Election 2016

Updated! If Syrian Passport of Paris Bomber is a Fake, Will Guvs Let in Refugees?

And will Ted Cruz consider that the Mideast is not suffering from too little US attention but too much?


The Daily Beast

Writing at The Daily Beast, Justin Miller and Michael Weiss (the latter literally wrote the book on the Islamic State) report:

One of the Paris attackers was supposedly found with a Syrian passport—leading Republican governors here in America to vow to block Syrian refugees from entering their states.

But that passport was a fake, French officials told The Wall Street Journal, which means the governors' freakout over refugees was likely based on a lie.

Weiss and Miller talked to a former ISIS member, who explained:

"There are people who go back and forth to Aleppo or Hama or Latakia or Tartus—you give them $1,000 and a nice photograph, and they'll print you a good passport," Abu Khaled, a former member the Islamic State's internal security service, Amn al-Dawleh, said Monday.

"The guys with the regime are corrupt; they'll give you whatever you want for money," he added.

That's not the only way, though. A reporter for the London Daily Mail purchased an identical passport online for $2,000. German customs agents in September seized a shipment of fake Syrian passports being sold to asylum seekers from countries like Iraq, Libya, and Egypt. (Syrians get automatic refugee status in the European Union.) Many of the forgeries are suspected to come from Turkey.

Whole thing.

Updated at 4:00 P.M.: Based on various responses in the comments thread, Twitter, and elsewhere, it's clear my point in talking about the fake passport was far from clear. It's simply this: The fake passport (and others like it) shouldn't have been tough to spot.

As The Wall Street Journal makes clear, we're not talking perfect forgery here:

Short of staff and equipment, Greek police carry out only a simple procedure that involves taking people's data and fingerprints, and sometimes asking them a few questions, before giving them permission to travel onward, deeper into Europe.

Upon his arrival in Leros, the Paris assailant was checked against police databases under his Syrian identity, Greek officials say. Nothing was found. Police on Leros didn't spot that the passport was fake.

Washington Examiner

That sort of ruse shouldn't be a problem for United States officials to detect, given the strength of its vetting process (which takes a year or more). To the extent that someone wants to deny refugees entry, let them argue straightforwardly for that goal on whatever grounds they they appropriate. But don't lay the blame on the idea that ISIS operatives are masterminds because they might sneak past Greek bureaucrats. As Ronald Bailey noted yesterday, not one single act of terrorism in the United States has been caused by a refugee. [End Update]

To date, the United States has accepted about 1,900 refugees from a part of the world it has done so much to destabilize. The Obama administration has said that it will accept around 10,000 refugees in the coming year even as the overwhelmingly though not exclusively Republican governors of about two-dozen states have said they will refuse to accept any refugees.

There is little doubt in my mind that Barack Obama has been a disastrous president, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Indeed, his only rival is his predecessor, George W. Bush, whose policies he has done so much to continue and even expand. Recall for instance that Obama tripled troop strength in Afghanistan for no gain and that in various ways he has been far worse on civil liberties issues, even going so far as to assert the right to maintain a secret kill list that didn't require any sort of external review. And there is no question that improvised "red line" in Syria he drew in August 2012 helped to speed up all the bad things currently emanating out of the Middle East.

And yet, the level of hysteria, borne out of both general ignorance and partisanship, that is coursing through the Republican Party is as disturbing as Obamas demonstrated incompetence. On Hugh Hewitt's radio show, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is also running for the Republican presidential nod, slammed Obama for not being aggressive enough in propping up Hosni Mubarak in the past and for not bombing the shit out of Syria in the present.

What Cruz counsels is an air war in which U.S. forces will 

destroy ISIS. We should use overwhelming air power. To put it in context, in the first Persian Gulf war, we were launching 1,100 air strikes a day. Right now, Obama's launching between 15 and 30. It's utterly ineffective. It's photo op foreign policy. We need massive air power combined with arming the Kurds. The Kurds are our allies. They are fighting ISIS. They are our boots on the ground. And we should stand with France and Europe and utterly defeat ISIS through air power, arming the Kurds, and doing whatever it takes to destroy and defeat them.

Let's leave aside a number of things, such as how Turkey, Iran, Syria, and even the Kurds themselves suddenly get enough arms to protect themselves. While these groups are all in various ways on the same side fighting ISIS, nothing but enmity exists among them. The fantasy of an air-war-only is an old and toxic one. And it's more credible than Cruz's rant about Obama's supposed world view taught to him at Harvard Law (which Cruz also attended, as he never fails to mention):

The view of the elite academy is that America's leadership in the world is fundamentally illegitimate, that it is the product of oppression and hegemony, it is a remnant of an evil imperialism. That is what manifests it in Obama saying we should lead from behind. He believes the world is better off when America recedes from the world and doesn't lead, because our leadership is illegitimate. And if you look at what President Obama has done for seven years, along with Hillary Clinton, it has been to abandon our friends and allies, whether the U.K., whether Canada, whether Israel, and to appease and to show weakness towards our enemies. The reason Obama was not marching with France is because he thinks America shouldn't be leading and shouldn't be winning.


It takes a pretty nimble, self-deluding mind to suggest that Obama has spent his presidency running from foreign intervention. As noted, he tripled troop strength in Afghanistan and pushed to keep troops in Iraq after the withdrawal negotiated by George W. Bush. He's dispatched soldiers all over the place, including to fight Joseph Kony and Boko Haram in Africa, threats which in no way concern American interests. He lobbied incessantly to attack Syria, stopped mostly by the Rand Paul's pushback. Was the Libya intervention stupid because it has America "leading from behind" or because we had no reason to be there in the first place? Cruz seems to think it's the former. Obama has consistently kept money flowing to the Pentagon and he has shown no shyness about droning people in countries with which we are not at war. None of this is to suggest Obama is competent or that any of these things is a good idea. But to portray Barack Obama as some sort of Neville Chamberlain-Meets-George McCovern peacknik is plain nuts.

