disgusting. foul. rancid. just plain bad.
I was too disgusted about this yesterday to post anything, and even today it's difficult to discern if this action is more shocking and disturbing from its remeiscence to the reprehensible internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII or from its sheer ineptitude. It's hard to imagine a more counterproductive policy. Make no mistake about it: many of those arrested for lacking paperwork were in that condition because of delays at the INS. And while some may crow at their preception of a triumph for law and order, these were people who voluntarily stepped forward to comply with an official request--hardly the actions of a security risk. I feel confident in predicting, though, that we won't see much in the way of cooperation in the future.
In his tasty rant on this nauseating event, Demosthenes puts it in perspective:
People, this sort of thing plays into Osama's hands. In fact, it doesn't just play into Osama's hands, it does his job for him. Kindly remember that the entire point of Osama's quest is to convince Muslims that they need to reject the west and its embodiment, the United States, as a corrupt and evil influence. He wants to start a war between the west and Islam, and (I'm sure) is hoping that the United States will start it for him, so Muslims around the world will believe that they are next; that they are targets no matter how moderate, peaceful, and westernized they are. By doing this, the United States is reinforcing that belief. By arresting Iranians, the United States is showing that this is not limited to the Arab world and never was, and is ensuring that the clerics have a powerful weapon to keep the population in line and supporting their government- fear of the United States. Indeed, people that might not have been bothered or offended by attempts to keep terrorism in line will be forced to be suspicious, because the United States government has proven through this action that it doesn't matter who you are or where you live... as long as you come from the wrong country, you're a suspect.
The problem isn't just that these people are being arrested. The problem is that everybody outside the United States is going to know that they've been arrested, why they've been arrested, why it's a scam, and what it says about the respect the United States government has for the human rights of those it thinks may at some point threaten its security. And no amount of spin doctoring from bloggers, the punditry, the administration, or God Himself is going to make a whit of difference. They're going to know, and they're going to understand, and it's quite possible they're going to do something about it. And if they think that they're targets, not all the American pop culture in Hollywood is going to make a lick of difference.
Several times before, I've questioned this Administration's handling of the war on terrorism, and I've also noted that Bush has by now amply belied his oft-claimed honesty. This latest development makes it crystal clear that Bush was also lying when he uttered the following words (emphasis mine):
"I...do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and I will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."