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PRO Terrorism Contention (Subscribers)
The terror attacks in France are likely to rise to an argument that accepting more refugees will increase the terrorism risks.
This argument will be highlighted by the fact that one of the terrorists was found with a Syrian passport next to him and there is reason to believe this person moved with migrants seeking refuge in Europe.
One of the men who attacked Paris held an emergency passport or similar document, according to an unnamed French senator who was briefed by the French Ministry of the Interior. The senator told CNN the bomber falsely declared himself to be a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad, born on September 10, 1990, and was allowed to enter Greece on October 3. From there he moved to Macedonia, then Serbia and Croatia, where he registered in the Opatovac refugee camp, the lawmaker said. Eventually, he made his way to Paris, where he was one of three men who blew themselves up at the Stade de France. Fingerprints on the passport matched those of the Stade de France bomber, the French senator told CNN. The fingerprint was not in the French database, the senator said, and therefore officials believe the man was among a group of refugees and migrants. The two others who detonated themselves at the stadium carried false Turkish passports, the French senator said. “This is what we had feared,” a senior French official told the Wall Street Journal. European officials told CNN that they believe a new professional squad of terrorists is inserting itself into some of these migrant voyages. Pope Francis had already thought about this possibility back in September. He told a Portugese radio station, “It’s true, nowadays, territorial security conditions are not the same as they were in other periods (of mass migration). … The truth is that just 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true,” The Telegraph reported.
So, the terrorism argument has gotten better. And although I disagree with it, you may want to consider making it on the Con. It will have a lot of salience with many judges.
In this post, I will discuss some answers to it.
First, I think it is important to minimize the link between the Paris bombing and any terrorist threat via refugees.
One, even assuming this person was a terrorist who entered with the refugees, the attacks would have occurred anyhow. There are at least six other terrorists (they think a seventh is still on the loose) that are all citizens of Belgium and France and they would have committed the attacks. At the site of greatest violence — the Bataclan — where 80 people were shot, one of the terrorists was a French national. There are already 5,000 potential terrorists in France who are French citizens, in addition to those other countries.
Two, at least one of the other terrorists (now they are saying two) was from Belgium. It also appears that the attacks were planned from Belgium. Should all countries close their borders to everyone? This would collapse the global freedom of movement and make trade impossible. Since there are 5,000 suspected terrorists in France, should the US not allow French nationals into the US? Should it exclude Belgium nationals?
And if their link is the offensive “Muslims likely to be terrorists arguments,” it will not be solved by excluding refugees.
Erasumus, November 15, 2015, Economist, No European Democracy has the perfect answer for handling Islam, http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2015/11/europe-and-islam?fsrc=scn/fb/te/bl/ed/europeandislam DOA: 11-15-15
Even before the latest attacks, it was clear that the leading governments of Europe faced broadly the same dilemma. Within the large and growing Muslim communities which every European state now hosts, a minority is attracted by the cause of violent extremism, at home or abroad…. France has done its collective best to offer Muslim citizens a hard secularist bargain: accept the ideals of the republic, which include the religious neutrality of the state, and you will be as free to practice your religion as any Catholic, Protestant or Jew. It has more-or-less successfully imposed that bargain on the organisations which speak for Islam in France. But inevitably, there are those who reject it. For the great majority of French citizens of Muslim heritage, the republic’s offer is probably acceptable. But if only 1% of young French Muslims radically reject it that is easily enough to provide terrorist movements with ample recruits.
Many French nationals are radicalized simply because they do not fit in in France.
J. Newton Small, 11-15-15, Time, Paris Attacker is an Example of France’s Home-Grown Terrorists, http://time.com/4113864/paris-attacks-isis-homegrown-terrorism/ DOA: 11-15-15
Three, we can separate terrorists from deserving refugees, including orphans and women.
