Policy Wonk: Fear, political posturing, bring out the worst in us

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 1

The most recent wanton killing of French (and other) people in Paris has ended. The anxiety in France and the grieving of the French people has not ended, and it won’t end for a long time. Fear and anxiety in other major cities in Europe, and the U.S., have understandably risen, as the realization of their own vulnerability to similar extremist attacks by ISIS groups dawns.

A search for the perpetrators of the Paris massacre, and heightened security in a large number of European and American cities, is certainly appropriate. So too is the closer cooperation of Western nations in large-scale and long-term security efforts to find and root out terrorist individuals and cells.

What is not appropriate or effective in stemming ISIS terrorists or ideology is a “bomb the hell out of them” strategy trumpeted by too many political opportunists in our country. The collateral damage would be huge.

Thousands of innocent men, women, and children would be killed. Our actions, reminiscent of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Dresden, would be no better than, or different from, the actions of the terrorists who killed innocent people in Paris.

Also inappropriate (and ineffective at stamping out ISIS) are hasty efforts at revenge. I understand that French pride and dignity needs to bomb ISIS targets in Syria. But soon a more patient, more concerted effort by the U.S., European and Mideast nations (including Russia, which also has been stung by ISIS terrorism) must be unfolded.

This strategy alone, applied for as long as it takes, can stamp out ISIS.

Finally, it is absurd to see the mindless attacks in Paris as the harbinger of some epic struggle between Muslims and the West. We are not at war with Muslims.

Muslims are a quarter of the world’s population, scattered in dozens of nations. They are as appalled by the attacks in Paris as Western nations. Muslims and Christians together need to root out a small barbaric fringe of the Muslim world in the same way that we in the West have sought to root out the KKK, Mafia, and drug lords in our society.

Equally absurd is the anxiety-driven movement in the U.S. that an ISIS attack would emanate from Syrian refugees, the desperate victims of war. The fear mongers would prevent the resettlement of these refugees in the U.S., although many of these people are old women and children. The fact that a large number of these refugees are Muslim seems to justify these fears.

Further justification is found in an inconclusive report that one of the Paris terrorists was said to have infiltrated a group of refugees fleeing Syria. The fact that this terrorist could as easily have joined refugee groups fleeing from a dozen other Mideast countries is ignored.

Also ignored is the fact the Syrian refugees are as much the innocent victims of ISIS terror as those who were killed in Paris, and the fact that most of the recent Paris terrorists (and those in the January 2015 attacks) were French or Belgian citizens, not Syrians.

But fears and anxieties, fear-mongers and political opportunists are not bound by logic or facts. They readily conflate a barbaric fringe group, who claim Muslim roots, with all Muslims. Because this fringe group (ISIS) has seized land in Syria, the fear-mongers demonize all Syrians, including those fleeing ISIS atrocities in Syria.

That this string of fears, anxieties, and ignored facts has captured the minds of many Americans can hardly be denied. None, however, have been captured more readily than those on the political right. Whipped up by presidential wannabes and election-year politics, the purveyors of fear assert that keeping Syrian refugees out of the U.S. will safeguard the nation.

In the name of safety, the fearful and political opportunists forget who we are –that innocent victims of war are the very people the country has taken in for over 200 years, the very people we immortalize on Statue of Liberty inscriptions, the very people who have helped make the country great.

One is reminded of the baseless fears that interred 120,000 Japanese Americans at the start of World War II. Shame on us then, and shame on us now if we succumb to similar baseless fears.

And what of us in Maine? Our governor has joined the clack of Republican (and some Democratic) governors who stand ready to block Syrian refugees from coming into their states. The fact that none of these governors has the legal power to execute their mandates is small consolation.

It is disheartening that Paul LePage and so many other political demagogues do not understand our history as a nation, or the human suffering of innocent refugees.

Orlando Delogu of Portland is emeritus professor of law at the University of Maine School of Law and a longtime public policy consultant to federal, state, and local government agencies and officials. He can be reached at orlando.delogu@maine.edu.

  • danmaine

    Mr Delogu,

    Our Federal Government is out of control. The FBI themselves have stated that there is no way to vet anyone from Syria or almost any other undeveloped country. These “refugees” are no different that the illegal aliens that break our laws to enter the US in that we don’t know who they are or what their intentions are.

    Without vetting, medical screening, remedial English lessons and education they are outsiders in our world. Conflicting ideologies cause further friction and increase the risk to our citizens. Our Government officials are sworn to uphold our laws and protect citizens. You can’t deny that Islamic Radicals, gang members and other law breakers will be present in some percentage of this

    They have no education to speak of and are in no position to assimilate or succeed in the United States.

    Even the “poor” in the US live at a prosperity level that exceeds almost the entire population of the world. I can understand the need to be compassionate to refugees. I feel that they would be best assisted if we provide financial support to them in the same general area of the world where their societal backgrounds are more consistent with the norm.