If Obama has at times acknowledged that the United States should not be in charge and responsible for every conflict every where in the world, good on him. But he really hasn't done that, despite whatever propaganda he fell for and Cruz resisted (he's so smart!) at Harvard.

Any reality-based evaluation of the Middle East in the 21st century would begin with at least considering the idea that the region has not suffered from too little attention from the world's only remaining superpower but from too much.

NEXT: A.M. Links: 26 State Governors Refuse to Accept Syrian Refugees, Majority of Americans Oppose Sending Ground Troops to Fight ISIS, Russia Confirms Bombing of Russian Plane Over Egypt

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So someone buying fake documents in Syria somehow proves that terrorist are not embedded in the migration from Syria?

    You guy have really jumped the shark here,

    1. +1 Fonzi

    2. Yeah, all I’m getting from this is that terrorists from countries like Iraq, Libya, or Egypt are getting into Europe by pretending to be Syrian refugees. Perhaps our fake passport detection powers are better than Europe’s.

      1. ” terrorists from countries like Iraq, Libya, or Egypt are getting into Europe by pretending to be Syrian refugees.”

        No, ISIS must abide by the “only one fake passport per country” rule. At least according to Nick.

    3. That derp has no peak does not stop Gillespie from trying.

    4. What I see here is that even ones with paperwork, that paperwork can’t be trusted. We are supposed to be vetting these people like we have any fucking clue who they are?

      Good grief.

    5. Yea, that didn’t make much sense. We need to take in all syrian refugees and we know which are syrian refugees because of their passports? It is the fact that countries want to take in syrian refugees that make those who want to do harm pretend they are syrians. Those who are not syrians truly fleeing syria using fake syrian passports because they know they will be accepted in is a reason that we need to be skeptical of people using syrian passports. Since it is written that anyone can get a syrian passport if they have the money and they’re not being vetted before getting a passport and there is no record of their nationality presupposes the need to be skeptical.

    6. Don’t know if he got it in Syria. Read the article. It could have been online.

    7. The Tsarnaev brothers, refugee status btw, didn’t have to fake anything.

      Ramzi Yousef was a different story. He had a fake passport and applied for political refugee status, but never showed up for his hearing.

      Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh applied to be agricultural workers.

      Mohamed Osman Mohamud was a political refugee, from Somalia.

      Mir Qazi is a Pakistani who applied for political asylum with a fake passport.

      Hesham Mohamed Hadayet was on a tourist visa when he applied for political asylum.

      Yea, not any Syrians on that radically abbreviated list. Not sure if you have to go back to Sirhan Sirhan to find one, but hey why bother looking when you have a good story already written? Just press F10 and add the migrants of your choice when prompted.

  2. We’re gonna bomb them into the stone age! Because that worked so well last time!

    1. At least it won’t take many bombs.

    2. Sept 2, 1945.

    3. Tough to commit another Paris when you are only armed with rocks and pointy sticks.

      Oh wait, you were trying to be cute, weren’t you?

  3. This is a terrible argument;

    It doesn’t matter if the passport is real or fake. If the passport is real, it means some pro ISIS fighters are pretending to be part of the exodus fleeing the war. If the passport is fake, it means that lots of people who aren’t fleeing the war are pretending to be part of the exodus fleeing the war – and some of the people who are pretending to be part of the exodus are … (drumroll) … pro ISIS fighters.

    The fact that the Syrian passport was fake should make 0 difference to anyone applying reason to the topic at hand.

    If you think refugees deserve a chance to flee the conflict, it doesn’t change things (or maybe it does if the plight of the refugees means less to you than the offense at the free-riders trying to take advantage of your generosity).

    If you think refugees are a danger, the availibility of fake passports makes them no less dangerous!!!!

    1. Thank you! For a magazine entitled “Reason,” there seems to be very little of it around here sometimes. Lots of emotional arguments, just like everywhere else. Can we have one place where people actually THINK??

      1. I agree and motion for a “safe space” thread.

        1. /jazz hands. Or twinkles. I can’t remember.

          1. Fingersnaps.

            1. Gingersnaps.

              And milk, followed by a nice nap.

              1. snapdragons

                are pretty flowers

                1. Worst haiku evar.

      2. Did you see the photo of the pitiful little children Bailey put on his article yesterday? I expected better from him.

        1. I want to see pictures of the family he is hosting.

  4. So he just pretended to be a Syrian immigrant because they allow Syrian immigrants in. But if we do the same thing we won’t get the same result?

    1. Yep. If the open borders people will just keep making their arguments more and more people will be against it. It is almost like the principle of freedom of movement is over-extended and doesn’t apply to reality very well in the context of international movement.

      1. “No, because they might be homicidal religious fanatics” is a reasonable principle not easily overcome.

  5. Isn’t the concern that terrorists will be indistinguishable from refugees, not that the legitimate refugees themselves are terrorists? If so, doesn’t this guy getting thru with fake docs actually validate that concern?

    1. This is all about tradecraft. If there were no refugee crisis in Syria (or Libya) they would be using different documents. In the past SA has been a favorite. I don’t doubt that docs from Lebanon, Jordan, etc are also fairly easy to obtain and use.

      So if you are a national of France (or Belgium, Germany…) and are likely on a watch list, yes you tavel with false docs if you have any sense.

    2. Yesterday the argument was presented that no refugees have been terrorists only the children of refugees. This was supposed to be in support of accepting them.

      That one made me drop my jaw.

      1. *picks up Suthen’s jaw and hands it back to him*

  6. I don’t understand how paying to import refugees and put them up is somehow a libertarian position.

    1. That’s because you’re a racist statist slaver.

      1. Now who could argue with that?

    2. That would be a much better subject for an article than – “fake or real ID?” or “refugee vs. asylee terrorism” .

    3. Confiscating wealth at the point of a gun to centrally plan and subsidize immigration of Top Men’s vision of our future demographic is the cosmotarian way, get with the program.

