Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Syrian Refugees, radical Islam, and quantifying life/death tradeoffs

I'll probably start a flame war for this and get labeled all kinds of things, but sometimes I just have to air my opinions...not that I expect anyone to listen.

Syrian Refugees
On the "should the US take Syrian refugees?" question....

It's great that some people like to say that the Governors are anti-immigrant or that some people are isolationist and cold-hearted.

And I wouldn't be surprised if that were in some cases.

However, I would dare suggest that it's not true in all cases.

Yes, we are a country of immigrants. My grandparents were immigrants. We thrive on immigrants. We need more immigrants.

But to suggest that we should take Syrian refugees without some sort of rigorous checking/profiling is lunacy, especially what just took place in Paris.

The brutal reality is that there is a legitimate risk that amongst this particular group of refugees/immigrants to the US, there are some who have, as their sole purpose, the destruction of the US.

Has this ever happened before? Maybe. If so, remind me please.

Germans, Italians, Jews, Vietnamese boat people, Chinese migrant laborers who built the railroads, etc....all were looking for economic/political opportunity.

Not looking to do intentional harm on a national scale.

Of course...I'm not saying 100% of Syrian refugees are hell bent on the destruction of the US.  Far from it.

However, given the, shall we say, relative high propensity of anti-Western terrorist attacks that are conducted by radical Islamists hailing from the Middle East, it's nothing short of suicidal to pretend otherwise.

(And this guy in the Washington Post who has the temerity to try and draw lines between Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany and Syrians trying to escape is just a moron. (Ishaan Tharoor)

We'll leave aside the issue that there are, what, 23, 30, 50 (I have no idea how many) Arab/Muslim countries today.)

Quantifying Life/Death Trade-Offs
If the US lets in 10,000 refugees without special security efforts and .01% of them (that would be 10 ppl) committed an atrocity on the level of Paris' attacks or 9/11, would that be a worthwhile trade-off?

If you do the math, you let 9,990 legitimate Syrian refugees have a better life in the US, but those 10 people kill 1,000 or say, 500, or even 200 citizens as a result, is that a worthwhile trade?

If it is, then everyone who says "let the refugees in without screening" might as well as admit they are comfortable with that equation.

It's actuarial.

And while we are admitting my opinion, one of the things you have to do before you solve a problem is name it.  And name it accurately.

The problem isn't terrorism. That's the symptom. The problem is radical Islam/jihadist ideology.

No one (well, not I at least) is saying "every Muslim is a terrorist."  But we are saying..."um, there seems to be an evolving pattern of radical Islamist groups who say they are going to attack the West and then do, killing innocent people."

We can't begin to win until we change from "War on Terror."

Ok, rant over. Flame away.

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