Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Other Shoe Finally Drops

Having made a horrible, bloody mess of Iraq, damaged America's strategic interests in the Middle East, trashed our alliances overseas, and dangerously overstretched the U.S. military, President Bush takes the final step toward making Iraq the perfect disaster.

The Bush administration plans to allow about 7,000 Iraqi refugees to settle in the United States over the next year, a huge expansion at a time of mounting international pressure to help millions who have fled their homes in the nearly four-year-old war.

The United States has allowed only 463 Iraq refugees into the country since the war began in March 2003, even though some 3.8 million have been uprooted. A senior State Department official described the expanded program on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement later Wednesday.

The U.S. finds itself confronted by a wave of Muslim terrorism directed against its citizens, homeland and interests abroad. So what is the absolute last thing the U.S. should do: invite more Muslims to its homeland. But that is exactly what President Bush wants to do. He is now going to invite thousands of Arabs - mostly Muslim, though possibly also some fleeing Christians, since Iraq's ancient Christian community has been totally destroyed by the war - whose homes and families have been destroyed by the U.S. invasion to come and settle in a country totally alien to their culture, ethnicity and customs. Brilliant. Europe did this in the 1960's. Now Paris burns nightly, Londoners live in fear of subway bombings and Berliners read of honor killings in the morning newspapers.

This gives the lie (yet again) to President Bush's ridiculous claim that he was fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we wouldn't have to fight them here. If the object is not to fight them here, then you don't import the very population from whence the terrorists come. Not all Muslim turn to terror, of course. But we can't tell which Muslim will heed the call for jihad. They don't come sprouting horns or with sporting tails. We do know that all jihadis come from Muslim communities. Thus, if you want to avoid Muslim terrorists, keep Muslims far, far away.

Of course, the President has long given the lie to the above-mentioned argument since he leaves the borders of the U.S. wide open, easily penetrable by anyone with the will to make the crossing. Muslim terrorists aren't stupid. They know how to wage a multi-front conflict. If they wish to come to the U.S., President Bush has gone out of his way to make it easy for them to do so. Now, he's actually inviting potential terrorist recruits to come and live in America.

The U.S. doubtless has a special responsibility to help those displaced by President Bush's foolish war. But inviting them to live in the U.S. isn't part of that responsibility. It is yet another reckless act committed by an administration wholly disconnected from reality. Returning to Salon after a long absence, Camille Paglia neatly and efficiently eviscerates the administration, easily capturing the glaring intellectual deficit and cognitive delusion that marks the Bush presidency, while demanding the immediate end to the farce.

Let's cut to the chase. I am as adamantly opposed to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq as I was before it happened, when the mainstream press abandoned its watchdog role and servilely capitulated to administration propaganda. The thinness of the American case for war was on blatant display in Colin Powell's February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council, which I saw on live TV and scorned as a series of slick rhetorical gimmicks and preposterously unpersuasive photos.

I want American troops out now -- not next year but tomorrow. Support of the troops means not subjecting them to an unsustainable and ultimately unwinnable mission, cooked up by armchair cowboys who see the world in simplistic cartoon terms ("good guys" vs. "bad guys"). The provincial philistines of the Bush administration blundered into the Mideast with little more than superficial knowledge of its tangled history and ancient culture. And they have colossally wasted American blood and treasure on a project that had only a tangential relation to the atrocity of 9/11.

The waste of American blood and treasure, and the sullying of America's good name, won't end any time soon. Bush will remain in office until January 2009, and there is no sign apparent that he will suddenly develop the intellectual capacity to grasp the reality which has eluded him for so very long.

It will only get worse from here.


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