The Easy Ethics Verdict On Trump’s Middle East Immigration Suspension

immigration-protests

There are three steps to evaluating the ethical nature of any law or government action. The first is what was done. The second is how it was done. The third, and usually most difficult to assess, is why it was done, and whether the measure’s objectives are ethical, including whether the measure can reasonable be expected to accomplish them. . What President Trump’s controversial Executive Order temporarily halting immigration from seven Muslim nations is was covered in the previous post on the subject. Thanks to the fact that our mainstream journalists are incapable of reporting some news events without allowing their biases to distort or confuse the facts, the what was misrepresented to the public, and that misrepresentation is reflected in most discussions of the relevant issues on the web.

How the measure was implemented is an ethics  issue, as this involves competence, responsibility, accountability, diligence and leadership.

The Executive Order was incompetent and irresponsible.

There, that was easy.

It’s nice to be able to post an analysis here that nobody will disagree with. Usually I don’t even bother posting such verdicts.

The sudden order (you can read it here) caused world-wide confusion. Passengers were barred from flights to the United States. Customs and border control officials received notice and instructions in the wee hours of the morning, and many began work without knowing what they were supposed to do.  The order  blindsided Trump’s cabinet—what there is of it so far—including Homeland Security chief John Kelly and, incredibly, “Mad Dog”  Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense, who was not consulted by the White House during the preparation of the order and was not given an opportunity to provide input while the order was being drafted. Mattis did not see a final version of the order until a few hours before President Trump arrived to sign it at the Pentagon. Now he really has reason to be be mad.

During the campaign, General Mattis criticized Trump’s comments about a temporary ban on Muslim immigration as a move that was “causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system.” The risk Trump takes by ignoring such opinions is that eventually a cabinet member will get fed up—and Mattis would be a good candidate–and resign in protest.

As many have already pointed out, the order was also sloppily drafted. Any time a major provision has to be yanked back almost as soon as an Executive Order is issued, as was the ridiculous and universally condemned restrictions on green card holders trying to re-enter the U.S., something is badly amiss. There is no excuse for it.  This Executive Order wasn’t some idea Trump dreamed up while tweeting last week. It had been under discussion for months. There was no immediate emergency that required haste. Moreover, Trump gave the public no clear explanation of his purpose and process, allowing the hostile news media to frame the order, which just isn’t as cataclysmic as the rabid Left is making it out to be (If I hear one more talking head say “This isn’t who we are,” I’m going to plotz. “We are” a nation that in recent years has droned foreign citizens without due process, dropped bombs on multiple nations without declarations of war, and stood by while Assad gassed his own people, while avoiding any substantive effort to avert the 400,000 deaths resulting from the Syrian civil war, many of them non-combatants, women and children. “We” make decisions in the perceived best interests of our nation, and this order may or may not be such a decision. ) as more draconian that it was. The merits and ethics of the order aside, this was a botch, a self-inflicted wound on the Administration’s credibility, completely unnecessary, reckless, and stupid.

I think that about covers it.

Apparently the rushed rollout was largely the work of rising and much despised Trump advisor Steve Bannon, as well as Stephen Miller, Trump’s policy chief.  Well, if the President is the skilled executive he claims to be, he needs to put both of these men on notice that they abused the trust he placed in them, and are on probation. Meanwhile, what was Reince Priebus doing, playing video games? He’s supposed to be the Washington insider advising Trump, and the one who knows how things work. More than any President since Ulysses S. Grant, Donald Trump desperately needs competent advisors to steer him away from tyro mistakes. These guys steered him into one.  We have to hope that Trump and his team learns from such blunders; all new administrations make them, and the effective ones adjust.

This is also a troubling display of reckless and self-destructive leadership by Trump. He knows he is going to be attacked by the news media and Democrats no matter what he does. There are political costs to a President looking like amateur, and each botch of this magnitude undermines trust and his political capital. Breaking precedents, refusing to back down and taking on controversial issues is a high risk approach to being President, and the margin for error is small. A President doing something this foolish is indefensible. A President not knowing that it is foolish, and having no one nearby to explain why it is, is terrifying.

The remaining ethics question involves the ethics of the radical Islam threat and immigration policy, and the Ethics Alarms post on that is still percolating.