    4. The only true libertarian position is missionary anal.

  7. Speaking of fantasies, where the fuck does this fantasy that ISIS can be destroyed by bombardment alone come from?

    Unless the US is planning on using nukes, all the bombardment will do is kill a bunch of them. Throughout history, all aerial bombardment could accomplish was weakening an enemy and freezing them in place so that they couldn’t maneuver. You still need guys with rifles to take back the territory.

    1. France’s terrorist problem lives in France and the rest of the EU. By bombing the Middle East, governments hope to divert attention from the fact that they can’t deal with the real problem at home.

      1. Strange they ignore the Muslim ghettos of Paris and drop bombs in the Syrian countryside instead.

        1. The French have ignored the problems in those areas so long that they can do nothing about them.

        2. France would catch a lot of grief if they started bombing Molenbeek.

          Probably not from the Belgians though.

      2. France’s terrorist problem does live in France, and that’s where they should be focusing their attention.

        And can you imagine the uproar if they did? The ‘not-all-muslims-are-terrorists’ shrieking would crack the world.

        Already every other piece in most media is about how safe and innocent and peaceful muslims are–how much would that escalate if they entered the banlieue?

        Muslims are not to be questioned, mosques are sacrosanct. Rooting out terrorists is forbidden.

        Beyond the media–imagine the whining about ‘brown people’ we’d see right here at reason if the French did what the usual suspects are pretending they want them to do. It’d be awful.

        1. While leftists and moderates might back off due to such shrieking, I imagine the right might treat it as an opportunity to treat said shriekers as traitors and deal with them at the same time.

    2. You expect a drunk to look for his keys under his car, or by the streetlight where he can see?

    3. we could dump charlie sheen there. low risk(or should I say high risk) high reward.

    4. I don’t think that anyone is claiming that ISIS can be annihilated by air power alone. It can be used with drastically varied degrees of success, though. The escalation bombing in Vietnam should have taught future commanders in chief that starting light only gives bomb-ees the opportunity to observe patterns and dig in.

      The initial bombings of ISIS in Iraq were micromanaged by DC, according to a Colonel aviator I’m close with. He told me that US pilots flew over a massive caravan including a couple thousand ISIS infantry in a couple hundred vehicles and were not given clearance to engage. In those first days, ISIS tanks and armored personnel carriers were parked en masse in large lots, but weren’t targeted. It took about a week for ISIS to adapt to the reality of a new air threat from the US, spreading out and camouflaging vehicles and changing troop garb from uniform to insurgent style. Opportunity lost.

      Though I’m not sure how I feel about dropping bombs in Iraq and Syria right now, I’m certain that the campaign was neutered by a strategy that was more geared toward dampening political heat for the president than incapacitating ISIS.

      1. Every time I see that picture of a column of ISIS troops and equipment marching in line towards the next city they were going to attack I wonder “why the fuck is that column not being used for A-10 target practice?”

        Total lost opportunity.

    5. You still need guys with rifles to take back the territory

      The US can’t even figure out who should have the territory. See “Iraq – Ground War” for who got the territory once the US took it from Hussein.

  8. Be kind to Nick. It’s a tough time for open borders advocates.

  9. Looking forward to another day of know-nothing nativism here in the comments section.

    1. Those pants won’t shit themselves, Hugh.

      1. where did all the lint in my pocket come from then?

        1. I think we have very different definitions of “lint”

    2. Aw, come on, they know something.

      1. I know that Kellog’s Corn Flakes were invented to help fight the scourge of masturbation.

    3. As opposed to the know-nothing internationalists?

      This place often sounds like Social Justice Warrior International.

      1. You clearly know nothing about the know-nothings.

        1. wouldn’t that make him an expert on them?

        2. It takes a know-nothing to know a know-nothing….. or something.

    4. Weren’t politicians like Cruz and a number of commentators here decrying the fate of Christians in Syria and calling for them to be helped? How is that going to happen if we ban all refugees from the region?

      1. Because that’s not the only way to help.

        1. There are many people who think that the answer to the world problems is to bring all the people with problems to Europe and America

      2. Yes he was. And if Syrian Christians start murdering people over here by the score, feel free to hold him accountable for that.

        And aren’t people like you the first to say that places like Syria are not our problem? If so then why do we have any obligation to accept the refugees from there?

      3. Cruz was saying Fuck Syrian Christians if they won’t become cheerleaders for Israel.

    5. Europe needs to be majority Muslim for freedom and liberty to triumph.

      1. People are fleeing the Middle East to get away from warring authoritarians and violent fundamentalists.

        1. And building the base for those very things in Europe.

        2. only to send their kids back to those places to wage jihad or try to enforce violent fundamentalism to the places they move to. I favor taking in these people(as they aren’t all bad) however we shouldn’t disregard the fact that many kids who are born in relatively free countries and are citizens there seem to want to embrace radical Islam.

          1. Look at some of the cases in this country of few that the FBI catches facilitating or attempting to join the jihad in syria.

  10. My veiw,ISIS is a middle east problem that the countries there have to solve. That being said,the refugees need to be sheltered in the middle east and Turkey. Now France and Russia are pissed.And Russia has no qualms bombing the ISIS ‘capital’ and not worring about who they kill. This is going to get messy,we need to stay out.Let them take care of their own. I see Europe closing borders and becoming a much less free area.

    1. Another name for Gun Free Zones — Europe.

  11. Let the ultra rich Arab nations take care of their own.

    1. Dubai still has huge numbers of unfinished or unsold apartments. Seems perfect.

      1. Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey could reap the many benefits that letting in hundreds of thousands of refugees would bring them. They don’t seem so keen to do so though. Surprise, surprise.

