Friday, November 20, 2015

Unhelpful Rhetoric

President Obama has been strongly criticized, even by members of his own party, for his rhetorical lassitude in the wake of the Paris atrocity and for his refusal to see anything in the reluctance of many Americans to admit tens of thousands of Syrians into the country except unalloyed bigotry.

He recently couched a petulant response to his critics in the form of his favorite rhetorical device, the straw man, accusing opponents of his refugee policy of being frightened of "widows and orphans." This is an astonishingly silly characterization from the man who is supposed to be president of all Americans. Instead of explaining in a dignified manner befitting a world leader how his administration is making sure that no terrorists and terrorist sympathizers are sneaking in among the genuine refugees, he resorts to ridicule, a tactic more befitting a community agitator.

Mr. Obama insists that the refugees are being properly vetted, but until he explains exactly what that vetting process consists of it's hard to believe him. For most refugees there is no database, no records, against which to vet them. The vetting process consists essentially of asking them if they are who they say they are.

Over 70% of the refugees flooding Europe are young men of military age with no families. Many putative Syrian refugees are not Syrians at all but men from other nations carrying fake passports, and some Syrians are trying to sneak into the country illegally with fake Greek passports.

President Obama and others have chastised those who are calling for a cautious approach to letting in tens of thousands of people, some of whom may be murderous monsters, by declaring that such would be a denial of American values and that calls for caution only make it easier for ISIS to recruit. Both of these assertions are nonsense. There was no legal immigration into this country from 1924 to 1965. Moreover, according to current law, Cuban migrants seeking to come to the U.S. but intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba.

It might also be added that the attempt by some to compare the current refugee situation to that of Jews fleeing Nazi Europe in 1939 aboard the SS St. Louis, only to be turned away at American ports, is a red herring. Turning away a boatload of over 900 refugees from the Nazis was unconscionable, but the situation today is not analogous. There was no danger in 1939 that any of the Jews on board the St. Louis were plotting to commit mass murder of Americans, but ISIS boasts that they've heavily infiltrated the refugees and our FBI and Homeland Security leaders tell us there's no reason to doubt them.

Finally, if Mr. Obama really thinks that a cautious approach to the refugee problem gives ISIS a powerful recruiting tool then the president needs to get more rest. ISIS has successfully recruited young men and women because it offers them the promise of being in on the ground floor of the final victory of the forces of Allah over the hated infidels and Jews, not because of American immigration policies which are, it should be noted, far more liberal than those of any middle eastern Muslim country.