lesson that Europe is now- finally- awakening to. Must we learn it here by the same means? Not being insane, I’d rather not.

          • Rick, the Boston marathon bombing does not disprove my point, as it was not committed by refugees of any kind. Again, show me the number of refugees who have committed terrorist attacks in the U.S., and I’ll start taking people seriously when they talk about the oh-so-huge risk of terrorist attacks by refugees in the U.S.

              • They were already in the country when they applied for asylum–they got here on a tourist visa. So their case has no bearing on whether or not we should allow the current refugees. It would have more bearing in a debate about whether we should ban tourist visas, since some people who use them become terrorists.

                • Nice try. They were granted political asylum. Ergo…refugee. Their case only has bearing on the fact you made a statement regarding refugees committing a terrorist attack. Next time try the phrase “It is rare when a refugee commits a terrorist attack.”

                  • “They were granted political asylum. Ergo…refugee.”


                    “Detractors of refugee resettlement, however, point to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the Boston Bombers — as evidence to the contrary. The pair of brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013 were not, however, refugees. They were, on the contrary, children of an asylee, according to the State Department, and the distinction is crucial.

                    Asylees and refugees share one thing in common: a fear of persecution in the their country of origin. But they differ in important ways. Most importantly, an asylee is self-selected–he arrives in the country from which he’s seeking status and applies for asylum. Under international law, people with a well-founded fear of persecution cannot be returned to their country of origin.

                    By contrast, refugees undergo a much different process. First, they must receive designation as a refugee by U.N. officials, most often in refugee camps. The United States selects only the most vulnerable cases for resettlement, such as those with almost no hope of ever returning to their home country or those who have been tortured.”


                    • “Were they granted political asylum? That is the issue.”

                      When did that become the issue? Again, the differences in circumstances between the Tsarnev family and the refugees under dispute are very clear. You’re playing semantics while ignoring that the Tsarnev case still has nothing to do with what we’re debating today.

                • I think that’s very right; in fact, the visa waiver program is rightly coming under question as far more porous than the existing vetting for immigrants.

                  • Chris….my issue was an incorrect statement you made regarding terrorist and refugees. It was brought out at trial that they had sought and were granted political asylum and thus were refugees, That was the issue to me. Nitpicking? I could not agree more.

      • Would it have been wise to accept refugees fleeing the Holocaust during the 1940’s?

        Remember that Germany had successfully landed saboteurs on American soil. See Alex Abella, Scott Gordon (January 2003). Shadow Enemies: Hitler’s Secret Terrorist Plot Against the United States. The Lyons Press. p. 17. ISBN 1-5857-4722-X., John Craig (2 February 2004). Peculiar Liaisons in War, Espionage, and Terrorism of the Twentieth Century. Algora Publishing. p. 170. ISBN 0-8758-6331-0.

    • The analogy with the Jews is a bad one for one simple reason: terrorism. We turned the Jews away because we did not like Jews, or poor people, or Germans. We did not turn them away because we were afraid of them.

      With Syria, the issue is not that they are poor, or Syrian, or Muslim (for the most part), but that they come from an area where terrorism, particularly anti-American terrorism, is common.

      The analogy is bad.

      This is not a fig leaf. It is a legitimate concern.


      • You’re wrong, and the analogy works fine. The rationale for not allowing Jewish refugees was not just “we don’t like Jews,” it was out of fear that some might be Nazi spies:

        “Now, of course, the refugee has got to be checked because, unfortunately, among the refugees there are some spies, as has been found in other countries. And not all of them are voluntary spies—it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.” –FDR

        • Fair enough, but I was specifically thinking of the St. Louis boat incident, which pre-dated the invasion of Poland and the quote you cited. St. Louis is often cast as an anti-semitic act, with no reference to concerns about spying.

  8. Jut,

    You are right to make the distinction between the Middle East as a proving grounds for terrorism, and the case of the Jews in WWII – I agree.

    But I think you are inaccurately portraying that distinction as the root, motivating reason for the over-reaction (29 governors, etc.). It’s simple xenophobia, same as it is in the right wing parties in Europe, aggravated by cheap opportunism on the part of politicians. That anti-immigrant feeling was there before the Paris attacks, and it’s the same right-wing xenophobes who are just seizing on an apparent new argument.