    If you personally feel the need to provide support, why not sponsor and vouch for a family of immigrants? My father in law brought his cousin and her daughter from China in the late 70s. She had a limited visa, he needed to provide support for her and vouch for her to stay in this country. She and her daughter received ZERO financial support fro the US.

    So when are you and your fellow socialist EA Beam going to open up your homes and wallets? You take the risk and share the financial and personal responsibility for their actions.

    I’ve already got enough on my plate raising two children, paying for college and helping my mom and mom in law as they age.

    • David Craig

      “They have no education to speak of and are in no position to assimilate or succeed in the United States.”
      What evidence do you have to support this blanket statement about refugees?

      • danmaine

        Have you been to Lewiston or Portland recently? They see us as suckers and our generosity as free stupidity. They want their Muslim norms to be accepted her although Islam is not a typical Religion, it is an integrated way of live that includes political and justice systems that are not compatible with our Constitution. We are expected to bend over backwards to “accept” their culture vs assimilation.

        I have educational contacts, they are in many situations poorly educated, very much like our illegal immigrants flowing through the Southern border of the US. Talk to a parent who sees his or her son or daughter get less help and support in school because of the massive efforts required to attempt to get immigrants up to speed.

        • David Craig

          I’m in Portland all the time. Refugees are not the people I see panhandling. Most of the refugees that I have met or worked with have been from Somalia. Good, hard-working, decent people from my personal experience. I also have a couple friends who teach and coach at the high school level (Lewiston and Portland) and they have good things to say about the refugee kids. Those kids have had a tough life and been through more than you and I can imagine. I doubt that any of this matters to you. You’ve already made up your mind about refugees and immigrants.

        • Christopher White

          What, in your mind, is a ‘typical Religion’? Does it include Mormonism, Orthodox Judaism or any of the other minority religions our Constitution protects? In what way do you think we have been “expected to bend over backwards to “accept” their culture vs assimilation”? Perhaps you should re-read the Constitution, especially the First Amendment.

          • Christopher White

            The Mormons made me leave the church because I masturbated too much.

      • Christopher White

        It’s true just like all LIBSHITS are fascists. Deal with it loser.

    • Kevin McCarthy

      “The FBI themselves” made no such statement. No point in responding to the other falsehoods and fallacies. What’s interestingly illustrated here is that those who espouse the values of personal responsibility overlook the responsibility that we as a nation have to these and other refugees who have become such either directly or indirectly as result of our misguided foreign policies and military actions overseas. These same folks who so arduously bray about their own accomplishments fail to even begin to think about the strategic implications of refugee resettlement or relief. Their idea of foreign policy is to insist that every one else in the world subscribe to our “values” and “freedoms.” It’s not a left-right issue, but they insist on making it so.

      • danmaine

        From the Associated Press: FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that gaps still remain in the process by which the United States screens refugees entering the country.

        The Associated Press reported that Comey told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that, though the U.S. has improved the process, there remain risks in accepting refugees from countries experiencing conflict like Syria.

        • Kevin McCarthy

          You might consider turning the hyperbole dial down a notch or two. Claiming that the FBI said “there is no way to vet anyone from Syria or almost any other undeveloped country” and using that as the basis to make an argument full of insults and falsehoods is disingenuous at best. Your own citation above proves that something a whole lot less categorical and absolute was said by Comey.

    • Christopher White

      Apparently you don’t actually know any recent immigrants. It would also seem you don’t know much about the rest of the world either.

      • Christopher White

        I do know many because I exploit them for s e x u a l favors. I even abuse their animals.

  • Kafir911

    Profoundly absurd article particularly the internment of the Japanese during WWII. The Japanese were brutal to our POWs with 37% dying before the war was over. At least we, fed, clothed, sheltered and didn’t beat them to death in our detention centers.

    • Ted Markow

      “The Japanese were brutal to our POWs…”

      Those interned in U.S. camps were Americans, regardless of their ancestry. And Americans of Japanese ancestry fought in WWII for their country – the USA. The only thing keeping more Americans of Japanese ancestry from joining to fight for the USA was the paroid fear in this country and the fact that so many were in prison camps.

      I would weep, but I have been inured to such lack of understanding by Kurt Vonnegut’s words:

      “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

      “I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That’s what it is to be alive.” (K. Vonnegut)

      Maybe I will weep…

      • Christopher White

        Fvck ’em. Not white so who cares.

    • Kevin McCarthy

      “At least we, fed, clothed, sheltered and didn’t beat them to death in our detention centers” I guess we got that going for us.

    • Christopher White

      Seems like you’re arguing FOR using the internment of anyone you deem too far from those you view as ‘real’ Americans [presumably white Christians with ancestry in the UK]. And, if we’re going to inter them in camps, why feed, cloth and shelter them there when you can beat them to death instead. You get added bonus points for simultaneously denigrating immigrants from the Middle East, the Japanese AND Japanese-Americans in such a short comment.