        1. But that’s because they’re meanies and not because they have any first-hand knowledge, especially of how great 100% of people behave in free market economies.

  12. I get it! It’s fake! It’s all so clear to me now…

    If the documents are fake, then ALL of the Syrian passports are fake… er….
    If the documents are fake, then SOME of the Syrian passports are fake, …maybe…
    If the documents are fake, then NONE of the Syrian passports are fake, …no…

    Wait, why does it matter if the passport was government sanctioned or not? Isn’t the point of spoofing to trick the observer, and not the holder of the document? Do we assume the sleeper cells are going to go through the legal proceedings first?

    Why are we talking about whether or not the passport was authentic or not? “In other news, a bank was robbed by a FALSE Janitorial team… needless to say we are all surprised the bank robbers would lie about their background to get past security.”

  13. what difference does it make anyway they will all move to Minneapolis anyway, and that’s practically Canada.

    1. Can we just resettle all of them to whatever part of Canada Cytoxic lives in?

      1. Why can’t the refugees go fill up China’s Ghost Cities?

        1. When you look at how the Chinese treat their Muslim minorities, I am pretty sure the “refugees” would decide going home is a really good idea if they were ever sent to China.

      2. it’s an interesting thought experiment, for sure.

        1. The last thing that would go through Cytoxic’s head before the bullet that killed him would be “these people are going to make Canada so free”. He really is that comically stupid.

      3. Now hold on, we don’t know what part of Canada that is, or what other Reason commenters may live nearby.

  14. Reason is really going to die on this hill. Suppose he wasn’t a refugee. Okay. So what? So this guy not being a refugee means none of the refugees are dangerous? I don’t see how. ISIS has made it clear they plan to continue to attack Europe and the US. How on earth could letting tens of thousands of people from the places ISIS controls be a good idea? There is no way to tell which refugees are ISIS operatives and which are not. Why is it the Germans or the French or America’s duty to risk letting ISIS operatives in their country? It is not our responsibility to fix Syria, right? So why is it our responsibility to risk our lives letting the people who live there and a lot of other places into our country?

    Ultimately, Reason seems to think that the French government owes Syrians more allegiance than it owes its own people.

    1. The problem with this hill is that there is no good outcome for having open borders with Muslim countries. The logical, inevitable outcome of such a policy is the loss of western civilization.

      1. The European experience to date is that most Muslim immigrants do not assimilate – even after a couple of generations. Expecting that to change by itself is wishful thinking. They continue to identify as Muslims more than French or Belgian.

      2. They have very large families – native Europeans in some places aren’t even replacing themselves.

      Not sure how you can process those 2 facts and still think it a good idea to spend tax-money to import hundreds of thousands more. It just accelerates Europe towards the caliphate or horrible civil war.

      1. Reason can’t process that. Libertarianism for all its virtues cannot cope with something like radical Islam. Individuality is great as long as no one decides to express their individuality in the form of killing anyone who doesn’t follow their religion. Open borders are wonderful things until a huge group of people with no intention of ever assimilating show up. The NAP is a great but it assumes everyone either buys into it or if they don’t can be deterred by the threat of jail or violence used in self defense. The NAP cannot account for someone who doesn’t care if they die and views murdering people as their sacred duty. Being armed won’t save you if the guy next to you on the train decides to blow himself up. Reason has no answer to this problem, because its ideology can’t explain or account for it happening.

        1. It really is a blind-spot I don’t get. At some point the ideological glasses have to come off for a glimpse of reality.

          1. The idea seems to be the same one that progressives operate on: all people will be good, peaceful and cooperative if we just put the right system in place. That system, of course, is my system.

        2. The libertarian responses are
          1) Judge people as individuals, not as part of a group (i.e., don’t keep good people out along with the bad)
          2) Judge people based on what they have done, not on what they might do (i.e., punish people that have committed acts of terrorism or are making material supporting/making materials plans to commit acts of terrorism).

          That position entails risks because it can be difficult to tell the good from the bad, and because acting after the fact often means acting only after innocent people have died. Of course, this is true of all criminal punishment or acts of war to some degree.

          The real question is how much risk you are willing to tolerate in pursuit of your higher ideals? Some people look at modern terrorism and say the risk is too high. Others think modern terrorism poses a highly visible and visceral but non-existential threat, and so are willing to tolerate the risk.

          1. You are right. That is the libertarian response. And that response is not going to work against a determined enemy who really means you harm.

            It is more than just “risk”. If terrorism means the odd once a decade big attack, then yes, the Libertarian response works. If it is more than that and means an attack once a week say or the once a decade attack being something like a nuclear weapon or really serious biological attack, then the libertarian response is insanity. That level of attack will destroy your civilization and society. It does no good to have “freedoms” if having them means you run the real risk of being murdered every time you go to a public event or step outside of your home. Freedom is only good if you can enjoy it. Freedom without some sense of safety and order is meaningless. That is what Libertarianism can’t account for.

            1. I broadly agree with that. But if the implication in those statements is that we actually do face a “real risk of being murdered every time you go to a public event or step outside your home” or that we face a substantial risk of an attack that “will destroy our civilization and society”, then I’m gonna have to disagree. I am 32 and never in my life have I ever felt any kind of real risk of being killed by terrorists (or anyone else for that matter). I’d say the numbers back up my feelings.

              1. That is of course the entire question. The problem is Reason doesn’t really examine it. They just assume that it couldn’t possibly ever be the case. ISIS controls a huge area and has thousands of followers. They just hit France and are clear they plan to do more. Maybe letting 100,000 Syrians into the country is a bad idea? Reason cannot seem to admit that ISIS could mean what it says and a stream of tens of thousands of refugees from a country with the world’s number one terrorist organization might create a big risk to the countries accepting them.