Stay tuned.

[An aside on Senator Schumer’s grandstanding statement of opposition: It was shamelessly based in emotion and rationalizations, and a professional embarrassment. Moreover, his line saying that “it will only serve to embolden those around the globe who will do us harm,” a common argument used to silence anyone who dares to treat Islam like any other religion (as in being subject to criticism, satire and mockery), makes the case of the order’s proponents. “Don’t treat them like they are dangerous, or they’ll kill us” is not a persuasive argument to anyone with a spine, Senator.]

_________________________

Sources: New York Times 1, 2

39 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

39 responses to “The Easy Ethics Verdict On Trump’s Middle East Immigration Suspension

  1. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Chuck’s the second Jew in the joke about the two Jews facing the mustache-twirling SS officer, gun in hand. The first says “you may kill us, but you won’t kill what we stand for, and one day the world will unite against you!” The second one says “SHHHHHHHH!! You wanna make him MAD?”

    • Actually, this is pretty accurate. I had never heard that joke. It’s better than the one I heard for the first time on “Modern Family”:

      A guy goes to his shrink, and says, “I have this intermittent delusion that I’m a teepee, a wigwam,’ and the shrink says, “AH! That’s your problem: you’re two tents (“too tense”)!

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Oh, that one’s old, old, old. Somehow after I was in high school Holocaust jokes were absolutely banned. But, if you want, I can tell you the most evil joke of all.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        I think that same guy drank way too much tea before he went to bed one night, in the morning they found him lying dead in his tepee (tea pee).

      • Schmendrick

        A man is committed to a psychiatric hospital, suffering from the delusion that he is a piece of chicken-feed and will be devoured the instant he sets foot outside. After long and arduous sessions with two therapists, three philosophers, a linguist, and a priest, the man is finally convinced he isn’t, in fact, a piece of chicken feed. There is a round of mutual congratulations as the man boldly strides out the door of the asylum…only to sprint back inside, trembling from head to toe as soon as he sees a hen clucking merrily away in a nearby field. The wise experts all cluster around him, demanding to know what has gotten into him. After all, doesn’t he know that he isn’t a piece of chicken feed? The man stares back at them with terror in his eyes: “Yes, *I* know this is true. But none of you thought to check what the chicken thinks!”

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    “Breaking precedents, refusing to back down and taking on controversial issues is a high risk approach to being President, and the margin for error is small. A President doing something this foolish is indefensible. A President not knowing that it is foolish, and having no one nearby to explain why it is, is terrifying.”

    You mean like Obama, who listened to no one except Valerie Jarrett?

    • Why yes, since you mention it. But, see, it was safer for him, since he knew the media would cover for him. Thus just incompetent, but not quite as stupid.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Bingo. But I refuse to look the other way on Democrats getting all indignant and worked up when they looked the other way on the same crap and worse from the Pumpsie Green/David Dinkins of the presidency.

        • Andrew Wakeling

          You can of course look wherever you like, but you are surely heading towards unethical rationalisation 2 which has something to do with Sicilians and isn’t allowed. Personally I think that is a shame because I could really look forward to a comparative study (“who is the worst?”) of the ethical flaws of Trump, Obama and Hilary Clinton…… We haven’t got much data on President Trump yet, and we should wait awhile, but I think he is heading for a big win.

  3. fattymoon

    Just finished reading this speculative analysis which I think readers here will find of interest,

    Trial Balloon for a Coup?
    View story at Medium.com

    • Coups, especially coups of essentially sound, ethical and effective governments going through a rough patch, are unethical. Also nuts. I’d say that its First Amendment speech that is also unethical as hell.

    • As a financial guy, I can’t let this stand:

      “Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions. The reason this is so interesting is that the dossier said this in July, and the sale didn’t happen until early December. And 19.5% sounds an awful lot like “19% plus a brokerage commission.”

      Half a point on a 19 point sale is a brokerage rate of 2.65%. That’s insane. No one who knows a thing about brokerage fees would ever even suggest it. Brokerage fees are about a tenth of a percent on transactions less than $50,000 and then only go down as a fraction from there. To put THAT into context Rosneft is worth about 60 billion dollars, 19% of it is 11.4 billion dollars, and that half percent? A paltry 300 million. Let me be clear: No one in the history of ever has paid more than two hundred and sixty five times the going rate of transaction fees on any eleven figure transaction.