Al Weaver, 11-15-15, Washington Examiner, Obama not ‘reconsidering’ plan to bring in Syrian Refugees, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-not-reconsidering-plan-to-bring-in-syrian-refugees/article/2576398 DOA: 11-15-15
When pressed by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said they are not “reconsidering” their plan to take in nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees, a plan that has been panned by many GOP 2016 candidates in the wake of the brutal terror attack, which left 129 dead and 350 injured. One of the attackers in the French slaughter was carrying a Syrian passport that seemed to indicate that he had been a refugee that had come into Europe along with a flood of migrants in October,” Wallace said. “Given that, is President Obama reconsidering his plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year?” “No, Chris, we’re still planning to take in Syrian refugees,” Rhodes said. “We have very robust vetting procedures for those refugees. It involves our intelligence community, our national counter-terrorism center, extensive interviews, vetting them against all information.” “What we need to be able to do, frankly, is sort out that foreign fighter flow, those who have gone into Syria and come out and want to launch attacks or those who have connections with ISIL in Syria,” Rhodes said. “We need to be able to have the intelligence base to identify and target those people.” “At the same time, we have to recognize there are tragic victims of this conflict,” he added. “There are women, children, orphans of this war, and I think we need to do our part, along with our allies, to provide them a safe haven.”
The screening procedures that we have in place for refugees are more extensive than we have for others visiting the US.
Daniel Burke, November 17, 2015, CNN, “Don’t Scapegoat Syrian Refugees,” http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/17/politics/catholics-evangelicals-refugees/index.html DOA: 11-17-15
But the United States has a “strong track record” for screening refugee applicants, Anderson said. “It is more thorough and careful than the screening for tourist and student visas to the United States. A tourist with a French passport does not need screening or a visa; a refugee from Syria must pass multiple careful tests for eligibility.” Elizondo echoed that thought, noting that refugees must pass security checks and multiple interviews before entering the United States.
And Max Fisher offers even more detail:
Max Fisher, November 17, 2015, http://www.vox.com/2015/11/17/9750538/syrian-refugees Dear Politicians Who Want to Bar Refugees: Here are Six Reasons You’re Wrong DOA: 11-17-15
In fact, the US has extremely stringent vetting processes and standards for refugee resettlement candidates — standards so cumbersome and onerous, requiring mounds of paperwork and series of interviews, that even refugees who perfectly qualify must wait months and are frequently turned away.
In Europe, refugees arrive in huge numbers to places like Greece and Italy. European governments do indeed have security controls in place, but the scale and immediacy of the problem is simply leagues beyond anything America faces. Boats of refugees are not washing up on the Maryland shore. We only need to resettle as many refugees as we choose to, and we can put them through whatever process we like before they arrive. And that process is indeed a doozy.
Slate’s Williams Dobson sums up the process here:
It takes anywhere from 18–24 months for a Syrian refugee to be cleared to live in the United States. First he or she must be registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. This agency interviews refugees, conducts background checks, takes their biometric data, and establishes whether they belong to one of roughly 45 “categories of concern” given their past lives and work history in Syria. Typically, the applicants are women and children. If anything looks amiss, they are pulled from consideration. Then the U.S. government begins its own vetting. The applicants are interviewed again, and their names and particulars are run through terrorism databases. They receive additional screening when they arrive in the United States and then again after their first year in the country.
Yet to listen to anti-refugee politicians, you would think that none of these safeguards or processes existed.
So when, for example, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder demands that the Department of Homeland Security look into security vetting processes, and insists he will accept no refugees until it does, it’s a little like angrily insisting that his state will allow no commercial flights until the Federal Aviation Administration provides some answers on its plan to prevent midair collisions. The FAA does have a plan. It’s a good plan. And we know this because it’s been doing it successfully for years.
Given this, why would a terrorist enter as a refugee? Wouldn’t they enter through one of these other routes? Should we ban all tourists and other visitors? It would be much easier for them to enter through other routes —
After a series of attacks in Paris by the Islamic State group killed 129 people on Friday, several prominent Republican politicians called for the U.S. to stop taking in refugees from Syria, arguing that authorities might unwittingly allow terrorists to enter the country.