                If there ever was a time where it was okay to say “no we are not letting these people in”, wouldn’t this be it? If Reason won’t say it now, when will they say it?

                We are not talking about closing the borders. We are not talking about deporting some Mexican who has been living here working a job for 20 years. We are talking about not letting in 100,000 or more people from Syria. Yet, Reason treats those who object to this the same way the treat people who want every Mexican deported. Who is the fanatic here?

            2. I don’t consider terrorism the main risk. The risk is that Muslims don’t assimilate, continue to grow as a % of the population and vote as a bloc.

              When they hit about 1/3 of the population (not that far off for several western European nations), they will effectively control countries and start to transform them in Islamic Republics. Specifically targeted terrorism then becomes useful to beat down their opponents, scare them into silence or simply kill them all.

              Then it’s goodbye Western Civ – hello Medieval Arab peasant life.

              1. Terrorism is a big risk because the threat of it erodes our civilization. We no longer can have any kind of an honest conversation or criticism of Islam thanks to the threat of terrorism. Give it time and more and more things will no longer be allowed for fear of being killed.

                1. That’s the idea – destroy the will to resist before the actual battle comes. The actual battle is coming however.

                  Worked like a charm in wealthy, mostly Christian 8th Century North Africa.

                2. We no longer can have any kind of an honest conversation or criticism of Islam thanks to the threat of terrorism

                  I don’t think it’s the threat of terrorism that motivates the PC crowd. And regardless, in the U.S plenty of prominent and not so prominent people are very critical of Islam.

                  Terrorism is a risk because it scares people (which is the point), and that fear leads people to embrace ideas and policies that otherwise run counter to their values. This is much broader than any debate over letting in refugees. I’m talking PATRIOT act, foreign adventurism, fetishizing the intelligence and security apparatus…the list goes on.

                  The threat of being killed or having lots of wealth destroyed by terrorists remains low. More damage comes from the response.

                  1. I don’t think it’s the threat of terrorism that motivates the PC crowd.

                    But it motivates everyone else. The woman who did “everybody draw Muhammad Day” had to go in hiding. People like Penn Gillete openly admit they don’t criticize Islam the way they do Christianity because they are afraid of getting killed. Public debate about Islam in this country is absolutely restricted because of the threat of terrorism.

          2. Yep, that is the principled argument.

            Yet somehow, the bright lights of Reason do not think it a worthy argument – and instead engage in cheap hollow arguments and appeals to emotion.

            Strong horse indeed.

        3. The real blind spot is that the US is already a welfare state. A welfare state by definition is a segregated society with declining economic mobility that engenders hatred of its host. The US is a lot closer to the dictatorial hell-hole of Suddam Hussein than the Northern US of the 1830’s that people still wish we were.

          Once this country makes a serious effort to open economic avenues – to reduce regulation, reduce licensure, reduce victimless crimes, etc. – THEN mass immigration makes sense. Until then, it’s the avenue to reduced liberty for all. Americans like to pretend that we assimilated so many Europeans in the early 20th century, but the reality is that such immigration accelerated the welfare state.

          Even if 100% of the refugees wanted to assimilate, the fact is the welfare state will prevent a significant number of them from ever doing so. What will they do when they discover they’re shut out economically again? History will repeat.

  15. And why does his passport being fake preclude his being a Syrian refugee? I am not following that at all. Can’t he be a refugee with a fake passport? Am I missing something here?

  16. Speaking of fantasies, where the fuck does this fantasy that ISIS can be destroyed by bombardment alone come from?

    Civilizing those savages is a hands-on job. We need to be there, torturing them in person.

    They’ll renounce their barbarism, given the proper encouragement.

    1. Careful, sirrah, your patriotism is showing…

  17. Speaking of fantasies, where the fuck does this fantasy that ISIS can be destroyed by bombardment alone come from?

    Who says that it can? If there is anyone having a fantasy here, it is people who claim ISIS can be destroyed without actually killing any of them. If you don’t kill them, what do you do? Try and talk them out of it?

    1. Ted Cruz says that it can.

      1. Really? So all Ted Cruz wants to do is bomb and do nothing else? Right? He wouldn’t secure the border or do anything other than just bomb them?

        Not exactly. And moreover, what is Reason’s plan other than do nothing and make sure ISIS has the maximum possible avenues to send operatives into the US? Ed was on here yesterday saying the worst thing France could do right now is go to war over Paris. So even after they attack you and kill 129 people in your capital and do a victory dance, according to Reason at least, that is no reason to get all rash and neocon and actually defend yourself.

        What the hell is Reason’s position here other than to call anyone who might be worried about terrorists slaughtering people at rock concerts “pants shitters” and to tell everyone getting your head blown off at the odd public event is just the price we all pay for civilization?

        1. You need to understand that it is those crying ‘pants-shitter’ whose trousers, leggings and shoes are filled with feces.

          They are terrified that people are finally starting to wake up and notice that ignoring that person who keeps punching you does nothing but get you punched.

          1. Nonsense, everything will be wonderful once we import the right kind of voters. Ones that recognize international social safety nets as key to freeing minds and freeing markets.

  18. We need massive air power combined with arming the Kurds. The Kurds are our allies. They are fighting ISIS.

    I’m pretty sure our NATO allies, the Turks, have some serious reservations about that part of the plan.

    1. Yes. They do. But nothing is easy in the ME.

  19. The cork on the Sunni/Shia conflict has popped. The actual risk is an expansion of the conflict to Saudi Arabia and Iran, both of whom are funding proxy forces in the area.

    Can the genie be put back in the bottle? I doubt it. I don’t see a good option for US involvement outside of regional containment of the conflict. The Syrian refugees are just foreshadowing of what’s to come.

    Personally, I think the only long-term solution is separation. Sunnis and Shias need to be kept on opposite sides of national borders. That means a breakup of Iraq and mass migrations with significant casualties. The Kurds should get their own space as well.

