If you’re Irish, you’ll find loose talk from the likes of Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and even Jeb Bush this week nauseating.
All their cheap talk about creating special Muslim databases, shutting down all places where Muslims gather, voting to send refugee Syrians back to their probable deaths or helping only Christian Syrians take shelter here has a particularly unsavory echo to the Irish ear.
Because we have heard it all before: nativist hordes once called us a sinister threat to their sovereignty, they too wanted to send us back to our famine torn land, and they marked us out for special discrimination and dismissal for decades.
It's an echo of a particularly shameful chapter of American history that is now being portrayed on Broadway, as actor George Takei’s “Allegiance” (a must see musical about forced Japanese internment during World War II) reminds us of the immense human cost of blanket prejudice.
ABC this AM: GS: "Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims?"
TRUMP: "No, not at all."On ABC New on Sunday morning George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump: "Are you unequivocally now ruling out a database on all Muslims? Trump's reply confirmed media reports. "No, not at all," he said. He's for databases.
But the thing about all of the GOP's reactionary round em’ up and book 'em calls is that they never worked in the past, they do not work now, and they never will. They are emotion that feels like a solution. But if ever there was a time for reason to prevail, this is it.
Let’s start here. Do you know how much it cost Osama bin Laden to launch attacks on the United States on 9/11?
It cost between $400,000 to $500,000 dollars. It was a small enough tab to have created so much human misery and destruction.
He rounded up 19 homicidal fanatics (who, by the way, were mostly Saudi) and he armed them with paper cutters. That’s all it took.
And do you know how much the war in Iraq launched by George W. Bush has cost the United States? $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits to war veterans, expenses projected to grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.
And a total of 4,491 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014.
Bin Laden realized he didn’t have the military power to create the exclusionary caliphate he dreamed of, but he saw he could use America’s power against itself to do it for him.
By invading Iraq with the British, the French, the Saudi’s and other countries, we cracked open the Middle East and destabilized Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.
Out of their ruins groups like IS sprouted, like a fungus on an exposed limb. When we blew up their lands, we gave these homicidal groups what they actually wanted, a jihad, a prelude to the Armageddon they dream of.
And after the Paris attacks last weekend what is the President of France Francois Hollande giving them? More war. The French strikes against IS’s headquarters Raqqa, were launched within forty-eight hours. He couldn’t have made them happier if he’d gift wrapped it.
To IS, every opportunity to draw us into conflict is a victory. Each attack firms their resolve, gives them propaganda material, sends them more recruits.
I would like to say that we’re smarter than this now but history doesn’t bear me out. George W. Bush’s trigger-happy finger was a disaster militarily, politically, strategically and financially.
It was a humanitarian disaster too, for our brave troops and for the estimated one million Iraqis who died after its launch.
When the Syrian refugee crisis started earlier this year, it enraged IS. They loathed the images of Europeans opening their borders and their communities to help the war ravaged refugees who arrived in Germany, France and elsewhere with just the shirts on their backs.
They also loathed the bad publicity of other Middle Eastern nations keeping their borders firmly shut to their own suffering people. That exclusion gave the lie to the Muslim brotherhood they spoke of.
So to draw the west back into the game that they want to dominate they sent eight men armed with AK47’s and suicide vests (war on the cheap again) to Paris to bait us all back into their endless conflict.
When we look at the failed states of the Middle East now we are looking at a giant smoking crater that has been relentlessly pounded since 2001. But IS looking at it and seeing its natural home. Only fanatics and theocrats can grow there now. It’s the dream of Osama bin Laden come to pass.
We have to step back. We have to stop giving them exactly what they want. We have to be smarter than this. We will need other leadership than the megaphone type that's being provided by opportunistic showboats like Trump, Rubio, Bush et al.