Roque Planas, November 18, 2015, Huffington Post, Here’s Why You Should Stop Worrying About the Terrorists Entering the US as Refugees, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/applying-refugee-status-is-hard_564bbf8ce4b045bf3df1a043?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063
Despite the traction those arguments have gained, it makes little sense for an aspiring terrorist to apply to enter the United States as a refugee. Passing through the process often takes at least 18 months, and sometimes much longer. Applicants must pass background checks involving several U.S. government agencies, and many applicants are rejected. Overall, refugees are unlikely to be resettled at all — the UN Refugee Agency says that only about 1 percent of the world’s refugees end up being taken in permanently elsewhere. Stephen Legomsky, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis and former chief counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said in a news release that all these factors make it very unlikely that members of the Islamic State group planning to attack the U.S. would apply as refugees. “[Refugees] are personally interviewed and thorough background checks are performed by Homeland Security and the FBI,” Legomsky said. “No competent terrorist would choose the U.S. refugee process as a preferred strategy for gaining entry into the U.S.”…
Whatever the case, the notion that admitting refugees increases the risk of terrorism rests on shaky foundations. The attackers who have been identified so far were from either France or Belgium, not Syria. And if they had wanted to come to the United States, they wouldn’t have had to do much more than buy a plane ticket. Only two of them would have been flagged by French authorities, according to CNN. Those who didn’t appear on European security watch lists and who held passports from countries included in the visa waiver program would have traveled straight to the U.S., like any other tourist. ISIS isn’t short on fighters with European passports, either — U.S. intelligence officials estimated earlier this year that 3,400 foreign fighters had joined the group from Western nations.
Four, the authorities investigate d the passport and found that it was a fake. Yes, someone supported by ISIS did travel to Europe from Syria with a fake passport in the refugee flow, but ISIS has enormous financial resources and could generate fake passports with other nationalities. Are we going to exclude everyone from entering the US until they are “thoroughly vetted”?
Five, this argument is rather offensive and arguably racist. The US already resettles 70,000 refugees per year and has resettled over 700,000 since September 11th, 2001 (this includes refugees from Iraq, where ISIS is also substantially present). Not a single refugee has committed a terrorist attack in the US. ONE person who disguised himself as a refugee entered Europe this year (out of one million!) has engaged in terrorist activity, and through an event that would have likely occurred without him; the other terrorists were European nationals.
[Related note: Senator Pete Sessions, a proponent of restricting Syrian refugees, argues that we have let in 1.5 million refugees from Muslim nations since 9/11 — and not one of them has committed a terrorist attack!]
None have even been arrested on terrorism charges — Fusion.net, November 17
Second, the terrorists are sophisticated (which the Con actually needs to win to win a significant impact), and do not need to rely on smuggling terrorists in disguised as refugees.
Associated Press, November 15, 2015, German Official: Don’t Link Terrorism, Refugees, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/the-latest-eu-attacks-on-syria-opposition-create-refugees/2015/11/15/5012139a-8b96-11e5-934c-a369c80822c2_story.html DOA: 11-15-15
Germany’s defense minister is pushing back against the idea that terrorists are entering Europe as refugees. European officials have expressed concern after a passport discovered close to the body of one of the Paris attackers was found to have been used last month passing through Greece and the Balkans. Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that linking Europe’s migrant crisis to the threat of terrorism would be wrong. She says that “terrorism is so well organized that it doesn’t have to risk the arduous refugee routes, and the sometimes life-threatening crossings at sea.”
Think about it. ISIS has adequate financial resources to fly potential terrorists anywhere in South America and then they could make their way into the US with other illegal immigrants. This US has been completely ineffective in reducing illegal immigration. Why would a terrorist even try to enter the US as a refugee and subject himself or herself to an extensive vetting process when they could more easily enter this way.
Third, if Europe (and the US) start excluding refugees, even more will pour into Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, risking the collapse of these countries.
Richard Minter, 11-14-15, Forbes, 9 After Shocks of the Paris Attacks, http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardminiter/2015/11/14/8-after-shocks-of-the-paris-attacks/ 11-14-15
If Europe slows or stops Syrian migration, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan will totter, or even tumble, under the weight of refugees. Each nation already hosts nearly 1 million displaced people. The cost of feeding and housing these displaced people is enormous–as are the security risks. Turkish and Arab officials fear that strain could bring down their governments or that the war will follow the refugees into their tent cities. Crime is climbing, both among refugees and between refugees and natives. And the coming winter will only make some of the desperate still more dangerous.
