Remember way, way back in the olden days—2014—when Ebola was the fear porn du jour? Kinda how “radicalized” Muslim-Americans are now?
What was the solution that some people called for to end the scourge of Ebola? Remember? Ban Africans from entering the U.S. For instance:
“It needs to be solved in Africa, but until then, we should not be letting these people in, period,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which held the hearing.
“I restate my ongoing concern that administration officials still refuse to consider any travel restrictions for the more than 1,000 travelers entering the United States each week from Ebola hot zones,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who heads the subcommittee on oversight and investigations and led the hearing.
“A month ago the president told us someone reaching our shores with Ebola was unlikely, and that we’ve taken the necessary precautions to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus does not get on a plane to the United States,” Murphy said. “Screening and self-reporting have been a demonstrated failure.”
Turns out that screenings at airports were implemented, a common-sense move. Thomas Eric Duncan (aka “Patient Zero”) died, his nurse got Ebola from him but survived (and has sued the hospital where she worked), and Duncan’s fiance never exhibited any Ebola symptoms despite her proximity to him. Her name is Louise Troh, she is alive and well today.
Perhaps you already see where I’m going with this. Trump has infamously called for a travel ban on Muslims:
“Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called Monday for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.
‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,’ a campaign press release said.”
Trump of course knows such a ban is completely absurd and pointless. He’s playing the fear card, which is inexplicably the ace in the hole here in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” He’s also making a mockery of the very institution he claims to vigorously support, i.e., law enforcement. How is that, you ask? Well, by resorting to a ban, he’s basically telling the TSA and customs agents, as well as regular cops that they can’t do their jobs of “keeping us safe.” The implication (whether intended by Trump or not) is that law enforcement is so ineffective and useless that they can’t be trusted to do their jobs.
Furthermore, Trump’s idea that “our country’s representatives” somehow can’t “figure out what is going on” is also completely asinine. What has happened is that “our country’s representatives” have kicked the hornet’s nest a thousand too many times, as General Mike Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently told Germany’s Der Spiegel:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In February 2004, you already had Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in your hands — he was imprisoned in in a military camp, but got cleared later as harmless by a US military commission. How could that fatal mistake happen?
Flynn: We were too dumb. We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, “Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.” Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Islamic State wouldn’t be where it is now without the fall of Baghdad. Do you regret …
Flynn: … yes, absolutely …
SPIEGEL ONLINE: … the Iraq war?
Flynn: It was huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.
Did you catch that? The US had the alleged leader of ISIS is custody in 2004 but let him go. “We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment,” Flynn says. Sure they didn’t. Did they understand who they had when bin Laden met with a CIA agent in July 2001 in Dubai? Somehow these “terrorists” always just manage to slip through our fingers, like bin Laden supposedly did at Tora Bora.
So “what’s going on?” The military-industrial complex needs more wars. As Michael Moore’s paraphrase of Orwell goes, “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” Or as Dwight D. Eisenhower put it:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
And let’s not forget the United States supported the creation of ISIS and its allies have trained, funded, and provided weapons to ISIS (see NATO ally Turkey’s oil dealings with ISIS):
“Yes, you read that correctly:
… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime ….
In other words, the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – the West, our Gulf allies, and Turkey wanted an Islamic caliphate in order to challenge Syrian president Assad.”
Enough asides, though…
The thing is, a travel ban to combat Ebola, an indiscriminate and merciless killer, turned out to be unnecessary. Common sense prevailed. A travel ban to combat radical Islam is also unnecessary, because we already know the way to stop it (and we already know “what is going on”): stop the wars and vacate the bases. As Chomsky said:
“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”