      Bias makes you stupid.

    • “I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.”

      However, is right on the money, and I’ve been saying it for months.

  4. Spartan

    Rumor has it that Reince Preibus is going to resign.

  5. This is symptomatic of America right now: I can’t remember the last time someone did anything, even something I don’t much care for, in the right way.

    Is a temporary halt on immigration, or even tourism, from that corner of the world defensible? Oh yes. Hell, some of the Muslim Majority neighbours of these countries have imposed travel bans on these some of these nations. Pretending that this is purely anti-Muslim bigotry just isn’t supported by the facts, and it’s on of the Lies The Left Tells Itself. And if at the end of the three months, America has figured out a better way to vet immigrants and refugees, we’ll be better for it.

    But is THIS order defensible? No. Despite me so very much wanting it to be, surprise isolating America while citizens and people with green cards are out of the country and then refusing to let those people in is absolute, utter bullshit. It’s unconstitutional on its face, and so offensive to American sensibilities as to be rendered ineffective by design.

    Couple points on this:

    First off, I took a couple of days off and went for a final skidoo through the bush, so I didn’t hear about this until I came back, and then I went from supporting the idea of a freeze, to opposition of the order, to support of the order, back to opposition of the order as I read from more sources and dug in. Why? Because the media has collectively soiled itself over this. No one is giving unbiased facts here, and entire politics sections are reading like the kind of screed you’d expect from letters to the editor. I suppose I shouldn’t be horribly surprised by that, Why. The. Hell. Am I still finding better journalism out of blogs than I am out of actual multi-billion dollar news companies?

    Second: It’s not a “Muslim Ban”, and I will continue to mercilessly mock people who want to pretend it is. This is another lie The Left Tells Itself. Putting a three month waiting period on immigration from seven cesspools of terrorism while the Administration attempts to figure out better ways of vetting those immigrants is not a ban on Muslims. There are something like 40 other Muslim majority nations not effected by the freeze, and the freeze is temporary. I asked some left leaning people on Twitter (paraphrasing) : “If having a fixed period of time where immigrants from seven nations is a “Muslim Ban”, is the two week period between when you request to buy a gun and when you actually take ownership of it a “Gun Ban”?” I’m still waiting for a good answer. I’ll not hold my breath. I like me.

    • Chris

      “If having a fixed period of time where immigrants from seven nations is a “Muslim Ban”, is the two week period between when you request to buy a gun and when you actually take ownership of it a “Gun Ban”?”

      I answered this already, and it’s a stupid question. A ban is not a waiting period. There is already a waiting period for immigrants, as they are being vetted, just like there is a waiting period for guns.

      “We will not sell this gun to you until you have been checked out” is not “We will not sell this gun to anyone of your national origin for three months.”

      • Right: a ban is not a waiting period, and logically: a waiting period is not a ban. An honest characterisation of this, if you insist on the word ‘ban’ might be “A temporary travel ban” but progressives aren’t honest enough to say that.

        This is a term in a series of terms designed to purposefully mislead by either tugging on heartstrings or rubbing raw nerves (I was accused of ‘mansplaining’ (TYSRL) last week, she regretted it.). Neither word in “Muslim Ban” is actually accurate. It doesn’t target only Muslims, not all Muslims are effected by it, Muslims in America are not being forced to leave, and absent the descriptor “temporary”, no ban in the history of ever has had a planned obsolescence date.

      • Chris Marschner

        What’s the old adage a terrorist only has to be successful once but Trump has to be perfect 100 0/0 of the time.

        Could have been handled better – yes. Is it time for cooler heads to prevail – yes. I remember GW Bush being ridiculed after 9-11 for his not doing more to prevent terrorism that occured less than 9 months after being inaugurated. If he had banned Saudis or other Middle eastern nationals from taking lessons on multi-engine jets would that passed muster – probably not.

        You cannot predict the future so if the ethical course is not to pause immigration from suspect nations to review existing protocols for vetting then we must be prepared to accept some losses without grievance.