    1. These sorts of conflict usually don’t end until one of two things happen; either one side completely exterminates the other or there is so much killing and misery that all of the fanatics kill themselves off and the remaining people get so tired of fighting and dying they give up on the conflict. That is likely what is going to happen with the Suni and Shia conflict. One side is very unlikely to exterminate the other. So, they are going to engage in a very long orgy of killing until both sides get tired of fighting and dying.

      The solution is to just step back and isolate the entire ME as much as possible. We are not going to stop it or do anything but cause ourselves grief by getting involved.

      1. Exactly. There are no good goals for the US other than protecting Israel. It’s a goddamned mess that is beyond our capability to fix.

      2. “So, they are going to engage in a very long orgy of killing until both sides get tired of fighting and dying.”

        Sort of like the Thirty Years War, except the Sunni vs. Shia conflict has gone on for, what, 1200or 1300 years.

  20. The US does have boots on the ground in Syria. They are called Kurds. The first sensible thing Obama has done in a LONG time.

    I’m surprised that students of current events are mostly blind to this.

    Well Obama is good at covering his tracks.

    1. OK. I should have refreshed before posting.

    2. The Kurds? You mean the people that Obama will not directly supply? The ones he insists on ‘supplying’ by sending everything through Baghdad? The same Baghdad that then delays and diverts those supplies away from the Kurds?

      Those Kurds?

  21. Ok, I think the rest of the article has been beated to death, but I can’t let this one go:

    “…and pushed to keep troops in Iraq after the withdrawal negotiated by George W. Bush.”

    This is ignorant in the extreme, or just outright mandacity. W. negotiated a time table by which the status of forces agreement would need to be renegotiated.

    When Obummer sent Joe Genius, he was sent there to make some noise and then take our ball and go home. Remember Obummer “ended the Iraq war”.

    Say what you want about the Iraq war, but by that time Iraq was MUCH better than it is now, and would have kept MORE stability in the entire region.

    1. I was in Iraq in early 2011. All combat had stopped. You didn’t have to wear your kevlar and combat gear when you were outside of the wire. There was no insurgency.

      Iraq was not a military failure. It is like Vietnam a nation building failure. What failed in Iraq was the Iraqis. After we left, much like the South Vietnamese, the Iraqis were unable to get their shit together sufficiently to protect their own borders. So when ISIS came over from Syria, they were unable to defend themselves.

      It is a complete lie to link what is happening now in Iraq to what happened from 2003 to 2011. They are two separate wars involving two different enemies. ISIS came about because of the Syrian civil war. It takes an enormous level of mendacity or stupidity to think that had the US left Saddam in power, he would have been able to stop ISIS. Assad couldn’t defeat ISIS. What makes anyone think Saddam, whose regime was in a hundred times worse shape than Assad’s, could have?

      1. ISIS came about because of the Syrian civil war.

        You keep saying this, but the evidence all points to ISIS being remnants of the Sunni insurgency that were funded by the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and others as an opposing force to Iranian influence in Iraq.

      2. It is a complete lie to link what is happening now in Iraq to what happened from 2003 to 2011. They are two separate wars involving two different enemies. ISIS came about because of the Syrian civil war.

        John perhaps you are ignorant of the fact that ISIS officer corps has a significant number of officers from Saddam Hussein’s army.

        The information, which was found on memory sticks taken from the home of Abu Abdul Rahman al-Bilawi, al-Baghdadi’s military chief of staff for Iraqi territory, who was killed in the military raid, identified two key deputies who are charged with managing terrain controlled by the Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq respectively.

        Unlike al-Baghdadi both of these men formerly held senior roles in the Iraqi military and are seasoned in battle.
        Abu Ali al-Anbari, who is charged with managing operations in the parts of Syria controlled by the Islamic State, was a major general in the Iraqi military under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, Mr Hashimi said. He’s said to hail from the northern Iraqi province of Mosul.

        Abu Muslim al-Turkmani was a lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi military’s intelligence core and also spent time as a special forces officer

        1. Okay. But that doesn’t mean they are responsible for ISIS. It just means they joined up. If Saddam had remained in power, those guys would have never caused any harm because they were employed by Saddam?

          The other thing to remember is that Saddam would likely have died of natural causes within the decade. When that happened, his idiot sons would have never been able to hold onto power and the civil war that started in Syria would have started in Iraq. The assumption behind all of the “if only we hadn’t invaded Iraq there would be no ISIS” assumes a counter factual where Saddam never dies and his regime remained stable. And you know as well as I do, that is a fantasy.

          The bottom line is ISIS was formed and grew in Syria and because of the Syrian civil war. It did not arise in Iraq. Given that fact, I don’t see how you can claim US actions in Iraq gave rise to ISIS. The Syrian civil war gave rise to ISIS. The fact that some of the people in ISIS used to work for Saddam is interesting but doesn’t change the central facts. Is it your contention that there would never have been a Syrian civil war had it not been for the refugee leaders from the old Iraqi Army? That is a pretty bold claim and one I see no reason to believe.

          1. So you don’t think there is any connection between putting thousands and thousands of Sunni fighters in the Iraqi army out of work and the materialization of a Sunni uprising shortly thereafter? No connection at all?

            1. The Syrian Civil war started in 2011. The Iraqi Army was disbanded in 2003. In the 8 years in between, there was a huge and bloody insurgency in Iraq, involving those ex Army people. That insurgency was defeated and tens of thousands of fighters both foreign and Iraqi were killed during the war.

              Then in 2011 a civil war breaks out in Syria. And you are telling me that it broke out because of all of those out of work Iraqi Army guys? You know, the same ones you were telling me five years ago were behind the since defeated insurgency. Really?

