Monday, November 16, 2015

Fool Me Once

Speaking of the helix of evil and stupid, ignorant bigots are playing right into the hands of terrorists again.

Today, I read a great article in the Washington Post headlined, "The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees." This is not a working theory about their motives: It is their explicitly expressed aim. After the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last January, ISIS said their aim was to make Muslims unwelcome in the West so they would be forced to return to the Middle East. They cannot stand the fact that many modern, moderate Muslims prefer to live in the secular West rather than in fundamentalist theocracies.

Alas, conservatives have been all too happy to oblige. Prior to this Friday's wave of terror strikes in Paris, they insisted that the U.S. should only accept Christian refugees from war-torn Syria, where ISIS is trying to establish their so-called caliphate. After the attacks, a growing number of Republican governors claimed that they would refuse to accept Muslim refugees in their states. Never mind that they have no authority to do so: Immigration is a federal issue and always has been, so they cannot possibly keep their intolerant promises. But that has not yet stopped or slowed their bandwagon of bigotry.

Fortunately, President Obama has called out this rhetoric as fundamentally un-American:
When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution—that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
Conservatives' intolerance is obvious. I want to focus on their stupidity. As I said above, the terrorists are playing them like a fiddle as they had done before. The only difference is this time the fiddler is a ISIS instead of Al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden's avowed goal was to provoke holy war between Muslims and the West. The attacks of 9-11 were intended to spark that conflagration and they succeed in getting the U.S. to invade two Muslim countries. The second one was a bonus for bin Laden. And then, as now, the motive was no secret. If conservatives need a Nazi analogy to understand anything anymore, perhaps they should think of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. In each instance, the villains announced their intentions in advance.

There is an inaccurate but relevant Bushism that ironically sums up conservative impulses in such instances. Let me refresh your memory with a little audio, if you have already forgotten.

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