Ship of Frightened Fools and Cowards
“The Statue of Liberty, given to us by France says ‘Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ – Nowhere does it say to dismiss them if you’re scared.”
American Congressman, Tim Ryan
In the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, fear is rising to the level that borders on hysteria and panic. Imagine that, millions of people in countries across Europe and North America are willing to throw away their constitutions, decency, courage, tolerance, even democratic rights in the face of a threat by an organization that numbers fewer than 80,000.
What is even more ironic is that the total size of the militaries of the sixty-member anti-ISIS coalition numbers around 15 million full-time troops and reservists.
And still many feel helpless as they stand in their own emotional urine, trembling in fear which they express in xenophobic, bigoted rage.
The Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, was one of the first to demand the federal government accelerate the processing of Syrian refugees to Canada just a couple of short months ago. Now he is calling on the federal government to suspend accepting any refugees. He would like you to believe that this is leadership rather than political cowardice.
A mosque has been burned to the ground in Peterborough, a Muslim-Canadian mother was attacked and beaten outside of her children’s school in Toronto, and a Sikh had his photograph altered by yet another coward to make him look like he was a jihadist bomber. The fear is so palpable that some among us can’t tell the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh or courage and cowardice. Just today, for example, a Muslim family were pulled from a flight in Baltimore for watching the news.
And what is all this hate and anger and fear accomplishing? Not much for us, to be perfectly frank, but it is giving ISIS a recruiting boost. The cowards among us are playing right into the hands of the terrorists whose objective is to make us so afraid we undermine our own way of life.
One mayor has even gone so far as to call for concentration camps in which Syrian refugees will be interred. Really? We’re that afraid that we’re considering emulating Hitler’s Third Reich?
And here’s the thing that really crawls under my hat. The refugees are not and never were the problem. They’re just every day folks trying to get away from people trying to kill them and their families.
Consider some basic facts.
Fewer than 2% of all terrorist attacks in Europe over the past 5 years were committed by Muslim extremists. The bulk of the attacks were committed by separatist groups or lone wolf fanatics not linked to Islam or ISIS. The worst terrorist attack was committed in Norway by Anders Breivik an anti-Muslim, xenophobic, Christian fundamentalist who slaughtered 77 people, most of whom were teenagers.
Since 9/11, 37 people have been killed in the United States by Muslim extremists compared to 190,000 people murdered by fellow Americans. Between 1980 and 2005 (including the 9/11 attack) 42% of all terrorist attacks in the U.S. were by Latino extremist groups and only 6% by Muslim terrorists.
More than 750,000 refugees from the Middle East have resettled in the United States since 9/11 and not one – let me repeat that – not one has been charged or even arrested for links to jihadi terrorism.
In 2013, it was more likely an American could be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. In that year, three Americans were killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, five were killed accidentally by toddlers playing with their parents’ gun.
All of the terrorists in the last Paris attacks, and the attack on Charlie Hebdo, were French nationals. The one ‘Syrian refugee’ passport was proven to be a fake, planted at the scene of one of the attacks.
In Canada, both terrorists attacks committed in the past year were committed by Canadians.
As for security considerations? They’re so onerous that is much easier for a would-be terrorist to enter Canada or most other countries on a tourist visa than to go through the security checks and investigations in place by both the United Nations and each country’s own immigration departments. The process is long and it is rigorous involving the UN, Canada Border Services Agency, Interpol, CSIS and Immigration Canada. Only a fraction of all applicants make it through the process to get approval for resettlement.
At the same time that many in North America are spewing hatred and demanding an end to refugee resettlement, France – you remember France, the country that was attacked – are calling on the world not to blame refugees and to accept them. France has committed to resettling 30,000 refugees since last Friday’s massacre. It takes real courage to retain your sense of humanity in the face of danger, more courage than were seeing from the frightened fools over here.
