Syrian Refugees and Security

The president made another one of his inane, easy-to-ignore speeches a couple of days after the massacre in Paris. This man never misses a chance. He demonstrated again his preference for dogma over reality. He also accused Republicans who oppose the resettlement of Syrian refugees of being afraid of “three year olds.” This helped me in coming out of my indecision in connection with this issue. I take it seriously.

The House passed a resolution today making it difficult to bring Syrians or Iraqis to the US. Mark my word, this is not the last we hear of this issue. Many Syrians, some Iraqis, actually need a humane place to live away from barrel bombs and chemical warfare. Also, I believe that we cannot allow terrorism to turn us, as a people, into someone else. We are a compassionate people which, by and large, have given haven to refugees from everywhere. (Notwithstanding a shameful loss of nerve in the 1930s with respect to Jewish refugees from Germany.) We can’t let a small bunch of flea-ridden savages in the Middle East change this. That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, I listen carefully when the highest security officials in the land tell us that they cannot (NOT) vet every refugee. Do I think that some ISIS terrorists might mingle with refugees with massacre on their minds. No, I don’t think they might; I am sure they will. Why wouldn’t they?

However, the president reminded us that all refugees do not present equal potential danger. It’s true that three-year olds are never terrorists on their own. So, I would take in three-year old refugees and their mothers, of course. And based on the same probabilistic principle, I would let in children up to seven or even eight years of age and their mothers. After that age, all bets are off, I think, because of numerous videos about child soldiers, some of whom are not even nine. But I would take in an unlimited numbers of small children and their mothers. They would constitute an economic burden but I believe we can live with it. I would also let in all Christians and all Yazidis (pagans) of both sexes and of all ages because their collective suffering at the hands of ISIS make them a zero % risk for terrorism in the US. It’s not religious discrimination, it’s risk preference. Everyone does it all the time. That’s what I do when I ride in my pickup truck but never on a motorcycle, fly on commercial airliners but not on light planes piloted by a doctor.

Yes, you read me right. I would admit zero, no men of military age. Two reasons, one not mentioned by any media, to my knowledge. The first, obvious reason, is that terrorists mingling with Syrian refugees would almost certainly be youngish men. Although old men are a possibility, it has not happened yet, I believe. (Correct me if I am wrong.) Women can easily be terrorists too, of course, but it has not happened much with that particular breed of terrorists before it happened in Paris recently. I suspect the Islamist terrorists contempt for women is such that they don’t want them to deserve Paradise by committing jihadist crimes. Of course, the fact that nearly all the Syrian refugee women I see on television wear the hijab (head veil) does not help erase my suspicions. I am trying like hell to be compassionate against my common sense. I am trying to remember that nearly all of those refugees are unfortunates. I am keeping in mind that nearly all of them would have liked to emigrate to the US even before any civil war in Syria. (I will probably talk about the meaning of the hijab in another installment.)

The second good reason to exclude from American territory male Syrian passport carriers of military age is that they are of military age, precisely. At a time when there is more and more talk of French and, even of American boots on the ground, I would like to hear the sound of more Syrian boots on the ground. They should be fighting to reconquer their country from both ISIS savages and the butcher Assad. Incoming Syrian males under fifty-five should be given the choice of enrolling in a Western-backed Syrian Freedom Legion, or to stay in whatever slummy refugee camps where they are indefinitely with no option of settling in America. I would gladly pay for the costs involved forever in preference to risking the lives of American children in America.

Maybe it’s just me but I would be very receptive to requests for military training, for military aid, and for arms coming from such a Legion. The past reluctance of the Obama administration in this respect would be criminal if it were not primarily stupid. I would easily volunteer $1,000 to this good cause. I estimate that it would all amount to 750 000 000 000 for the country at large (750 billion dollars). It should be enough to equip and army of 500,000, it seems to me. We have spent much more in the past with much less of a a justification.

My Muslim friends – a dwindling number these days because many can’t face the harsh truth – and my friends with Muslim names who may or may not be real Muslims urge me to remember that Europeans and Americans, or Christians (think Nigeria) are not the only ones to die at the hand of violent jihadists. I am glad to repeat what I say often: Violent jihadists everywhere have slaughtered many more Muslims that they have killed of any other category of  people. And, as I have said on FB recently, there is nothing special about the massacres in Paris. (More Russian tourists died only a week or so before.) I am glad though that the atrocities taking place in much beloved Paris broke the complacency of many in the West (but not of President Obama). And, as I have pointed out before ISIS revealed itself superbly in this case by attacking specifically places where people were having fun and where many of those people were bound to have Muslim names (“apostates”).

