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To Close the Borders or Not
To Close the Borders or Not
By Roger Lippman
The liberal and conservative cases
Never before have people of good faith been so split on what to do about the immigrants pouring out of Syria and other war torn nations. What is to be done? Are we so inhuman as to want to close our boarders or is it a case of protecting the very citizens who would let them enter? So let us examine the two sides:
Liberal: For God’s sake, this is America! We are the land of the free and home of the brave and Americans do not do that! Ok, we did it to the Jews trying to come here from Nazi Germany and sent them back to be slaughtered; we did it to the Japanese Americans here when the Empire of Japan attacked us; However we learned our lesson and are better then that.
Note: Our president has let Muslim fundamentalists leave Guantanamo; has refused to condemn those allies of ours who are responsible for instigating this mess and is joined by the Democratic candidates in reminding us that we have the best intelligence agencies in the world and can catch anyone planning an attack so we do not need to be afraid to take in more refugees from that area. It is the right thing to do.
Besides we can vet then and make sure they are all good people when they enter the U.S.
Conservative view: Hold on there for a minute. The Jews were denied entry into America from Germany not really because we were worried about them being Nazis coming here to sabotage our factories, etc. but really only because they were Jewish. Unsaid is the fact that our State department at the time was Anti Semitic and the instigator in it. That is not the same as allowing thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria to enter the U.S. as we shall see in a minute.
As for the Japanese Americans, that was really a mistake as there are no known cases of any of them turning on us and in fact the opposite is true when you consider that many of their boys served in the U.S. armed forces with distinction.
As for us having the best intelligence agency in the world and being able to catch terrorists before they carry out their plans, that is only partially true. We are better for example then Belgium where there are 19 separate police agencies in that small country and no coordination between them. Small budget, small force. In fact most of Europe is suffering from denial that this could happen as the hoards of refugees poured in to the continent with its open boarders and welcome sign. There was a total lack of sharing of vital information and with homegrown terrorists mixed in with recent immigrants, plus areas filled with residents harboring resentment for the west, it was an open invitation for disaster. Intelligent agencies let terrorists slip through their boarders, did not spot some who were known trouble makers and them lost them. In fact when the bombings went off in Paris, the first police units that arrived on the scene, did not even carry guns.
As for the vaulted intelligence agencies here, lest us not forget 9-11 and all the missed opportunities to catch the world trade center terrorists before the fact. There were many missed opportunities. When it was all over, no one was dismissed or demoted and those who were at fault on higher levels were promoted.
Is it lack of training, complacency or just down right incompetence when Air force officers responsible for manning our missile silos are caught in criminal acts; when our secret service protecting our leaders are with prostitutes or getting drunk or letting people break into the White House grounds, what does that tell you?
We are getting better but TSA at airports misses 40 percent of items that were smuggled through on test cases. Just a few days ago we bragged about catching a Jet Blue stewardess who had taken off with a suitcase packed with over $ 1 Million in cocaine and was caught at a random check of baggage upon landing. However the fact was she left the suitcase, took her shoes off and left that too and escaped by running through the airport and later traveled by another plane to Miami – not having been caught even though by then law enforcement knew her name. She surrendered herself to the police—she was not caught by law enforcement.
Therefore the record of TSA is spotty at best and no guarantee they will catch a terrorist with something in his or her baggage. Consider what they have tried so far: a shoe bomb, a bomb hidden in a printer. This is the wave of the future. More and more ways to smuggle bombs on board planes.
Now the biggest part of the negative argument: Before the destruction of Syria, when someone sought entry, we could vet them with records that existed such as birth certificates, education, criminal background and any other public record. So we did take a lot of refuges but that was only after the vetting process.
Now that is impossible. The records no longer exist; the buildings that housed documents are gone as well as people who maintained them. There is no way to vet these refugees. ISIS is even able to make up fake passports and documents in some cases. With internet access and theft of key information, they can come up with a fake identity, credit cards, drivers license and anything else.
I freely admit the vast majority are probably good people who want to escape but two factors remain: Syria is an enemy of Israel and the U.S. People there have been educated to hate us; Israel has closed its boarders with Syria because of this. For us to pretend the people love us and want to come here for a better life is not realistic. Some may but not all. We simply cannot pretend we will catch anyone who comes here to do us harm or is easy prey to the propaganda of ISIS and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia and does not turn on us. Remember: the Army Major who did it; the Boston Terrorists who did it and many others who tried.
There was a time long ago, when European immigrants flooded here because of lack of work, lack of freedom or desire for better way of life. They assimilated because they wanted to be us. They achieved that and today are us. However now many Muslims come here waiting to bring with them their customs and traditions and to make us into them. They resent us for getting ahead; they resent us for not worshipping as they do; for our free values, open society, liberal values and dress code and are eager to change us. These are the ones ripe for ISIS and Wahhabis propaganda.
So, are we to continue to try convincing radical Muslims we are Mr. Nice Guy and let them get the upper hand or do we take a stand and say this is 2016 and the world is different? I do not want Big Brother down our throats but we want to have a throat so we must do a better job: we must eliminate more fundamentalist propaganda on the internet and also get access to their E mails; we must stop being Mr. Nice Guy with those allies who are instigating this. We all know who they are; We have to control our boarders now until we can properly vet the Muslims who come from areas promoting terrorism. Also we need to protect our assets better. Our infrastructure is vulnerable to terrorists, cyber criminals and those who want to destroy us.
We know our enemies. We just are afraid to admit who they are for fear it makes us look bad. That is crazy and achieves nothing. Brussels will be repeated and we need good people to try to protect us. Name calling does not do it; putting our head in the sand does not do it; trying to win the hearts of our enemies by saying we are better then them is criminal when we know our enemies never respected weakness and never will. All this applies not only to us in the United States but to our allies in Europe. They must do a better job.
What have we learned so far after recent events in Europe and Syria? Turkey fights ISIS plus the Kurds whom we support; Russia fights ISIS plus everyone we support; Assad fights whom ever he wants; The CIA and Pentagon supplied fighters are fighting each other plus ISIS. What a quagmire! Oh forgot, Iran and Lebanon are providing support for Assad. Didn’t we just give Iran Millions of Dollars? Hmmmm.
In Europe we know the attacks have each taken from 2 to 8 players; there are either 400 or 4,000 terrorists (depending on which count you believe) who have traveled back to Europe after fighting in Syria; We also know the one terrorist who escaped from France was caught after four months of hiding 100 meters from his birthplace in Brussels. He was among supporters. The authorities in Belgium were unable to find him in 120 days.
We also know that ISIS is trying to secure material to make dirty bombs and we discovered they had information on one nuclear scientist in Belgium. We also know there are areas in Europe where ISIS is supported by the Muslim community and as we have seen the ability of government to get a handle on the radicals is less then stellar. More attacks are being planned.
Meanwhile Mr. Cook, CEO of Apple, would have us believe he is protecting the rights of all of us and our basic freedom by resisting efforts to help intelligent agencies open up encrypted phones of terrorists. However I wonder Mr. Cook, after dirty bombs are set off here in the U.S., what will be left of our democracy and freedom if it is blown up because you did not believe it of value to protect it before being destroyed not by us but by evil people with an addenda to rule the world?