Sunday, November 22, 2015

228.4 - Outrage of the Week: using the Paris attacks to close the door to Syrian refugees

Outrage of the Week: using the Paris attacks to close the door to Syrian refugees

Now for one of our regular features. This is the Outrage of the Week.

I mentioned a few minutes ago the weaponization of grief. Closely related to that, of course, is the weaponization of fear. And we are seeing that in full bloom as well over half the nation's governors - 31 as of the time I'm preparing this, the night of November 17 - have called on the federal government to stop admitting Syrian refugees. Most of those governors, all but one of them GOppers, have promised to do everything in their power to prevent such refugees from being settled in their particular state.

While most of the states involved are from the traditionally so-called red states of the south and the plains, they do include even some blue states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey.

This is driven, it shouldn't be necessary to say, by plain old-fashioned bigoted xenophobia with a side order of specifically Islamophobia.

None of this anti-immigrant frothing arose now, of course, immigrants, even legal ones, have been a favorite punching bag of the right and the nativists for decade upon decade. But now there is a new claim, a new way to dog-whistle your rejection of immigrants, documented or otherwise, without admitting that's what you are doing:

Example of anti-immigrant cartoon
Every one of these governors cited the terrorist attacks in Paris. Every one of them warned darkly of terrorists sliding in among the immigrants to bring desolation to our shores. The argument for this is based essentially entirely on a Syrian passport found on or near one of the suicide bombers.

That passport was traced back to a crossing into Greece and proved to be either a copy or a forgery when police in Serbia arrested a man with a passport identical to the other in every way except for the photo.

So it certainly appears that the passport was a fake, which is not surprising considering the active trade in fake passports and other documents among people trying to get out of Syria. But this one, it appears on available evidence, was used by someone somehow connected to ISIS to get into France.

So why is the argument of the governors still such bullshit?

For one thing, the passport itself is a red flag. The migration correspondent for The Guardian said that "analysts find it strange that a bomber would remember to bring his passport on a mission, particularly one who does not intend to return alive." More pointedly, Charlie Winter, an analyst focusing on Islamist extremism, tweeted
Why would a jihadist who expressly rejects all notions of modern citizenship take his passport on a suicide mission? So it gets found.
Which makes real sense in the context of an observation by Iyad El-Baghdadi, an activist who keeps and reviews a private Twitter list of around 200-300 Jihadist accounts. He tweeted that:
You know what pissed off Islamist extremists the most about Europe? It was watching their very humane, moral response to the refugee crisis.
That is, the passport was used and brought to the scene of the attacks specifically so it would be found for the precise purpose of provoking exactly the reaction that our jackass governors have had: paranoia and suspicion about all Syrian refugees with the intent of driving a wedge between them and the West, to convince those trying to flee that there is nowhere to go, that the West will never accept them, that they have nowhere to go except the imaginary caliphate.

The heinous attacks in Paris had nothing to do with Syrian refugees. Not a damn thing.

The suspected "mastermind" behind the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is a French citizen. At least five of the eight suspected militants are French or Belgian nationals. Even French president Francois Hollande said the attacks had been "planned in Syria, organized in Belgium, perpetrated on our soil with French complicity."

As for the US resettlement program the governors are demanding be stopped, the Obama administration plans to admit just 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year as compared to the hundreds of thousands coming into Europe. What's more, those 10,000 will have to get through security screenings that typically take 18 to 24 months. And the resettlement program, which has been going on for about 40 years and has resettled more than 3 million people here, has never seen one of them commit a terrorist act.

These - I can't think of what to call them that is fit for air - these scumbags, these foul, ugly, venomous, toads occupying and defiling the governors' mansions of the nation, panderers to the bigotry of nativism, more interested in a self-serving soundbyte than in what is good in our nation's heritage, ready to throw the huddled masses yearning to breathe free back into the maelstrom of desperation and war rather than offend some right-wing donor, ready to feed our fears and muzzle our morality, they are contemptible. They are despicable. They are an outrage.

Sources cited in links:

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