And if these countries collapse, there will be even more war, more terrorism, and more refugees.
Fearon 15 – James Fearon is the Theodore and Frances Geballe Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, a professor of political science, and a Senior Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, all at Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences “Instability In The Middle East” http://www.hoover.org/research/instability-middle-east, DOA: 11-15-15
Since the mid 1990s we see some decline and a leveling out, despite the outbreak of several large-scale conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Quite a few civil wars, many of them long running, ended in the second half of the 1990s, in Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa (though almost as many started in the late 90s in Africa). Since 9/11 and the Arab Spring, however, new state failures have been concentrated in the MENA region, with dramatic instances in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Three of these were middle-income countries not too long ago. Syria and Iraq had developed business sectors. Iraq, Syria, and Libya had all attempted nuclear weapons programs, with various degrees of competence. Although civil wars are not new to this region – or to these states, excepting Libya—the degree of state collapse is of a whole new order in all of them. Further, the prospects for a return of stable central control in Syria and Iraq do not seem good. State collapse and failure in this region is much more consequential for U.S. economic and security interests than in sub-Saharan Africa because it raises the risk of a spread of civil wars and state failures to other states in the region that are important for regional and international stability—Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Pakistan. Refugees put direct strains on neighboring states’ economies and political balances. Regional conflict over the failed states increases militarization, cross-border support for insurgents or opposition movements in regional adversaries, and risks of regional interstate military conflicts (including, to give just one example, more war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon). State failure encourages the transnational jihadi movement, gives it recruits and training, some of whom will return to plot attacks in their home countries and perhaps in Western countries as well. And all this takes place in a region with states that have the capability (before they suffer major failure or collapse) to mount serious nuclear weapons programs, or to purchase weapons.
Even if these terrorists wouldn’t then make it to the US, there would be more terrorism in this area, where US citizens vacation, work, and study. And the lives of US allies would be at-risk as well.
If Con teams argue that Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey should also reject refugees, you should make a couple of arguments.
One, there is no evidence that these really can. These countries border the conflict zones and there is no evidence that they can stop millions of people from entering their countries. Even Europe can’t really block the flow.
Nick Robins-Early, November 15, 2015, Why a Backlash Against Refugees Only Helps ISIS, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/paris-attacks-refugees_5648961ae4b060377349702c DOA: 11-16-15.
Europe has struggled to find a common policy to address the humanitarian crisis, resulting in a massive influx of largely unregulated migration. Security deterrents such as border fences have done little to stop people seeking safety and asylum, as constantly shifting routes result in new ways for people to enter the continent. ” It really is a very dangerous moment for Europe; right-wing politicians are taking advantage of this horrific massacre to try to whip up anti-immigrant sentiment, but it’s a moment for Europe to pause and really think about what lies ahead,” Peter Bouckaert, emergency director of Human Rights Watch, told The WorldPost. “It’s simply impossible for Europe to shut the door on the flow of people trying to come to Western Europe; they will continue to come,” he continued.
Two, if the refugees are forced to go back to (or stay in) Syria, they will die.
Christiane Ammanpour, 11-15-15, CNN, “Passport linked to terrorist complicates refugee crisis” http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/15/europe/paris-attacks-passports/index.html DOA: 11-15-15
This development will likely intensify a bitter argument. One side believes it’s important to provide shelter to thousands of helpless people who may die if they remain in Syria. The other side believes letting in Syrian war refugees will put host countries at greater risk for terrorist attacks. Vetting every incoming refugee would require huge resources. It likely would slow down a widening river of refugees that has already posed logistical problems in many nations. Just look how slowly the European Union is moving on its promise to relocate refugees: As of a few days ago, the EU had only relocated 147 of 160,000. But the other end of the spectrum, closing borders to Syrian war refugees could force many Syrians to remain at home — exposing them to deadly fighting between anti-government rebels and government forces. Many feel they must leave the region to save their lives.