    As evidence, look at how the actual Syrian refugees are treated in the US – NOT in accord with our professed national values.

    The excuse of terrorism today is about as real as the economic excuse in 1939 – a fig-leaf for anti-immigrant feelings in a nation historically rooted in immigration.

    • Coming from an area with a large Somali population, we currently have seven of them going on trial for trying to leave to join ISIS. These are people that are already here. They live in my city. And, my dumb ass governor wants to bring the Syrians here. I don’t have a problem with Syrians; I have a problem with the prospect of a terrorist attack in my community.

      Maybe you are right about it being second generation people we should worry about. You can’t deny the culture clash. You can’t ignore the Boston Marathon bombing. I won’t deny that some people don’t like funny looking immigrants. For me, it would not surprise me one bit if my city is hit by a terrorist attack. Bringing Syrians here would only increase those odds.


      • That’s a great example. If your local Somali population manages to assimilate (like centuries of immigrants before them), then you’ll have great new citizens. If not, then you’re at precisely the risk you point out. And I agree, you’re not crazy to be worried about that, not at all.

        But again, that’s a resident assimilation problem, not an immigration problem. It’s incumbent on them to learn English, try to engage, etc. And it’s incumbent on us to welcome them and infect them with community involvement, fast food and hip-hop – whatever it takes :-). But in any case, the addition of a new immigrant population shouldn’t materially impact that pre-existing problem one way or the other.

        • Yes, one problem is assimilation. However, what people are saying is that a terrorist who wants to attack Americans in America could pose as a refugee for the purpose of gaining entry.

          Now, let’s say that 1/10th of 1% of those 10,000 are people wishing to harm us. That’s a small number. That would be 10 people. Eight people killed 130 in Paris.

          Is 130 dead Americans an acceptable trade-off to you? If not, how many?

          Let’s say only one gets through. Is another Boston Marathon bombing worth it?

          I would make two qualifications to my opposition: orphan children and the elderly.


          • But we make trade-offs every day. Every time we let out an inmate, we know that is 50% likely that he/she will end up in jail — perhaps for a violent crime. But we do it. We know that criminals breed more criminals, but we don’t sterilize them, because that violates our belief system. We also don’t sterilize (at least not anymore) the indigent, the mentally ill, children with Down’s, and young girls who are promiscuous. We don’t do this because — even though it’s statistically more likely that many of these children will become a drain on society and/or commit violent crimes –because it violates our values. We allow in legal immigrants from Russia and Italy even though it is statistically more likely that they will join Russian and Italian mobs over the general population. We legally let in Latino immigrants even though it is more likely that their male children will join MS-13 over the general population. We allow gun sales and have not gutted the Second Amendment even though it is likely that that there will be a certain number of gun deaths every day.

            This is not emotion — this is fact. Hell, it wouldn’t be hard for a programmer to create an algorithim to tell us exactly what to predict. It is possible that we actually did intern actual or would-be Japanese spies during WWII.

            But that is the risk that we take to live in a country that has served as a melting pot for immigrants for its entire existence. We judge people at the individual level — not the group level. For each wave of immigrants and/or refugees that have come into our country, we first responded with fear (“Irish need not apply.” Hell, Georgia was a penal colony!) Then they assimilated and became American citizens. Why do we keep repeating past mistakes?

            • Sure, we make trade-offs, but must we play this game? Do we have to let them in? Do we have to make a trade-off in this case? Why can’t we simply say that this is a crisis we don’t want to touch?

              And, while I agree that there can be a criminal element in any community, we don’t have to import the criminals. Yes, we may know that Latino males are more likely to join MS-13, but that is no justification for bringing MS-13 members in.

              That is essentially what you are arguing.


              • Criminals enter this country every day — usually on planes. Other than closing our borders entirely to travel, there is no way to prohibit enemies entering our borders.

                ISIS is doing back-flips over our response to this. We are creating more terrorists than we are preventing with our ugly rhetoric.

                ISIS members freely travel from one country to another legally. They are not disguising themselves as refugees and opening themselves up to additional scrutiny and time delays.

                Think people.

