Sunday, April 21, 2013

Extraordinarily Effective Exposition

It was in the 1980s- in this case (video, below), 1983.  Most people were watching CBS, NBC, ABC, or perhaps PBS and were repeatedly asked:  what would you do for a Klondike bar?

So, then, what would you do for comprehensive immigration reform?

In the case of President Barack Obama, it would be to deliver a subtly crafted, carefully naunced, yet (and?) brilliant statement (transcript, here) following the capture of the presumptive second culprit in the Boston marathon bombing, Dzokhar Tsarnaev.  James Robbins of the American Foreign Policy Council strikes a balance as he observes

Attention has focused on the Tsarnaev brothers' Chechen background. Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian republic, has been a hotbed of terrorist violence for two decades, and has suffered two devastating wars to squelch its separatist movement. But it is unlikely that the accused brothers Tsarnaev believed they were striking a blow for Chechen independence by killing innocent Americans. The United States is not a player in that war. Rather, it is more likely that the brothers were in the grip of the same radical Islamist ideology that has inspired other domestic terrorists such as Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistan-born Times Square bomber. This was not Chechen terror coming to America but jihadist terror, which has become a more prominent part of the Chechen conflict in recent years.

It is premature to call this home-grown terrorism since there are hints of foreign ties. The FBI had questioned Tamarlan in 2011 at the request of a foreign government, probably Russia, perhaps because he was corresponding with radicals abroad through the internet. This was the case with Nidal Hassan, who committed the Fort Hood massacre in 2009. Tamarlan had an in-person opportunity for such contacts when he visited Russia last year. A critical part of the investigation will be putting together the pieces that point to possible involvement by foreign terrorist organizations or movements.

Some Republicans are ready to panic in the name of national security.   In a joint statement, Senators Graham, McCain, and Ayotte, and Representative Peter King argued

The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent … We should be focused on gathering intelligence from this suspect right now that can help our nation understand how this attack occurred and what may follow. That should be our focus, not a future domestic criminal trial that may take years to complete.

In a similar vein, President Obama, in his remarkably savvy statement Friday night, reflected the terror and panic of the American people by stating

And so I’ve instructed the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and our intelligence community to continue to deploy all the necessary resources to support the investigation, to collect intelligence, and to protect our citizens. We will determine what happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”  We don't know yet what political or social objectives, if any, the brothers Tsarnaev had, but that didn't stop the pandering President from labeling "these terrorists." But it should be effective in helping gin up whatever steps the President makes to expand the national security state, as well as to rationalize the Justice Department's abuse of the public safety exception and a delay in bringing the suspect to Court.

Brilliantly, however, immediately before pronouncing the presumed bombers "terrorists," Obama had remarked

Obviously, tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers. The wounded, some of whom now have to learn how to stand and walk and live again, deserve answers.

Notice:  "young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country;"  not "young men who were born in Chechnya, are Muslim, and grew up and studied in the U.S.A."  It wasn't necessary for the President to refer to their land of birth or their religion, but if he is to refer to them as being raised in America, surely the fact that they were born abroad and are Muslim is not insignificant.

They are, however, facts which (probably unjustifiably) threaten the President's dream of comprehensive immigration reform.  And so he cleverly omitted some details while mentioning others.  And, intimidated as ever by his domestic political enemies, he was determined to reinforce the assumption that the young men are terrorists- just not Muslim, nor foreign.

A great strategic thinker, Barack Obama once again has seen the chess board two steps ahead of the rest of us.  His political capital in executing national security, and foreign, policy grows as the monstrously violent acts in Boston are accepted as terrorism.  And his pursuit of a legalization/citizenship policy for illegal immigrants can only be enhanced by a national debate about how the minds and psyche of the offenders were warped by their experiences in America, and only, America.

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