In a previous essay, I wrote about how it is really impossible to live in Syria.
Russia airstrikes are already making this situation worse.
This is why we have to help people, even if there is some risk of terrorism.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books is co-chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law, November 17, 2015, In Defense of Refugees, https://www.lawfareblog.com/defense-refugees DOA: 11-17-17
Let’s concede the point that our rigorous and slow screening system will fail in some small percentage of cases and that we will admit some number of people who turn out to be bad. If that is enough to stop all Syrian refugees from finding shelter here, why do we grant visas—and we grant many of them—to people from that part of the world at all? Why do we let students come here from the Persian Gulf? Why do we let tourists come here from just about anywhere? And, more to the point, why have we let refugees come here from all sorts of nasty places in the world? Each refugee community brings with it a certain number of bad apples. But I wouldn’t give back the Mariel boatlift, though it involved a fair number of Cuban criminals. The United States also sheltered a large number of Iranians after the Revolution in 1979. We are, by a few country miles, the world’s leader in refugee resettlement. To suddenly say that the risk of ISIS infiltrating this particular refugee flow makes it categorically different from all others is really a backhanded way of saying that we should make a different set of security presumptions about Arabs, even those we know to be victims of the worst forms of oppression by our own military enemies. The sentiment is not just ugly. It may also be profoundly self-defeating in security terms. Yes, if we admit tens of thousands of refugees, we will likely admit some who will give the FBI headaches. We will also create a community that values American liberty and religious freedom, that engages constructively with our economy and with our law enforcement and that sees this country as part of the solution to—or at least a haven from—the tragedy that is Syria.
Fourth, we shouldn’t exclude refugees who are trying to flee the same forces that committed the attacks in Paris.
Frank Jordans, 11-14-15, AP, Paris Attacks Provoke Fresh Migrant Fears in Europe, http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_MIGRANTS_RISING_TENSIONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-11-14-15-31-54 DOA: 11-14-14
Asylum seekers fleeing war and poverty in Syria and other war-ravaged countries condemned the Paris attacks, saying they feared it may become more difficult for the refugees to start new lives in Western Europe. Zebar Akram, a 29-year-old Iraqi man, was among those streaming through Slovenia toward Austria on Saturday. He said those attacking Paris were behaving “like they act in Syria or Iraq.” Abdul Selam, 31, who was fleeing Syria, said he fears refugees now “will be considered as probable attackers.” Merkel’s deputy warned Saturday against cracking down on migrants coming to Europe because of the Paris attacks. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said those seeking refuge in Europe shouldn’t be made to suffer just because “they come from those regions where terror is being exported to us and to the world.” “We stand to protect them too, and to ensure that they don’t have to suffer because murderers in France are threatening people and Europe in the name of a religion,” he said.
Fifth, if the Pro only argues for humanitarian aid, there is not even a link to this argument. The links assume granting asylum.
Sixth, if destitute and desperate refugees do not receive assistance, they could end up becoming mercenaries for terrorist groups or simply become alienated and support radical groups.
Daniel Byman, Brookings Institute, October 27, 2015, Do the Syrian refugees pose a terrorism threat? http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/markaz/posts/2015/10/27-syrian-refugees-terrorism-threat-byman DOA: 11-15-15
If the refugees are treated as a short-term humanitarian problem rather than as a long-term integration challenge, then we are likely to see this problem worsen. Radicals will be among those who provide the religious, educational, and social support for the refugees – creating a problem where none existed. Indeed, the refugees need a comprehensive and long-term package that includes political rights, educational support, and economic assistance as well as immediate humanitarian aid, particularly if they are admitted in large numbers. If they cannot be integrated into local communities, then they risk perpetuating, or even exacerbating, the tensions between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Europe. Despite their current gratitude for sanctuary in Europe, The actual security risks now are low, but the potential ones are considerable if the refugee crisis is handled poorly.
ISIS wants us to exclude refugees, because the refugees are currently considered enemies of ISIS and it will make the caliphate more appealing relative to the US.
