In Monday’s press conference, White House press secretary Sean Spicer fielded the typical question any Republican gets when action is taken against terrorism: “Jihadist groups see the travel ban as a recruiting tool, and experts are saying it will make the country less safe. What do you say?”
Spicer responded by trying to put the executive order in perspective. It’s not an attack on Muslims. It’s temporary. It’s for vetting purposes, not as a way to discriminate. It’s about keeping Americans safe.
Let’s go back and look at what it is. Seven countries that the Obama Administration had already identified needed further travel restrictions.
The president recognizes that it is his duty and obligation to keep this country safe. By instituting a process by which we look at these countries over a 90-day period and the process by which people can come in and out of this country, to ensure the safety of each and every one of us, I think is something that makes a heck of a lot of sense. … Some people have not read exactly what the order says and are reading it through misguided media reports.
He’s right. Most haven’t read the order. Instead, they’ve read propaganda about the order. So any backlash that will make us “unsafe” isn’t due to the policy itself, but to how the policy is perceived — and that perception isn’t fostered by accident. It’s done purposely to make America look like the aggressor, deserving any violent response it might get.
Just consider how Iran has portrayed the ban. In a statement issued after the executive order was given, Iran said it will “take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the Government of the United States against Iranian nationals.”
What rights? Immigrants and refugees don’t have the right to come to America. How is reasonable vetting “insulting”? Even some former refugees in the United States are saying they respect a need for the travel ban. Yet, the order is being framed as violating “rights.”
Worse, it’s being characterized as an attack on Muslims by “dehumanizing” them. The Washington Post has published an article in which it says they have research challenging Trump’s assertion that this policy will make Americans safer.
“Our research suggests they could do exactly the opposite,” write Nour Kteily and Emile Bruneau. “By dehumanizing minority group members in word and deed, Trump’s rhetoric and policies may promote the very actions that they purport to prevent.”
Dehumanizing? So a temporary ban on people, who have no right to come to the United States, to make sure they are who they say they are, is dehumanizing? The “research” they cite is downright bizarre in its application to this order.
During the presidential primary process, we collected data from two large samples of several-hundred Americans online. We assessed their political leanings, their attitudes about Mexican immigrants and Muslims, and their support for several of Trump’s actual border policies (taken directly from his campaign website).
Specifically, we assessed participants’ overt dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims, first by asking Americans to place these groups where they thought they belonged on the popular “Ascent of Man” diagram representing human evolution, and second by asking how well they thought Mexican immigrants and Muslims were characterized by animalistic traits such as being “savage,” “primitive,” “lacking in self-control” and “unsophisticated.”
Our work, published last month in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, revealed that Americans consistently rated Mexican immigrants and Muslims as less human than average Americans. Furthermore, reported levels of dehumanization strongly predicted support for Trump’s immigration policies, including the plan to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and the proposal to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. …
Our findings revealed that our samples of Latinos and Muslims felt heavily dehumanized, and that this had important consequences: The more dehumanized they felt, the more likely they were to support violent over nonviolent forms of collective protest, and the less likely they were to report suspicious activity in their neighborhoods, potentially related to terrorism, to the FBI. Here again, these associations remained even after controlling for feelings of being disliked and for participants’ levels of political conservatism.
I agree that when people feel dehumanized, they lash out, sometimes violently. But the premise here is where it all goes wrong. Are they actually being dehumanized? The fact is, they’re not. Sadly, however, forces in America and throughout the world are creating the narrative that this is exactly what’s happening.
Such propaganda isn’t anything new. The assertion that U.S. actions designed to protect Americans will incite terrorists has been made since President Bush’s response to 9/11. When he announced military involvement in the Middle East, the Left in our country howled in protest, crying about racism, rights, dehumanization, and America as the bully aggressor that brought terrorist attacks on itself.
At that time, Bush didn’t sound any different than Trump does in the announcement of this executive order. In his State of the Union address in 2004, Bush focused on keeping America safe again.
As we gather tonight, hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the War on Terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure.
Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America. …
Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people. …
Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens.
When Bush said after 9/11, “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” the American Left refused to stand by him. Several prominent writers, activists, and artists, among many others, published a statement denouncing Bush’s Middle Eastern policies.
In our name, within the US, the government has created two classes of people: those to whom the basic rights of the US legal system are at least promised, and those who now seem to have no rights at all. The government rounded up over 1,000 immigrants and detained them in secret and indefinitely. Hundreds have been deported and hundreds of others still languish today in prison. This smacks of the infamous concentration camps for Japanese-Americans in the second world war. For the first time in decades, immigration procedures single out certain nationalities for unequal treatment. …
There is a deadly trajectory to the events of the past months that must be seen for what it is and resisted. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist.
President Bush has declared: “You’re either with us or against us.” Here is our answer: We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say not in our name. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed.
This is the typical reaction of the Left, and they’re playing into the hands of radical Islamic terrorists. In fact, they are more closely aligned with the terrorists than liberty-loving Americans — some unintentionally, many on purpose.
David Horowitz in his brilliant analysis of the Left’s alignment with Islam totalitarianism, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, explains why the Left opposes American strength in the face of terrorism threats:
The radical Islamist believes that by conquering nations and instituting sharia, he can redeem the world for Allah. The socialist’s faith is in using state power and violent means to eliminate private property and thereby usher in the millennium. Belief in this transformation is the reason the secular radical does not take the religious pathology of radical Islam seriously.