                • You’re back on your 100% kick, Beth, and adding to it another tired and discredited leftist talking point- that resisting terror only breeds more terror. That’s only a recipe (and excuse) for surrender and disaster. No sane nation deliberately imports either known criminals or adherents of a creed dedicated to the destruction of ours. That’s sheer insanity. So think on THAT, darlin’.

                    • Are they?? Look at the profiles of those people once again. The vast bulk of them are young men, not women and children. They also derive from one of the most virulently Islamist corners of the world. Look at Europe and see what these “refugees” are doing. Look at what previous immigrants, both there and here, have been doing ever since they arrived. What you’re looking at here are not sweet, innocent people fleeing war, but the warriors themselves, looking to expand their jihad into the heartlands of those they consider their enemies.

                    • The vast bulk of them are young men, not women and children. “

                      Regarding Syrian refugees admitted to the US…

                      “The U.S. has admitted some 1,800 Syrian refugees in the past two years, and President Obama wants to allow 10,000 more. The administration says half of those who have been admitted are children and about a quarter of them are adults over 60. Officials say 2 percent are single males of combat age

                    • Worldwide, Zoe, up to 90% of the “Syrian refugees” are able bodied men between 18-30 years of age. Wherever they’ve been settled in Europe, they almost immediately take to crime and collect welfare. They arrogantly play the system for all it’s worth while making ever further demands and organizing themselves into No Go Zones. These are not innocent guys, Zoe. They’ve come to conquer.

            • I can’t believe this crap! Jews in WW II? MS-13? Penal colonies? What it is ALL about is looney tunes getting into the United States with the intent to do mass murder. Maybe if their own litter box was cleaned up there would be little or no suspicion.

        • Thanks for being the voice of reason in this discussion, Charles. You withstand the slings and arrows remarkably. I wish I could make the argument as well as you, but I will just let you know it’s good to see a point of view I share expressed so well.

                • “They really were rejected because of bigotry. That was an excuse—this isn’t.”

                  How do you know that?

                  “The evidence that FDR’s State Department was a nest of anti-Semites is overwhelming.”

                  And the evidence that the Republicans leading the charge against refugees is a nest of anti-Muslims isn’t?

                  • No, it isn’t. It’s just a convenient slur to stifle debate, like “the Tea Party is racist” and “When Republicans say they want to take back the country, it’s racist code.” Huckabee, Jindal, Carson and Cruz qualify as anti-Muslim. They are Republican religious extremists, just like ISIS members are Islamic extremists. But if you admitted a large group of Republicans into an “Up with Muhammad!” party, the odds would be high that there would be some disruption….thus it would be reasonable not to invite them.

                    • If you’re saying we can’t judge the positions of mainstream Republicans based on four Republican presidential candidates, I can’t agree. What do mean, you can’t agree? They aren’t even representative of the conservative wing of the GOP! You seem to have ignored my point: you are doing exactly what you accuses them of doing regarding Muslims. The noisiest Republicans are the extremists, just like the noisiest Democrats are the socialist, anti-speech nuts.

                    • They’re not just “noisy,” they have widespread approval among Republicans–if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be where they are. Of course, that doesn’t mean all their opinions are shared or even known by the genpub, but I think it’s fair to hold mainstream Republicans responsible for the positions of their candidates, just as I think it’s fair to hold mainstream Democrats responsible for the positions of Clinton and Sanders.

                      I also have seen no groundswell of opposition among mainstream conservatives to these people or their anti-Muslim positions. (I don’t think you are a mainstream conservative in the least.) I read a lot of conservative blogs–I haven’t seen any of them, other than this one, condemn the type of bigotry we’re discussing.

                    • There are 11 Republican candidates. Intelligent voters aren’t one-issue voters. I don’t support any of those guys, but if I did, you couldn’t argue that it was because of their anti-Muslim bias, and frankly, in terms of what a President does, I don’t think anti-Muslim bias is very important, unless it is accompanied by bigoted and un-Constitutional policies. (especially since it is difficult to distinguish between that and distrust of Islam, which is rational and prudent. Mainstream Republicans don’t make religion their #1 concern. Mainstream is mainstream—down the middle. Even if Donald Trump was nominated, it would not be because of his stupid comments about Muslims—and they are undoubtedly stupid.

                      Bloggers are almost always extremists of one sort or another, as are blog commenters. The vast, quiet majority of both Democrats and Republicans are more reasonable and moderate. Thank God.