Zach Beauchamp, November 17, 2015, Vox, Turning Back Syrian Refugees Isn’t Just Wrong — It Helps ISIS, http://www.vox.com/world/2015/11/17/9747042/paris-attacks-isis-refugees DOA: 11-17-15
At least 23 US governors said on Monday that they’d attempt to block any efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, and the few Republican presidential candidates who didn’t outright declare that all Syrian refugees should be banned from entering the United States suggested that only Christian refugees should be allowed in. But such reactions play right into ISIS’s hands. ISIS despises Syrian refugees: It sees them as traitors to the caliphate. By leaving, they turn their back on the caliphate. ISIS depicts its territory as a paradise, and fleeing refugees expose that as a lie. But if refugees do make it out, ISIS wants them to be treated badly — the more the West treats them with suspicion and fear, the more it supports ISIS’s narrative of a West that is hostile to Muslims and bolsters ISIS’s efforts to recruit from migrant communities in Europe. “It makes them look bad,” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, explains. Refugee flight from Syria “undermines IS’ message that its self-styled Caliphate is a refuge,” Aaron Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, writes on the site Jihadology. “If it was [a refuge as they claim], individuals would actually go there in droves since it’s so close instead of 100,000s of people risking their lives through arduous journeys that could lead to death en route to Europe.” To demonstrate his point, Zelin looked through a number of ISIS’s public statements on the refugee crisis. ISIS speakers “warn that the ‘Jews and Christians’ do not have their interests at heart, and will force them to convert in order to remain in their countries,” he found. “They assert that the Islamic State will remain strong despite those leaving. [Refugees] will find happiness only in the land of the caliphate.”
It will also radicalize more Muslims living outside the caliphate.
Harleen Gambir, a counterterrorism analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, November 17, ISIS is Setting a Trap for Europe, Business Insider, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/isis-is-setting-a-trap-for-europe-2015-11
The Islamic State’s strategy is to polarize Western society — to “destroy the grayzone,” as it says in its publications. The group hopes frequent, devastating attacks in its name will provoke overreactions by European governments against innocent Muslims, thereby alienating and radicalizing Muslim communities throughout the continent. The atrocities in Paris are only the most recent instances of this accelerating campaign. Since January, European citizens fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have provided online and material support to lethal operations in Paris, Copenhagen and near Lyon, France, as well as attempted attacks in London, Barcelona and near Brussels. Islamic State fighters are likely responsible for destroying the Russian airliner over the Sinai. These attacks are not random, nor are they aimed primarily at affecting Western policy in the Middle East. They are, rather, part of a militarily capable organization’s campaign to mobilize extremist actors already in Europe and to recruit new ones.
The fewer refugees the West lets in, and the chillier their welcome on arrival, the better for ISIS.
This is magnified if we leave refugees stranded in the camps.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books is co-chair of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on National Security, Technology, and Law, November 17, 2015, In Defense of Refugees, https://www.lawfareblog.com/defense-refugees DOA: 11-17-17
It is worth reflecting at least briefly on the security risks of turning our backs on hundreds of thousands of helpless people fleeing some combination of ISIS and Assad. Imagine teeming refugee camps in which everyone knows that America has abandoned them. Imagine the conspiracy theories that will be rife in those camps. Imagine the terrorist groups that will recruit from them and the righteous case they will make about how, for all its talk, the United States left Syria to burn and Syrians to live in squalor in wretched camps in neighboring countries. I don’t know if this situation is more dangerous, less dangerous, or about as dangerous as the situation in which we admit a goodly number of refugees, help resettle others, and run some risk—which we endeavor to mitigate—that we might admit some bad guys. But this is not a situation in which all of the risk is stacked on the side of doing good, while turning away is the safe option. There is risk whatever we do or don’t do. Most profoundly, there is risk associated with saying loudly and unapologetically that we don’t care what happens to hundreds of thousands of innocent people—or that we care if they’re Christian but not if they’re Muslim, or that we care but we’ll keep them out anyway if there’s even a fraction of a percent chance they are not what they claim to be. They hear us when we say these things. And they will see what we do. And those things too have security consequences.