After 9/11 and ever since, leftists have blamed America for jihad. Every action America takes to defend itself is seen as cause for more violence. Leftists don’t place the blame on radical Islamists, but on America. That’s because leftists are against what America stands for. Just like the Islamists, they see America as the Great Satan. Horowitz writes,
In the face of the nation’s grief, without knowing when the next terrorist attack might occur 4 prominent American leftists seized the occasion to state that the attacks had “root causes.” In other words, America was to no small degree guilty for what had happened, just as the terrorists proclaimed. “Where is the acknowledgement that [the 9/11 strike] was not a ‘cowardly’ attack on ‘civilization’ or ‘liberty’ or ‘humanity’ or ‘the free world,”‘ asked Susan Sontag, one of America’s leading literary intellectuals in one of its leading intellectual journals, “but an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, power, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?’
This provoked the Left to further recriminations. In an op-ed piece in the national press on September 25, best-selling novelist Barbara Kingsolver asked, “Who are we calling terrorists here?” and described her dismay that her daughter had come home from kindergarten announcing that the next day they would all have to wear red, white and blue: “Why?” I asked, trying not to sound wary. “For all the people that died when the airplanes hit the buildings.” I fear the sound of saber-rattling, dread that not just my taxes but even my children are being dragged to the cause of death in the wake of death. I asked quietly, “Why not wear black, then? Why the colors of the flag, what does that mean?” “It means we’re a country. Just all people together.” So we sent her to school in red, white, and blue, because it felt to her like something thing she could do to help people who are hurting. And because my wise husband put a hand on my arm and said, “You can’t let hateful people steal the flag from us.” He didn’t mean terrorists, he meant Americans.
At the time, Berkeley Congresswoman Barbara Lee voted against the president’s request to use force, saying: “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.” Horowtiz was right when he said, “The implication was that if Americans used force to defend themselves, they would be no better than the terrorists who attacked them.” Too many in our country agree with this sentiment.
No matter what Trump or any other president does, if it’s not one of appeasement with radical Islam, we will be blamed for any violence that follows. This mindset is paralyzing, of course, but it’s one that is perpetuated throughout American society. If we stand for American security, we’re cowards, bigots, xenophobes—everything the Left already believes about us. Those words are repeated to delegitimize anything our government does to oppose our enemies, even something as benign as vetting people who want to come to our nation from hostile regions.
Western leftists despise American capitalism, our republican form of government, legal rights for all citizens, and freedom. They hope to bring in utopia through social justice and collectivism. In this, they’re no different from the Islamists who want to use force to bring salvation to humanity in the name of Allah. Leftism is its own kind of religion, and it intersects with radical Islam. “Despite the libertine inclinations of some factions of the political Left, Western radicals’ efforts to purify their tainted souls of ‘racism, sexism, and homophobia’ reflect parallel inclinations,” Horowitz writes.
[T]he moralistic fervor of Islamic fanatics has not proved an obstacle to collaboration. Both movements are totalitarian in their desire to extend the revolutionary law into the sphere of private life, and both are exacting in the justice they administer and the loyalty they demand.
It’s telling that the Social Movements’ Manifesto World Social Forum in 2000 condemned America’s military actions, saying, in essence, U.S. imperialism is the problem.
After the terrorist attacks, which we absolutely condemn, as we condemn all other attacks on civilians in other parts of the world, the government of the United States and its allies have launched a massive military operation. In the name of the “war against terrorism,” civil and political rights are being attacked all over the world. The war against Afghanistan, in which terrorists methods are being used, is now being extended to other fronts. Thus there is the beginning of a permanent global war to cement the domination of the US government and its allies. This war reveals another face of neoliberalism, a face which is brutal and unacceptable. Islam is being demonized, while racism and xenophobia are deliberately propagated. The mass media is actively taking part in this belligerent campaign which divides the world into “good” and “evil”. The opposition to the war is at the heart of our movement.
We hear echoes of this throughout America today, and we have been hearing them for years. Leftists like these say there is no “good” and “evil” in the world, and yet, they seem to always react to America as if it is the great evil, the root of all ills. Horowitz rightly says this is because progressives betray their country by being loyal to “humanity” — or their notion of collective humanity as opposed to individuals.
For progressives who held these beliefs, betraying their country was easily justified as benefiting their countrymen at the same time. It was a higher form of “patriotism.” “Treason” to America was loyalty to humanity. It was fidelity to a truer American self. (The same idea has been extended by radicals to include racial issues: “Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity” is the motto of the magazine Race Traitor, which is edited by Harvard leftists and which Princeton professor and political consultant Cornel West has called “the most visionary courageous journal in America.”)
In the name of utopian ideals, social justice, and “humanity,” leftists will oppose any policy that sets America’s interests above all others. This is the treasonous seed that is at the root of all the warnings about national security policies or calls for the citizen rights of foreigners when no such rights exist.
Will there be a violent response from jihadists because of Trump’s policies? There very well might be — the path to peace is sometimes through violence as the snake snaps at the hand trying to cage or kill it. Becoming safe again will take time. This is a war. They declared it long ago when Islamists wrote in their manifesto: “America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based on separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited.” From Horowitz’s book:
“We declared jihad against America,” Osama bin Laden told a CNN interviewer in 1997, “because America is unjust, criminal, and tyrannical.”‘ In 1998, he issued the following explanatory edict: We — with God’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson. The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.
Because of this, not because of any actions we take, jihadists seek to destroy us. It’s built on a totalitarian ideology that the Left embraces and spread through propaganda and lies. The Left would have us become servants to totalitarian masters, passively accepting our fate as groveling dogs to bullies of the world, rather than make a stand, fight the fight, and aim for a future in which America will be safe again.