    • I’m sorry, my friend, but I find tarring legitimate concerns as xenophobia and racism as offensive in the extreme, personally offensive. I already stated my position: this is like accepting a group you know includes an unknown number of people with a dread disease. We will not do that, until they are screened and quarantined. Why should this be any different? It shouldn’t. The left, since 2007, defaults to race-baiting whenever they have no argument, and I resent it deeply. I applaud immigrants—the legal ones. My whole experience growing up was in an all-immigrant extended family that spoke Greek in family gatherings. It’s too bad that we have to worry about Islamic extremists who have the motivation and the tools to kill thousands, but we do, and have to adjust not our values, but our conduct accordingly. Impugning my motives falsely is not an argument; it’s just a short-cut to avoid one.

      Answer the question: is effective screening a requirement or not? Your current position is that it is racism to require it, as I understand this cant disguised as conviction. Yes or no answer, please.

      • Jack, it is worth getting precise about this; in fact, it’s very important.

        I absolutely do not intend to personally offend or insult you – I know you well enough to know that your positions are very well-reasoned, and even when I differ with you, I can recognize good intent.

        At the same time – and you recognize this too, in your comments on the rabble-rousing aspects of Cruz and Trump – that there are plenty of folks out there whose motivation truly is xenophobic. And yes, while I try my best to frequently recognize and understand their points of view, there are definitely times when I fully intend to offend and insult them.

        “This is hysteria” was one of those times. I should have said words to the effect of, “there are lots of people out there for whom this argument is frankly based on hysteria,” rather than leave possible the inference that it was aimed personally at you.

        I will promise to you to continue trying to find the right language to clearly distinguish between a position I respect and disagree with and a position I find largely indefensible and morally suspect. That’s not hair-splitting – I think it’s the essence of trying to respectfully disagree without giving up on having an opinion.

        Just to be clear, my position is NOT that “it is racism to require effective screening.” My position is that absolutely we need screening, and probably much stronger screening in situations like the refugees from Syria. We live in a crazy world, and we need to protect ourselves.

        On the other hand, as Beth points out, we no more live in a perfectly “protectable-from-trigger-points” Yale student’s fantasy than we do in a Cruz-fanboy’s “protectable-from-all-ISIS” world. You’ve got to accept trade-offs. Evil is tangible enough, and death is real.

        My point was that in the real world, the threats are far more from second-generation, living-in-the-US radicalized people than they are from the very group who are themselves desperately fleeing first-hand-violence from ISIS. ISIS knows this, and that’s why they’re actively recruiting foreign nationals – so they can travel back to their home country on their own passports instead of having to spend 18 months as a sleeper cell in limbo pretending to be a Syrian refugee.

        Respectfully, I guess I disagree with your assessment of the odds. Up against the violation of human values that this country was founded on, I think a blanket 100% rejection of refugees on the basis of country of origin is not a good nor necessary trade-off. I think we can vet sufficiently well, as we have done so far, to make that a decent tradeoff. I accept that you differ, but I also suggest we agree there are plenty of folks out there who reach your conclusion through far less respectable paths of logic.

        • Even if I accept all of your arguments (which I, of course, do not) the government, with a mandate to protect it’s citizens, must be much more clear eyed and calculating about existential threats. Our current leaders don’t seem to understand their role. Jack has already very clearly expressed this.

            • Not really, Charles. Screening means actual screening, not perfunctory, pretend, inadequate screening that will be misrepresented as effective to duck accountability. When you say screening, I assume you are serious, which means effective screening—not “100% effective screening,” as Democrat Cahrles Schumer said yesterday, but real screening.

              Ergo, I must assume that of real screening—not just sitting around talking, but actual background checks—is impossible, then you would then oppose settlement of the refugees.