Seventh, we will discredit the appeal of radical Islam if we treat the refugees with compassion.
Kori Schake is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and contributor to Foreign Policy’s Shadow Government blog, 11-15-15, ForeignPolicy.com, The Right Time for America to Lead from Behind, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/15/the-right-time-for-america-to-lead-from-behind-paris-france-nato/ DOA: 11-15-15
As François Heisbourg, chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, argued in the Financial Times Saturday, how other countries respond to the attacks in Paris will determine whether the Islamic State succeeds. They will succeed if the world treats refugees fleeing from their terror in Iraq and Syria as terrorists. The threat of terrorists using the cover of refugees to infiltrate Western societies is real, as is the radicalization of Muslims already living in the West. But vetting and surveillance are better, more precise tools than closing borders against the agony of people who are overwhelmingly victims of the same threats the West is afraid of. Norway-based activist Iyad el-Baghdadi has made a compelling case on Twitter that compassion for those victims is a major element of how the West discredits the Islamic State’s appeal and positively shapes attitudes in the Middle East. Obama should not only be the West’s leading voice, but he should also adopt policies that others can emulate instead of treating Syrian refugees as a European problem.
Eighth, demonstrating humanitarianism toward refugees is way more likely to prevent terrorism than attacking “structural causes,” as Con teams often propose.
Jesse Berne, 11-14-15, Rolling Stone, After Paris Attacks, Don’t Close Our Borders to Refugees – Open Them, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/after-paris-attacks-dont-close-doors-to-refugees-open-them-20151114 DOA: 11-15-15
There will be more calls in the coming days to close the United States’ borders to refugees, and in France and the rest of Europe, those voices will likely be deafening. Already in the midst of a refugee crisis, European nations may give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good. Congress will urge President Obama to do the same and cancel modest plans to resettle some refugees from Syria. But we should do the opposite. When we see attacks like the horror in Paris, we should open our borders to a flood of refugees, not close them. We should shower those families with generosity. We should make sure they have jobs that fit their skills. We should educate their children. We should provide them health care and whatever social services they need. The West should do everything in its power to make those fleeing ISIS and extremism everywhere feel welcome and wanted. We’ve been at war with terror for nearly a decade and a half now. We killed Osama bin Laden. We replaced hostile governments in Iraq and Afghanistan with client states. We defeated tyrants, yes, but we left chaos in their place. And nothing we have done has stopped the tide of terrorist recruitment. One eyewitness account from Paris described a shooter in the Bataclan theater as 20 to 25 years old; that would have made him a child on 9/11. How do we stop the next generation of terrorists from radicalizing? Bombing them sure doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. Keeping open the prison at Guantanamo Bay isn’t doing it either. Eliminationist rhetoric directed at Muslims isn’t going to convince terrorists not to attack us. To win the War on Terror, to actually defeat the terrorists, we have to dry up their recruiting once and for all. We have a chance of doing that by showing Muslims everywhere – Muslims targeted by terrorists in their homeland – that we stand with them as fellow humans, and that when they face violence and oppression in their homelands, we should welcome them in ours. Even if the Paris terrorists turn out to have come from Syria – a Syrian passport was reportedly found at the scene of one bombing, though it may not have been real, and ISIS has claimed responsibility – we should still open our doors to more Syrians and other Muslims escaping extremism. It will take a very long time to make a difference – generations. But if we want a world where terrorists can no longer recruit young people to give their lives to senseless murder, we have to show that the United States is not their enemy. Welcoming those fleeing terror is a critical first step. And rejecting refugees won’t keep terrorists determined to attack us from finding a way in. Yes, in the short term we will ramp up our military effort against ISIS in an attempt to find some kind of justice for the deaths in Paris. But so long as we meet death only with death, the only associations we are creating in future generations with the United States and our allies are ones of pain and, frankly, terror. We’ve bombed hospitals and weddings. We’ve killed children with drones. If those are the only responses we can muster to terrorism, we will create generation after generation of people who want to strike back. That doesn’t make us responsible for attacks against us; only those who carry them out bear that responsibility. Our responsibility is to be better than the terrorists, and to show those who might be seduced by their hatred that the world isn’t narrow and ugly. Closing off our borders to terrorized refugees sends exactly the wrong message.