  6. Wayne

    Thump didn’t ban Muslim immigration: He halted it temporary from seven Muslim countries that are states that continually sponsor terrorism. Granted the EO was handled poorly and it pissed off a lot of Muslims who had already bought airline tickets from those countries. Mattis, as great a general as he is, may not have access to current intelligence information about terrorist plans. Schumer, with his phony tears has made a laughing stock of himself.

  7. I should have mentioned that rudimentary draft review should have flagged that mentioning 9-11 while ignoring Saudi Arabia in the order was begging for criticism. Talk about walking into a haymaker. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  8. Wayne

    I’m thinking about composing a song for a musical with an Iranian terrorist singing “Don’t cry for me Chuckie Schumer”.

  9. Rick M.

    Guilt by association as the innocent fall victim to the excesses of those that utilize terrorism. Is it fair? Of course not. Is it understandable? Of course, it is. The nations on the recent list of what is supposedly a temporary ban have an illustrious track record of sponsoring and participating in terrorism. That has a price and Trump has exercised that price. A blanket condemnation for all who are primarily seeking a better opportunity. The plan was typical of the current administration – a rush job.

  10. Chris Marschner

    What’s the old adage a terrorist only has to be successful once but Trump has to be perfect 100 0/0 of the time.

    Could have been handled better – yes. Is it time for cooler heads to prevail – yes. I remember GW Bush being ridiculed after 9-11 for his not doing more to prevent terrorism that occured less than 9 months after being inaugurated. If he had banned Saudis or other Middle eastern nationals from taking lessons on multi-engine jets would that passed muster – probably not.

    You cannot predict the future so if the ethical course is not to pause immigration from suspect nations to review existing protocols for vetting then we must be prepared to accept some losses without grievance.

  11. I think your analysis is spot-on. fI figured that the Trump Administration rushed to get something out but did not think through the relative implementations of the policy. I am not sure that the Administration realized that ICE officials at the various border crossings (airports and other points of entry) would not have a clear set of rules. That led to confusing and inarticulate implementations of the Executive Order, which in turn led to chaos. Couple that with the main stream media’s interests in delegitimizing the administration, and the Alt-Left’s hatred of anything the guy does, and you have a perfect storm of political gold. The media (even Fox News) treated it as a “Muslim Ban”. Republican members of Congress have used the same language, showing how powerfully the Alt-Left controls the language of the debate.

    A thought did cross my mind, though: how were the protests so quick and so huge, disrupting airports all over the country? Innocent travelers have missed flights. The protesters have caused confusion and delay.

    jvb

  12. Rick M.

    The administration does a cluster you know what with poor planning, timing and execution so now what? Do they learn anything? Does Trump assume some level of responsibility? Do they collectively turtle? Do they actually treat it as a learning experience to hone policy in the future?

    • I don’t think that Trump would have the ability to admit they botched it. That is going to be interesting to watch. Will he grouse about the courts’ orders enjoining the Executive Order? Will he complain that unelected federal judges are meddling in purely political matters? Will he declare that he will win in the end?

      jvb

  13. Greg

    If I understand correctly, this is what has happened so far:

    According to the administration, the original plan was that green card holders would require waivers for reentry, but that waivers would be freely granted. Green card holders would be pulled out of line and subjected to questioning and enhanced vetting, but if no problems appeared, they would be waived in after a few hours’ delay. If problems did appear, they would be further detained. In fact, during the two days that the waiver policy was in effect, the large majority of green card holders were waived in. Only a small number were further detained.

    Under the new policy, no waiver is required. Instead, green card holders will be pulled out of line and subjected to questioning and enhanced vetting, but if no problems appear, they will be admitted (no waiver required) after a few hours’ delay. If problems do appear, they will be further detained. Under the new policy, the large majority of green card holders are being admitted. Only a small number are being further detained.

    The first policy was an outrageous violation of human rights. Most people seem to think the new policy is OK, and the activists who forced the change are congratulating themselves.

  14. fattymoon

    I follow Storm Clouds Gathering because they provide a useful, and often telling backstory to current events. Here’s the latest, released today.

    Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ – What You aren’t Being Told
    http://stormcloudsgathering.com/trump-muslim-ban

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s