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31 thoughts on “Syrian Refugees and Security

  1. “…It’s not religious discrimination, it’s risk preference. Everyone does it all the time. That’s what I do when I ride in my pickup truck but never on a motorcycle, fly on commercial airliners but not on light planes piloted by a doctor.”

    I agree 100% Proper risk management needs to be based on good information. Riding in a pickup truck to have unprotected sex with a heroin addicted hooker with needle tracks on her arms isn’t good risk management. A relevant repost.

    “For anyone interested in a reality-based look at terrorism…..

    http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/

    The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world from 1970 through 2014 (with annual updates planned for the future). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on domestic as well as international terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period and now includes more than 140,000 cases.”

    • The GTD is an old canard with a demonstration that rests entirely on the period of observation chosen. If the observation were extended back to 1860, you find find that the % of lslamist acts of terrors approximates zero. Terry would have us believe that we have as much to fear from Lutherans as from Muslims, or that the mass murderers in Paris, who deliberately assassinated nightclub goers Friday 13th were probably disgruntled Baptists, or might just well as been. This is silly; this is irrelevant. It’s waste of time.

      • LOL

        Data is a waste of time, folks. Nothing to see here: Just listen to my stirring appeal to your emotions instead.

        My personal favorite is Jacques’ insistence that we not only arm and support financially a non-existent Syrian faction (the anti-Assad and anti-Islamist one), but help them “reconquer” Syria as well.

        Conservatives are stupid. THERE! I said it, plainly and bluntly (but truthfully). I only give them a voice here at NOL so that we can have an intellectual punching bag to help us practice for real world problems. (Jacques isn’t a conservative and he’s not stupid; he’s just dishonest.)

    • “Data is a waste of time, folks. Nothing to see here: Just listen to my stirring appeal to your emotions instead.”

      Professor Pinocchio doesn’t think that data is a waste of time, it’s just accurate data he object to. He’s quite willing to make shit up out of whole cloth if he doesn’t have some junk from Fox News to parrot.

      “Terry would have us believe that we have as much to fear from Lutherans as from Muslims”

      This is exactly why Professor Pinocchio objects to real data; he desperately wants to believe that people in the US are more likely to be killed by Muslims than Christians. It’s not true but Professor Pinocchio has earned his name over and over again.

      @Brandon

      “My personal favorite is Jacques’ insistence that we not only arm and support financially a non-existent Syrian faction (the anti-Assad and anti-Islamist one), but help them “reconquer” Syria as well.”

      It’s not non-existent, it’s just small. Wasn’t the congressional testimony that there were 4 or 5? Now if you consider the Kurds there are more but certainly not enough to defeat the rest of Syria…not to mention the difficulties with the Turks

      • Now if you consider the Kurds there are more but certainly not enough to defeat the rest of Syria…not to mention the difficulties with the Turks

        Sure, and I would be okay with pursuing a policy at the international level that carves up these post-Ottoman states by entertaining calls for sovereignty and trying to find ways to integrate any such states into regional and global organizations. But Jacques was talking specifically about reconquest, which to me just demonstrates how silly his worldview has actually become: dogmatic, extreme, dishonest, and predictable. That’s what happens when you align yourself with a political party (and its leaders), though, so Professor Pinocchio has no one to blame but himself.

  2. Dear readers of Notes: Brandon reproduced this piece from my own blog: factsmatter.wordpress.com as anyone is invited to do of my blog postings in general. I am sure he did it for his own reasons, perhaps in spite of or perhaps because of what he calls my “dishonesty.” My point is that I did not seek to publish this piece in Notes, a reasonably good blog that I often find too dogmatic, and too predictable for my taste.

    I read NOL frequently nevertheless and I must have missed the libertarian proposals about what to do now, if any thing, about ISIS mass murders, enslavements, etc.. That’s by contrast with crying over spilled milk which is legitimate but does not help right away.

  3. Jacques,

    On the one hand, you say:

    “I would also let in all Christians and all Yazidis (pagans) of both sexes and of all ages because their collective suffering at the hands of ISIS make them a zero % risk for terrorism in the US.”