Ninth, as noted in these files (below), the risk of terrorism is really low.
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Now you may be thinking, “but the Paris attacks prove the risk is low,” but there are two answer to this.
One, the Paris attacks are just one event. They don’t demonstrate that the risk of terrorism has increased.
Two, there is evidence that the Paris attacks prove ISIS is desperate.
Aris Roussinos, November 14, 2015, Why the Islamic State Attacked Paris – and What Happens Next, Vice News, https://news.vice.com/article/why-the-islamic-state-attacked-paris-and-what-happens-next DOA: 11-14-15
The Islamic State (IS) has developed a grim PR strategy: When there’s bad news, bury it with sudden, ultra-violent attacks. It’s a tactic the group has used before on several occasions, and they apparently turned to it again on Friday by launching a brutal, unprecedented assault on Paris. Early on Friday, the US announced the probable death by drone of celebrity IS executioner Mohammed Emwazi, better known as “Jihadi John.” Later, the group suffered two stunning and far more significant military defeats: The loss of the strategic city of Sinjar to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, and of the vital town of al-Hawl in northeastern Syria to Kurdish-led fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces. Both victories deny IS easy road access between Raqqa and Mosul, their two major urban centers. The day ended with multiple gunmen outfitted with suicide bombs attacking restaurants, a concert hall, and a sports stadium at locations across the French capital, killing at least 128 people and injuring 300. IS issued a statement on Saturday morning claiming responsibility. At this stage in the war, with the combination of overwhelming US air power and effective local ground forces beginning to show significant results, it actually seems easier for IS to carry out a mass terrorist attack in the center of a major Western capital than it is for them to win a military victory on the ground in either Syria or Iraq. The Paris attack, like the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that IS has also claimed, is a remarkable inversion of roles in IS’ feud with its progenitor, al Qaeda. IS has sold itself on its ability to take and hold ground in the Middle East, scorning old-school al Qaeda for its reliance on occasional but meaningless spectacular attacks in the West. But now IS is beginning to crumble on all fronts in both Syria and Iraq, while al Qaeda’s Syrian arm Jabhat al-Nusra has devoted its energies to quiet state-building efforts in the regions it controls.
Tenth, Arab lives matter just as much and what Friday night was for Parisians is what every night is like for the refugees.
Elle Fares, phsycician & Blogger, November 15, 2015, From Beirut, This is Paris: In a World That Doesn’t Care About Arab Lives, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elie-fares/beirut-paris-world-doesnt-care-arab-lives_b_8568140.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 DOA: 11-15-15
When my people died, they did not send the world in mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world. And you know what, I’m fine with all of it. Over the past year or so, I’ve come to terms with being one of those whose lives don’t matter. I’ve come to accept it and live with it. Expect the next few days to exhibit yet another rise of Islamophobia around the world. Expect pieces about how extremism has no religion and about how the members of ISIS are not true Muslims, and they sure are not, because no person with any inkling of morality would do such things. ISIS plans for Islamophobic backlashes so it can use the backlash to point its hellish finger and tell any susceptible mind that listens: look, they hate you. And few are those who are able to rise above. Expect the next few days to have Europe try and cope with a growing popular backlash against the refugees flowing into its lands, pointing its fingers at them and accusing them of causing the night of November 13 in Paris. If only Europe knew, though, that the night of November 13 in Paris has been every single night of the life of those refugees for the past two years. But sleepless nights only matter when your country can get the whole world to light up in its flag color.
As an ending note, I want to comment on how absurd I think the position of the governors is. Governors cannot restrict who lives in their states once an individual is living in the US. There is absolutely nothing they can do to prevent refugees from living in their states. The only things they can do is make it difficult for them to get state benefits and jobs. If these people really are easily swayed to becoming terrorists, this is the last thing we should be doing.