It’s bizarre. The frightened bigots among us are making refugees fleeing a brutal war zone into the enemy. They aren’t much different than the same frightened xenophobes who shut their borders to Jews trying to flee the rise of Nazi Germany or who interred Japanese-Canadian and Americans during WWII even though most were neither dual citizens or had any direct links to Japan.
Is that really the society we want for ourselves and our families. Is that really the price we’re prepared to pay for the illusion of freedom or is the freedom and equal rights guaranteed to all just another illusion we abandon when we’re afraid? It takes courage to stand up for who and what you are when it is under attack, a courage sadly lacking in too many these days.
The simple fact is that it is these same bellicose bigots who are handing ISIS all the propaganda victory they need for recruitment to their barbaric cause. They are the fifth column within our own society who are doing more damage to our countries, our values and our way of life than any terrorist cell could ever hope to achieve.
These are the kind of people who would elbow others out of the way as they rushed to the lifeboats on a sinking ship.
These same people talk tough but it’s only talk. They’re demanding Canada continue its involvement in the air strike campaign against ISIS without any knowledge of just how effective that campaign or our involvement has been.
To date, there have been 57,000 plus coalition air strikes against ISIS. Canada participated in 3% of them of which 1/3 were non-combat and half of the remainder were unsuccessful at finding a target upon which to drop their bombs.
How effective has the overall campaign been? Judge for yourself. When it started, ISIS numbered fewer than 30,000 fighters. It now has more than 80,000. In the beginning ISIS had only small-arms, now it has artillery. It occupied a portion of Northern Iraq, now a year later it occupies most of Northern Iraq and a good chunk of Syria along with five satellite states in other Middle Eastern countries. A year ago, it was alone. Now it is allied with Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Al Shabbab along with a dozen other smaller groups.
Further, our own coalition allies have played politics to the point that you begin to wonder if they are serious about treating this as a war – particularly when you see how Russia prosecutes a war against it’s enemies.
Turkey, a NATO member, is a gateway that could easily have shut off ISIS supply lines but didn’t. The United States has played a carelesslly dangerous game in Syria trying to contain ISIS without destroying it in the hope that ISIS would bring about the overthrow of the Assad regime. Now it has been revealed that ISIS is selling crude on the black market to countries outside of the Middle East including – get ready for it – some G20 countries.
Really? This is the coalition the chicken hawks want us to continue to support? Our own allies are undermining our efforts to defeat ISIS.
France has already thrown in with Russia to form their own mini-coalition against ISIS which pretty much tells you their opinion of the coalition led by the Americans and they have good reason to be skeptical. Just today, Barack Obama rejected a call from France to join in his country’s increased action against ISIS.
The other fact is that you cannot win a war with air power alone. At some point there has to be boots on the ground to hold the territory that the air power made available. Canada has a mere six metal-fatigued and dated CF-18s in the air campaign but it has a highly trained, experienced army that was battle-hardened in Afghanistan. The new government wants to contribute that expertise to training Iraqi and Kurdish forces to make them more effective on the ground.
Many conservatives are condemning this decision but it is the same decision the previous Conservative government made in Ukraine and it makes sense. You commit the best resources you have and put them where they will be most effective.
“…troop training is the “most important” project NATO could undertake if it gets involved.” – Jim Stavridis. former U.S. Navy Admiral and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe
It is a lesson that is lost on those who put ideological hysteria ahead of doing what is right.
Make no mistake about it. We are a nation at war but we are not at war with Syrian refugees nor are we at war with Islam or Muslims in general. We are at war with ISIS and it’s time our leadership and the loud cowards among us accepted that. It time our leaders started acting responsibly, stepped up and did the right thing rather than offering illusions of military action. It’s time those of our allies who are buying from the enemy or refusing to take the fight to the enemy got called out and it’s long past time that the cowards in this country, and others, were nailed to the wall for spreading hatred and violence against the innocent simply because of their religion or their cultural background.
We’re Canadians and we’re better than the cowardice and bigotry we’re seeing in some quarters these days.
© 2015 Maggie’s Bear
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