    But on the other you say:

    “Yes, you read me right. I would admit zero, no men of military age.”

    That just sounds self-contradictory to me. You will admit any Christian or Yazidi male of military age, but no men of military age.

    If in the latter case, you meant to say “no Muslim men of military age,” how would you deal with the Muslims who pose as Christians or Yazidis? After all, your basic worry is that terrorists can infiltrate the non-terrorist refugee population. But by the same logic, Muslims can also infilitrate the non-Muslim population. If the vetting procedure is unreliable in the one case, why is it reliable in the other?

    In consistency, you either have to shut out all military aged males or none. Once you make an exception for non-Muslim males, you just create an incentive for Muslim terrorists to impersonate them. But there are also more female jihadists than you’re acknowledging, and more potential for them if you lock out the men. So you’ll need to lock out more women than you realize.

    Once you travel far enough down this road, however, you’ll realize that you’re simply re-instantiating what you called the “shameful loss of nerve” re Jews in the 1930s. There were probably as many communists, fascists, and terrorists within the Eastern European Jewish population as there are jihadis within the Syrian (or rather, the Syrian-Afghan-Pakistani population). So that’s another consistency test you’re failing. Either you need to go back in history and ratify our locking out the Jews in the 1930s, or, if you regard that failure as shameful, to avoid a repeat of it, you should be in favor of letting the current crop of refugees in. But the cases are parallel. There was no shortage of terrorists among Jewish refugees. Who else created the State of Israel? There is, in Jerusalem, a little museum just off of Jaffa Street that not only valorizes those terrorists, but valorizes the suicide bombers among them. (It’s a little known fact that the early Zionists had their suicide bombers.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Underground_Prisoners

    I’ll blog this at some point at Policy of Truth. I spent an enjoyable afternoon there this summer, and got some interesting photos of the place, including photos glorifying the suicide bombers. But the relevant point is, by your standards, those terrorists are should be a good argument for having told the Jews of the 1930s-40s to fend for themselves.

    I’ve been too busy lately to do justice to these issues on my blog, but I have some scattered thoughts here:

    https://irfankhawajaphilosopher.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/help-unwanted/

  4. Irwan:

    Yes, there is a contradiction but it’s small one because there are so few Yazidi males left and few Christians except those who fight for Assad. I would exclude all Muslims men of military age. I think it’s not difficult separating Muslims from Christians. Boko Haram does it all the time. The terrorists in Mali just did it again releasing all hostage who could recite the Sha’ada. I think deep culture, what you absorbed before age ten is hard to imitate. I think there are few female suicide bombers who are not forced into the role.

    The Jews that the US failed to take in before WWII were German Jews. There were probably some communists among them but communists were not practicing terrorism against Americans at the time and had no interest in doing so. I have trouble imagining what a German Jewish fascist would have been.

    You make trenchant rational arguments and then, in the end, you get off the road. Israel was not founded by terrorists. There were Zionist extremists who helped during the war of independence. They were a small number. They were outlawed by the democratically elected before and after independence.

    Why would you do, Irwan, with respect to the Syrian refugees coming to this country? I am listening with an open mind.

    • Jacques writes:

      I think it’s not difficult separating Muslims from Christians. Boko Haram does it all the time.

      This is where Delacroix illustrates quite well just how extreme and dogmatic (and predictable) his so-called position is. If you liken your stance to the actions of an Islamist terrorist organization in Nigeria, how seriously can you continue to be taken?

      (I’ll let others handle Delacroix’s defense of those other, non-Muslim terrorist organizations.)

    • “There were Zionist extremists who helped during the war of independence. They were a small number. They were outlawed by the democratically elected before and after independence.”

      Yup, outlawed so much that a member of the Stern Gang was elected prime minister.

    • I would do exactly what the Obama Administration is doing. Let the Syrian refugees in, vet them, and accept the risks. I more or less said that in one of the links I posted. Here’s the vetting procedure, by the way:

      http://time.com/4116619/syrian-refugees-screening-process/

      I haven’t heard anyone explain what’s wrong with it. Its rigor far exceeds anything applied to student visas or tourist visas.

      As for the “Zionist extremists who helped during the war of independence,” the Irgun and Lehi were by all accounts terrorist organizations. They began a campaign of terror well before the war of independence. Their doing so was instrumental to bringing about the mass exodus of Palestinians from what was to become Israel. The Irgun was led by Menachem Begin, who was later to become Prime Minister of Israel. In other words, Israel was not only founded by terrorists, but the Israelis had no compunction electing the self same terrorists to lead their country in subsequent years (Shamir and Sharon being the other two).