              No. The Syrian civil war broke out because it had been brewing for decades and the Arab Spring set a match to it. It wasn’t caused because the US got rid of Saddam 8 years before and ISIS didn’t form because a bunch of Saddam army guys had nothing better to do.

              1. I’m saying that had the Iraqi army not been disbanded, then there may not have been thousands and thousands of unemployed Sunni fighters out there looking for something to do. Was that the sole and only cause? I never suggested that. You’re attacking a straw man (as usual). I’m suggesting that maybe some of those fighters joined other causes and made them stronger. And the evidence agrees with that suggestion.

                1. I know what you are saying. And what you are forgetting is that those unemployed fighters found something to do; they fought the insurgency in Iraq for 8 years where a huge number of them were killed. The Syrian civil war wasn’t caused by former Suni fighters in Iraq moving to Syria. That is not what happened. The Syrian civil war started on its own.

                  1. What part of “I’m suggesting that maybe some of those fighters joined other causes and made them stronger” translates to “The Syrian civil war was caused by former Sunni fighters in Iraq moving to Syria”?

                    Are you retarded?

                    1. So all you can say is “well a few people from Saddams army joined ISIS and made it ‘stronger'” whatever that means and by how much you have no idea.

                      You just gave away your own argument. Thanks. The end of the Iraqi army did not cause Syrian Civil War and did not create ISIS. Sure, a few old Saddam hands are a part of ISIS. You have me there sarcasmic. But so fucking what?

                    2. The end of the Iraqi army did not cause Syrian Civil War and did not create ISIS.

                      I never said it did. Your straw man was the only one claiming that it did. Dolt.

                  2. Oh, and just so you know, the Syrian civil war was caused by global warming. Global warming dried up the crops and resulted in urban areas being flooded by former rural residents who started the war. NPR said so so it must be true.

                  3. This former ISIS intel guy would disagree with you:


                    1. MSimon, did you read that article?

                      Every visit, he puts people in jail, he fires people. Before I came to al-Bab, Adnani appointed a new wali from Iraq, a new chief of security from Iraq. Now in Syria we don’t have any Syrians as walis. Foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Iraq?but not Syrians. Tunisia should really open its embassy in Raqqa, not Damascus. That’s where its people are.”

                      The best you can get from that is

                      They stayed at the residence of Aleppo-born Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the second-most powerful man in this terror army. He was once the confidant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian founder of al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s original incarnation.

                      And that is not the intel guy talking. That is the reporter. And even if it is true, al-Zarqawi wasn’t a member of the Iraqi Army. He was just a guest of Saddam. Suppose Saddam were still in power, al-Zarwaqi would still be alive. What, he wouldn’t have gone to fight in Syria?

                    2. Well John (sit down?) the link I posted corroborates tarran’s link. But only if you read the correct parts. ISIS leadership is former Iraqi Army.

                    3. Abu Mohammad, the guy who is mentioned in the article is not former Iraqi Army. And the Article says ISIS is made up of everyone but Iraqis it seems. So no it doesn’t support his claim.

                    4. John,

                      The article also says that Iraqis are the leaders of ISIS and that ISIS intel is run on the Soviet/Iraqi model.

                      Now if their structure is Iraqi and the leaders are Iraqi maybe the Iraqi army disbandment had something to do with ISIS.

                      Since your mind is made up. I expect that further evidence will not change your mind.

                  4. Caused? No. Contributed to? Quite possibly. But that is not the same thing. Please try to be honest for a change.

        2. Disbanding Iraq’s military was probably the single dumbest thing that happened over there.

          1. Yup. Would have been a lot fewer IED deaths.

      3. I was in Iraq in early 2011. All combat had stopped.

        Sorta like “Jesus is coming. Look busy.” Instead it’s “The Westerners are here. Look cooperative.”

  22. As was asked yesterday of a GOP congressman, since a few of the terrorists were Belgian citizens, maybe we should reject any Belgians from coming into the country. Or maybe just Belgians with funny sounding names. Or funny sounding names from anywhere. No wonder Trump is all the rage in the GOP.

    1. Good luck Joe. Let all of them in. Bet the entire future of the Democratic party on there not being an ISIS attack on the US between now and the election. I am sure that will work out real well for you.

      1. Sounds like a threat on behalf of Republicans to shamelessly exploit mass murder for political gain.

        1. Yes Tony, holding Democrats accountable for their fuck ups is just “shamelessly exploiting tragedy”. When the Democrats do that, it is just good politics.

          You are comic gold sometimes.

        2. Tony (are you permanent?) Democrats would NEVER exploit mass murder in order to sell gun control.

  23. I’m sure the victims in France would rest easier if they knew that a terrorist/terrorists infiltrated with refugees using a fake passport rather than a real one.

    What the hell are you smoking, Nick, because I want to stay as far away from it as humanly possible.

    1. The open borders folks have been caught flat footed by the mass migrant inundation of Europe capped off by the Paris massacre. They have to say something, and Nick said something–such as it was.

      The old shtick of yelling about xenophobic pants shitters still goes over with the Reason commentariat but it won’t sell in the market.

      1. I guess the fact that all but one of the attackers was already in the country is just more yelling about xenophobic pantshitters. Facts and logic are fur librl homofags.

        1. Stunning logic.

        2. You know, will you just shut the fuck up? The exact same ululating jihadi you want to nuke when they’re over there is a fine upstanding person the minute he’s across a western border to you.


  24. Not one refugee with a real passport has done anything.

    1. “Not one refugee with a real passport has done anything.”

      Why limit your statement to refugees with REAL passports? No fakies have done anything either.

  25. The only thing as dumb as the anti-immigrant yokels using the Paris attacks to discredit immigration is Nick’s insane fixation on US intervention as the be all cause all of ME problems. Yeah Nick, the region is suffering from too much US ‘attention’. Bombs somehow created all these ideas about Islamic supremacy…which predate the bombs. I mean, that explains all the suicide bombers coming out of Panama and Grenada.