      • Kafir911

        I’m not advocating internment of anyone. You’re using the same specious argument Baldacci’s Chief of Staff, David Farmer, used when we met with him about the Somalis shop owners in Lewiston laundering food stamps and welfare checks to terrorist organizations overseas. (This was corroborated later by the FBI). I’ve been to Japan a number of times when I taught school in So. Korea. Both are great countries with great people.
        You and your buddy, Kevin McCarthy, should look up Qur’an: 2:218, 9:72,74,75, 9:30, 16:41, 16:110. There is a “Hijra” that is taking place with this phony refugee crisis. You two are like bad pennies who don’t do any research and you just won’t go away.

        • Christopher White

          Okay. I’ll bite, Put up a reference to any FBI corroborated charges of money laundering Somali grocers in Lewiston … blogs by far right wack jobs do not count.

          Do you really want to swap “Holy Book” passages given Leviticus?

          Your disdain for the President is far more anti-American than recognizing the greatest refugee crisis since WWII.

          • Kafir911

            Wow! The violent passages in the Bible are from a historical point in time, not a continual 1400 year call for Jihad found in the Koran.

            The FBI agent we worked with on the laundering of welfare benefits is dead. Surely, you know how to use Google to find articles on this topic yourself.

            Did I mention that it was the Democrat icon, FDR, who was the one who interned the Japanese?

            Go Trump! Hillary for prison!

          • Kevin McCarthy

            I have a suggestion. Why not back up your assertions about “laundering food stamps and welfare checks to terrorist organizations overseas.” Don’t rely on the prosecution of Roda Abdi and Ali-Nassir Ahmed for fraud. You often make categorical assertions that are somehow not within the realm of easily accessible public records (if they exist at all). Maybe they are, but accessibility is a problem – or maybe those of us who even bother to respond to you are just too incompetent or incapable. You seem to have an inside track (it’s impressive that you got a sit-down with Baldacci’s chief of staff to discuss your conspiracy theories). So prove it.

          • Kafir911

            I previously mentioned to your attack-buddy, that we worked with the lead agent from the FBI on that investigation. He is now dead. I don’t care if you think it’s necessary to provide YOU with documentation. It exists, you dig it up.
            If you think meeting with David Farmer was a big deal, you’re way out of your league. He’s a political lacky. Nothing else. Fyi,, he was also responsible for the invitation to Abdurahim Foukakara, lap dog for Al Jazeera, to speak at the annual fund raiser for the Knox Museum several years ago. If you don’t think that’s an issue then go and crawl back into your mother’s basement.

          • Kevin McCarthy

            As I suspected. Nada. Case closed. Rant on.

          • Kafir911

            You can bet on it.

          • Christopher White

            FA66OTS are usually silly Kevin. It is why they get their crap kicked so often. You would know that.

          • Christopher White

            Everyone knows that abuse goes ob especially with colored people.

          • Christopher White

            So, Mohammad is still alive and writing new Koranic verses? Or the Biblical injunctions to stone adulterous women, and all the rest can be ignored because they are ‘historical’?

            I did use search engines and find only far right blogs making unsubstantiated claims about Somali grocers funding jihadists.

            I could give a good GdDmn about the fact that it was a Democrat who gave in to fear and racial bigotry at the beginning of WWII by setting up the internment camps for Japanese-Americans. The one silver lining to that dark cloud may have been in protecting those Americans from the worst bigotry of their most hateful neighbors.

            Trump should admit he is merely offering ‘low information’ voters a new version of ‘reality television’ in which they get to see their own short-sighted bigotry played out on the national stage. Bernie for President!

          • Kafir911

            No, Mohammed is not still alive unless you’re referring to his re-incarnation in Obama. Trump is right. It’s just that the pantie-waists in both parties are too afraid to admit there IS a global problem with Sharia-adherent Muslims. Admitting them into our country is economic and cultural suicide. See Bare Naked Islam, for one of many examples.

          • Christopher White


            ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
            ……….”…………. _.·´

          • Christopher White

            I also like to bite my dog……………..after I blow him.

        • Christopher White

          Sometimes I think most liberals should be interned because of there fascist tendencies. Would anyone like to watch me blow my dog?

  • Ted Markow

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    William Butler Yeats

    • EABeem

      Perfect! And he was talking about what, WWI?

      • Ted Markow

        That seems right, seeing that he wrote it in 1920.

        Yeats, as Vonnegut, realized that history is cyclical, and bound to be repeated. The real tragedy is that every time history is repeated, the price goes up.

      • Christopher White

        Are you often called a FA66OT?

  • Kafir911

    May I add that this is NOT fear mongering; it’s a reasonable position on Islamic jihad:

  • Christopher White

    Just in case, let me note that a coward has been posting using my name & image from a fraudulent DISQUE account. If a mean spirited, snarky, right wing comment gets made it is NOT me.