      I don’t know where you get the idea that “the Jews that the US failed to take in before WWII were German Jews.” Why couldn’t they have been, say, Polish or Russian? And where is the difficulty in imagining militantly communist or fascist Polish or Russian Jews?

      “I think it’s not difficult separating Muslims from Christians. Boko Haram does it all the time.”

      Well, if we’re going to use arguments like that, why don’t I just say that it’s not difficult separating terrorists from non-terrorists. The TSA does it all the time. Now, if you’d like to propose that we start hiring members of Boko Haram for positions in the TSA, I’m skeptical, but all ears.

      I should point out that in one of the posts I pasted up there, I was the one pointing out to someone at my blog that there is no eliminating the risks if we allow the Syrian refugees in. The risks are ineliminable. But I live in the New York City area. I go in to Manhattan whenever I get the chance. If there is a terrorist attack, it’s likely to take place right here. It’s not as though I’m merely imposing risks on other people and cowering somewhere else in safety.

  5. Irwan: I followed your link and I admired your elegantly expressed laments but I could not decipher a proposal.

    I hope I do not insult your intelligence by pointing out that those who propose are always criticized and those who don’t, rarely.

    PS The word “elegant” above contains no sarcasm. I admire your writing.

  6. “On the other hand, I listen carefully when the highest security officials in the land tell us that they cannot (NOT) vet every refugee.”

    You’d have to listen not just very carefully, but very hard, in case any “security official” ever says anything like that (hint: None of the Republican presidential candidates are “security officials”). I’ve only heard one actual “security official” talk about that angle. The guy was Bush’s former Homeland Security chief, and he dismissed claims (made by Marco Rubio) that vetting is impossible as complete nonsense with no basis in reality.

  7. “The guy was Bush’s former Homeland Security chief, and he dismissed claims (made by Marco Rubio) that vetting is impossible as complete nonsense with no basis in reality.”

    No surprise there. Most of what Professor Pinocchio spouts is complete nonsense with no basis in reality.

    • As per my usual policy, I decline to take part in any general condemnation of Delacroix. My comment was more by way of provoking him to cite any actual instances of “highest security officials” saying what he claims to be listening carefully to.

      As best I can determine, the “we can’t vet them” stuff consists entirely of campaign rhetoric from grandstanding office-seekers. But I could be wrong, and if I am I want to know.

  8. Thomas: I thought I heard the current director of the FBI say we could not vet refugees.

    Readers: The amount of hostility directed against a single blogger who has not asked to be on Notes on Liberty – me – should amaze or puzzle you.

    Brandon has the option simply to ignore my writing and thus to condemn me to irrelevance in the logosphere, according to his simplistic view of the real world . Why select me against all those many others who are wrong according to Brandon’s narrow dogmatism? The air is so thick with Freudian implications, it’s hard to breathe!

    In the meantime, my small questions about the contradictions of dogmatic libertarianism go unanswered. It’s easier to trash a person than to deal with real issues.

    I am not complaining. I have not taken the simple step of trying to forbid Notes on Liberty from reproducing my writing without paying me a fair wage.

  9. Correction and an announcement:

    1 It was not the Director of the FBI who said the FBI was unable to vet Syrian refugees as I stated in a comment here; it was the Assistant Director. My mistake! (http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/11/flashback-fbi-no-way-to-vet-incoming-syrian-refugees-video/) How anyone missed this FBI statement is hard to understand.

    2 I will no reply to criticisms or to any comments about my writings on this blog. Anyone who wishes to argue with me or to correct my mistakes is welcome to do it on my own blog: factsmatter. wordpress.com where ordinary standards of civility will continue to prevail. Also, any rationalist leaning toward smaller government is welcome to contribute to my blog. I intend to practice no censorship. I have several issues on my mind that should be crucial to libertarians about which I have been unable to engage them meaningfully.

    It’s true that I am finding tiresome the crudeness and the impotent rage of some habitual contributors to Notes on Liberty including it Chief Editor. I have many completely unimportant things to do instead. I would rather watch the “Housewives of Atlanta,” for example, and, being a man of cosmopolitan culture, I wish to follow more faithfully the Mexican soap opera, “Lo que manda el amor.”

