While it first appeared as if the bombings over the weekend weren’t related to terrorism, now that a suspect has been taken into custody, the facts have changed and the attacks are now being called an “act of terror.”
The suspect, Afghanistan native Ahmad Khan Rahami, was captured after a shootout with police on Monday. As it turns out, Rahami was captured because he wasn’t particularly intelligent in his execution of the Manhattan attack.
That they captured Rahami is good news. Hopefully, he’ll be tried and if found guilty, he’ll be sentenced to a prison term like the common criminal he is. That’s not enough for Ted Cruz, though, who announced earlier today that he wants to see the entire refugee program axed as a result of the weekend attacks.
In a statement released on Monday, the man with the face voted “Most Punchable of 2015-16” attempted to link the attacks with the country admitting refugees, and claimed that we’ve got to stop letting people in from countries that are “hotbeds” of terrorism.
That this overlooks European countries who could also qualify as “hotbeds” of terrorism and gleefully ignores the fact that you’re more likely to be killed by domestic terrorists than you are foreign ones in favor of scoring cheap shots against President Obama is probably intentional. Hell, you’re more likely to be killed by gun violence than you are terrorists of any stripe. Don’t give me this “I want to be safe” bullshit when you cling to your guns like the outdated and offensive stereotype of the colloquial “dumb hick.” If you have a gun, you’re a greater danger to your fellow citizens, statistically speaking, than a terrorist is.
“Two years ago, a focused, aggressive military campaign against ISIS’s claimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq might have effectively destroyed the terrorist group, but ISIS has instead spent the last year seeding radicals in the West, disguising jihadis as refugees and radicalizing Muslim citizens online and encouraging them to remain in the U.S. and fight here”
We’ve had an aggressive, military campaign against ISIS. We haven’t had boots on the ground, though — is that what Cruz wants? Boots on the ground?
Or maybe he wants President Obama to make all the ills of the world go away by saying those two magic words: “radical Islam.”
If only the world were as simple as Cruz himself.
Cruz, and others like him, aren’t really interested in figuring out anything about terrorists. You’ll get the usual empty-headed rhetoric: they’re “insane” and they’re “evil,” which makes zero attempts to understand why terrorists act and feel the way they do.
Understanding isn’t excusing. But Cruz’s black and white madness masquerading as morality is useless here. It actively resists attempts to understand what motivates terrorists, thereby allowing us to head them off at the pass and fight back at the heart of the ideology. And no, it’s not because “they hate our freedom.”
If you’re lucky, you’re not working to barely survive. And if you are working to barely survive, and you’re one medical emergency away from bankruptcy and total economic destitution, what freedom do you have to hate? All I see is a soul chained to a massive capitalist system that leeches you for everything you’re worth without giving back and threatens you with death from starvation or homelessness if you disagree. I can totally see all the freedom from here.
Cruz concluded with his call to cut the refugee program because nothing wins over hearts and minds like being lumped in with the population that wants you dead:
“Congress should act to prevent Americans who have travelled abroad for training from returning here, and to stop the flow of refugees from hotbeds of terrorism in the Middle East that President Obama is determined to bring to our country. We can’t overcome our enemies by pretending they don’t exist, and undermining our first line of defenders.”
How exactly do you know if someone who traveled abroad for training? Do you think they’re going to just share with the TSA agent that they spent their weekend training with ISIS in one of the Saharan countries in Africa? This is pablum. I’d accuse Cruz of wasting words, but his greater sin is wasting skin.
Rahami, the man who started this, is a naturalized citizen from Afghanistan. As Talking Points Memo notes, it’s not clear how he immigrated to the United States, but it very likely wasn’t with the refugees.
This isn’t the first time Cruz, son of an immigrant, has zeroed in on refugees. He’s been doing this for nearly a year and introduced a bill last November that’d ban refugees from Syria as a consequence of the attacks in Paris, calling what happened in Paris, “lunacy.”
Of course, when questioned about his father’s own status as a refugee — from Cuba, under the government of Fidel Castro — Cruz insisted that it was “different.” Presumably, because it affects him personally.
For the curious, it’s probably not intentional that Cruz’s statement reflects Trump’s call to profile people “from that part of the world.” Xenophobes of a feather and all that.
Featured image via Scott Olson/Getty Images