    This is so fucking typically lazy. ‘Past interventions can be connected to today’s problems (in a forced and weak way), therefore I can just use that to inveigh against other interventions. I don’t have to make real arguments.’ /NG

    Please fire Gillespie already.

    1. Bombs somehow created all these ideas about Islamic supremacy..

      And somehow those ideas magically disappear when someone immigrates to the West. You are right, Nick is delusional. Almost as delusional as you are. Nick denies the problem altogether. You seem to understand the problem but lack the ability to comprehend its implications. You are a classic example of someone allowing a fanatical commitment to an ideology make them stupid. You will believe anything no matter how counter factual if believing it is necessary to support the idea that all immigration is good at all times.

    2. And there it is–on display.

      Do your neurons fire randomly?

  26. Prediction: The Cosmo/Anarchist Cadre will invoke endless ‘pant-shitting’ strawmen to defend this faulty reasoning. Strawmen will be sacrificed by the hundreds just to draw them out. They will drain four phasers to kill thousands and STILL the strawmen will come.

    Yup, I was right.

    1. I can’t understand what is so unreasonable about saying “hey maybe we shouldn’t let a bunch of people of Syria and Afghanistan in the country right now”. Not every debate about immigration is the same. Just because you think taking a bunch of Muslims from various ME countries is a bad idea doesn’t mean you think no one should immigrate or the Honduran guy who mows your lawn is a threat to national security.

      1. Look, John, as a yokel you simply cannot have nuanced positions. The only two choices you are allowed here are open borders and vitrification by thermonuclear hellfire. Your prioritization of the risks and rewards is a priori wrong. The only proper and intelligent positions are simply beyond you.

        Oh and change your pants.

  27. The pot-smoking suicide bomber: Ex-wife reveals Paris ‘blood brother’ terrorist was a jobless layabout who spent his time taking drugs and sleeping… and never went to mosque

    Naima was married to Ibrahim Abdeslam for two years from 2006 to 2008
    Revealed the unemployed layabout’s favourite activity was ‘smoking weed’
    ‘Chilled out’ ex-husband only observed Ramadam when he forced to
    Abdeslam blew himself up outside the Comptoir Voltaire cafe on Friday


    This guy was neither an immigrant nor a devout Muslim? That’s not possible! John said so!

    1. None of these clowns are “devout”. The 911 losers went to a strip club the night before. Who do you think becomes suicide bombers? Phi Beta Kappas? Terrorists are generally losers whose loan skill in life is the willingness to do others harm.

      No shit. But what the fuck does that have to do with whether it is a good idea to let any Syrian or Afghan into the country who wants to come?

      1. Well, golly. If the terrorists aren’t Syrian or Afghan immigrants, then maybe the Syrian and Afghan immigrants aren’t terrorists. Like, and stuff, you know?

        1. Of course there are. But so what? Some of them likely are and you can’t tell who is who. Can you let go of the straw man that everyone who objects to this thinks every refugee must be a terrorist? Just for a little bit?

          1. Can you let go of the straw man that everyone who objects to this thinks every refugee must be a terrorist?

            Nobody said that. Wow. Double straw man. I crown you Fallacy Man (sorry Tony, but John has stolen your crown).

            1. If no one said that, then why the hell are you going on about it? What the hell was the point of saying If the terrorists aren’t Syrian or Afghan immigrants, then maybe the Syrian and Afghan immigrants aren’t terrorists. if not to accuse me of thinking every immigrant is?

              Why don’t you go back to just yelling strawman and Red Tony in response to everything. It seems to suit you better.

              1. if not to accuse me of thinking every immigrant is?

                Did I say “every” or “all?” No, I didn’t. By the way, I only compare you to Tony when you do Tony things. Quit doing Tony things and I’ll quit comparing you to him.

      2. Let me get this straight. None of the terrorists are devout Muslims, yet all Muslims are to be considered terrorists until they prove themselves innocent? Sure, John. Whatever you say.

        1. You didn’t get it straight.

        2. None of them live by their principles, no. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they are willing to die and kill for those principles. So who gives a fuck how they actually live?

          1. So these guys who don’t give two shits about their religion are willing to die for it? That makes sense. Oh, wait. No it doesn’t.

            1. Yes, apparently they are. I don’t what to tell you. They don’t follow their religion in their daily lives but believe in it such they are willing to kill and die for it. They are called hypocrites sarcasmic.

              1. Maybe they’re killing and dying for some other reason. I don’t know what, but if they’re that disinterested in their religion, I find it difficult to believe that that’s why they are killing and dying. Maybe it’s just an excuse. Maybe they’re doing it because they were picked on in high school, and they’re saying Islamic shit while they’re doing it because they think it’s cool. I don’t know. I’m not a mind-reader like you.

            2. Sure it does, if they think that dying for their religion grants them a free pass for not living it very well. Christians believe something very similar, after all, except that it was Christ’s martyrdom that wiped the slate clean for them rather than their own.

              1. Religion is also a convenient cover for whatever hang-up someone may have.

                “I hate those fuckers and want to kill them. For religious reasons. Yeah, religious reasons! That’s the ticket!”

                No different than Ireland – other than the phony religious cover hasn’t been used for nearly as long as in the mideast, and Ireland isn’t using holy text as its only rule of law.

                Again, the main problem isn’t the religion of the refugees, the main problem is the evil of the welfare state onto which they will be thrust.

    2. Exes are always a source of the most correct information about people.


  28. BTW, this (the current state of affairs) is basically what Bin Laden had in mind.

    Wake the sleeping giant. Set the Muslim world on fire. Watch fire spread across the globe.

  29. The interesting part of that map is how many the swing states are red.

  30. So Nick defends himself at 4:00 PM EST by going all racist on Greek bureaucrats.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.