              • One of the bits from what I’m working on is about screening and when the “can’t everyone just get along” crowd says “of course we need screening”, it inevitably leads to meaning at least one of four things:

                1) an empty platitude because they know they are spineless pantywaists but don’t want to sound like it.
                2) an actual belief that our current methods will be sufficient, in which case they must be stupid.
                3) an admission that we must have more of it, but it will be insufficient, so other controls (to be discussed later) must be in place.
                4) an admission that no level of screening is enough and barring additional measures, we can’t let anyone in

                I think, given that left wingers will inevitably poo poo the various components of a nuanced and multi-faceted solution to the Syrian crisis, #4 is the default assumption by left wingers of what a rational person means when THEY say we can’t just let these people in. On the contrary, since left wingers will refuse practical steps as well as refuse #4, they are defaulted to #1 or #2, which means “open the flood gate” in practical terms.

                • I’d like to see someone rebut that analysis. My sister, a lawyer and mostly rational moderate Democrat, completely agrees that the rhetoric condemning concerns about the Syrians is either pure posturing or pure stupidity. She was thoroughly involved in the Haitian migrant crisis; I’m trying to get her to write a guest post about how her experience informs her view of this one.

                  • Jack, it seems that what you’re saying is perfect screening is impossible, hence in times of crisis we should admit no one.

                    But there is no such thing as perfection. Nobody can guarantee anything in this world – not purity of milk, not legitimacy of currency, not zero-side effect drugs, and not perfect background screening. There’s ALWAYS going to be some real-world, empirical question of efficacy; hence the only question is, how close to perfection are we willing to settle for?

                    Now I simply do not know the level of quality of existing background checks on immigrants. Listening to national security people on Morning Joe today, I understand they are a hell of a lot more strict than what we apply to people under various visa waiver policies, which have let in some questionable folks. And whatever they are, I’ve no doubt they can be tightened – and probably should be.

                    Since I literally do not know what the existing procedures are, I would be blowing smoke to suggest precisely how they could be improved, other than agreeing on general principle that we probably ought to ramp up the level – whatever that means.

                    But I do know two things:
                    1. the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good, because there is no such thing as perfection in this world, and if the avid pursuit of this chimerical ‘perfect security’ leads us to violate our basic human values, then it is not self-evidently good to me.

                    2. the greater threat – by FAR – lies in second-generation immigrants, young impressionable teenagers in their bedrooms in Spokane, and people with US passports who are (relatively) freely allowed to go to Syria and come back radicalized. FAR greater risk.

                    The idea that ISIS is sending out sleeper spies to hang out for 18 months (roughly the time we put immigrants through) among hundreds of people who are themselves fleeing ISIS violence, expecting them to maintain their ideological purity, and then effectively go apeshit in the US seems to me far-fetched.

                    • Jack, it seems that what you’re saying is perfect screening is impossible, hence in times of crisis we should admit no one.

                      No, Charles, I’m saying that this is what you’re saying. What officials admit the US can do isn’t screening by previous standards. It’s “the best we can do.” If the best we can do isn’t adequate, then we can’t screen. If we can’t screen, then by your standards, they can’t come in. Which is reasonable. What isn’t remotely reasonable is to say, “As long as it’s called screening, whatever it it, it’s enough.”

                    • You must be a Bill Clinton fan, because for you it depends on what the meaning of “screening” is. 🙂

                      Not to me. You do what you can do, and then you evaluate whether that’s good enough. You can call it what you want, the only question is, can we do a good enough job of whatever-you-want-to-call-it – or not?

                      Your answer seems to be ‘no.’ My answer is ‘probably.

                      It really should be an empirical question, best answered by folks who actually know what our current immigration reviewing practices are. I don’t konw what they are. Is there anyone here who does? Because playing dictionary gotcha games doesn’t get us there.

                • I’m from the government and here to help you will be replaced by I’m from the government and here to screen you. Wonder how that will work out?

  9. “During these difficult times as Americans, we will not succumb to racism.”

    Every time I hear this, I want to tear out my hair. Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. There are no physical characteristics universally associated with Muslims. Islam is a belief system, it is identified by an ideology, by what people think, and you can absolutely disagree with what those people think and treat them differently accordingly with a reasonable expectation not to be called a racist.

    And if these people don’t know that, they need help.

  10. In the movie “Casino” Andy Stone gets capped despite being – like his father “A stand-up guy.” The bosses logic: “Why risk it.”

  11. May I offer as a valuable part of perspective on this issue, an article just published by an Algerian writer on the sinister connection between ISIS and Saudi Arabia. I think it helps focus on root causes, a good thing when it’s easy to get trapped in symptoms.

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