      • Haha. He throws this same hissy fit, what, once every six months or so?

        My personal favorite is when he tells people that he is periodically “purged” from the cooperative (by me as a result of my dogmatism), as if his hissy fits are impossible to track down and highlight for others to see (he emailed me a week or two later asking me if I would still be interested in posting his pieces here).

        The truth is that Jacques – like Lenin and Trotsky – cannot stand intense-but-honest (and mostly civil) criticism. The ‘comments’ in this thread are a testament to that. His argument was torn to shreds on here. There is no data to support his claims. The logic of his argument leads to startlingly horrific conclusions. Facts he asserts about the political process turn out to be falsehoods. So, he attacks me by way of claiming to be a victim – just as you’d expect from an authoritarian Leftist.

        The butthurt is real, folks.

        By the way, check out some of the most recent comments left by FM’s readers:

        You paint a beautiful picture with such simple words. It was as if I were there
        watching the event. It’s interesting how women must struggle, especially in your neck of the woods, with their feminine side. I also believe most long for the nearly extinct alpha male who can have the same effect as the crisp breeze off the Pacific you describe.

        LOL and this:

        another good one Jacques…your sharp, biting humor never fails to hit the mark

        This was made after Jacques “suspected” Democrats of thinking to themselves that Ben Carson is an “uppity n***er.” Finally:

        “Black gladiators” indeed! I heard the ones at Missouri had especially extensive criminal backgrounds. I lived among these thugs in my freshman year at Indiana. They tore the to off the grand piano in the lounge, pulled drinking fountains off the walls and assaulted several residents. Full scholarships because it’s money for the school. The school also recently kicked out Planned Parenthood which makes the Left vengeful […]

        Like Lenin and Trotsky, Jacques prefers fawning adulation to rigorous and open dialogue. It’s also why I continue to work with him (despite his constant spitting in my face): these arguments are made (in a less sophisticated manner, of course) in the public sphere by the Right all the time, and libertarians need to grapple with them instead of living in our pathetic-but-efficient little bubble.

    • Professor Pinocchio strikes again. Go to the link and watch & listen to the video. It’s roughly 10 minutes long. Only about the last minute concerns Syrian refugees and none, zero, nada of the officials says that it is impossible to vet refugees. The bulk of the video concerns foreign fighters traveling to and from Syria including American citizens. I’d ask Professor Pinocchio if he actually watched the video but, thankfully, he’s made his Goodbye Cruel World post and won’t deign to reply when called on his lies.

      • What Steinback says in the video is that it’s impossible to have absolute certainty about every incoming refugee. He describes that for the benefit of the committee as not having “it” under control. But that’s an absurd standard, and he seems to have accepted only for the purpose of getting through the hearing. It’s not a standard that is applied, or can be applied, to the borders of any modern state short of shutting the borders down altogether. If we applied this standard to students or tourists, we would have neither students nor tourists–not that I want to give anyone any ideas. Anyway, just as literally open borders are absurd, so are literally closed ones, whether we’re talking about refugees or tourists.

      • “[Absolute certainty is] an absurd standard”

        Very true. And it occurs to me that it’s a standard the “don’t let them in” crowd doesn’t apply when coming at it from the other side.

        Every time a US drone takes out a wedding party or an AC-130 gunship destroys a hospital, oh, but “it was an ACCIDENT!” How about some absolute certainty there?

        In fact, there’s a requirement in international law — I don’t remember the exact citation at the moment, but I have read it — that places responsibility for identifying a target on the attacker. If you don’t KNOW FOR CERTAIN what it is you’re shooting at, the proper course is to NOT SHOOT AT IT. I’m unaware of any standard in either US or international law that requires such certainty that not a single refugee admitted to the United States will ever, ever, ever commit a crime.

  10. Looks like the terrorist in Colorado Springs was intent on attacking the Planned Parenthood Clinic because of his opposition to abortion. We should be hearing calls from Jacques for ‘moderate Christians’ to denounce this violence right? Maybe not, perhaps he’ll change his mind and exclude Christian Syrian refugees along with the Muslims [it’s easy to sort out the Christians, Boko Haram does it masterfully according to Jacques].
    Guess that just leaves the Yazidis.

    “Sometimes the truth is painful to accept for many. It can set you free, if you let it.”
    Lol. Yup.

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