Thursday, November 2, 2017

Both the NYT and the WSJ miss the point on the TriBeCa terror attack

Both the WSJ editorial and Bret Stephens in the NYT are missing a crucial point that they cannot make because they are stuck in their political correctness. If Saipov’s parents had been Buddhists there would be nothing in Buddhism for him to be radicalized to. Had Saipov's parents been Buddhists there would never have been a problem in the first place .

The diversity program lottery became the Islamic roulette because Saipov was Muslim. With Muslims we should take special precaution. Why? Because Islam is also a political ideology.  During the Cold War communists could not enter  the United States except through a waiver, so since Islam is also a political ideology why are immigrants from Islamic countries not  treated the same way communists were during the Cold War? Extra screening needs to be applied to differentiate between what Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls the “Mecca Muslims” (i.e., “Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly, but are not inclined to practice violence”) and the “Medina Muslims” (who “see the forcible imposition of Shari’a as their religious duty”)

As Ibn Warraq demonstrates in his book "The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology"   Islamic terrorism is jihad and jihad is a founding Islamic concept.

The New York Times  

Bret Stephens NOV. 1, 2017

We heard what sounded like a crash and what might have been a gunshot, but it didn’t register at first. Lower Manhattan is loud at every hour with traffic and construction, and my wife and I have grown used to ignoring the ambient noise. Even when one police siren follows another. Even when it is followed by dozens more. 

Two of our three children had been out shopping for Halloween. Then our 12-year-old son came home. He told us he had seen a truck smashed on our corner; that there had been a shooting; that he’d seen what looked like blood on the windshield. He said the police were swarming the neighborhood and helicopters were flying overhead and our building was locked down. He was composed as he told us all of this. He must have missed the attack by a few minutes at most. 

Where was our teenager? We experienced a moment of parental panic until she answered her phone and came home. I checked the news and saw something about bodies strewn along the bike path along the Hudson. I must have said “terrorism.” Our 8-year-old started to cry. “We’re safe up here,” my wife assured her. “No, we’re not,” she replied, not unreasonably. 

I went downstairs to try to see things for myself, just as I had when I lived in Jerusalem during the second intifada and similar events were an almost weekly occurrence. The day was clear and crisp. There were fire trucks and gurneys outside Stuyvesant High School, the elite public school that anchors the northern end of our neighborhood. I tried to get to the bike path, but stern-looking police officers waved me off at every corner. A woman pushing an infant in a stroller was sobbing; I heard her say that she had been outside when the crash took place. I stopped a paramedic to ask what he knew about the number of casualties. “A lot,” he said. 

It was clear that terrorism had returned to Manhattan, barely a year after a bomb went off on 23rd Street and injured more than 30 people. Within an hour it became clear that it was the act of another jihadist, most likely a self-starter inspired by what he had seen on TV of similar attacks in Barcelona and Nice. Ted Cruz and other right-wing populists sometimes deride Manhattan as a liberal La-La Land of privileged people living far from the real world. But on Tuesday there was only the stark reality of multiple homicides outside our home and grim-faced emergency medical workers racing to the scene. 

Disasters that strike close to home inevitably affect us differently from those we observe at a distance. I cross the bike path near the spot where the terrorist crashed his truck every day. My kids learned to ride their bikes on the same path that became Tuesday’s scene of carnage. We celebrated our older daughter’s bat mitzvah at a restaurant just off that path. My son went to soccer camp at Pier 40, where the rampage began. “There but for the grace of God go I” may be the world’s most shopworn phrase, but it’s one you feel keenly after an event like this. 

Disasters at close range also have a way of making ideological pronouncements seem remote, feckless and wretched. Donald Trump promised in a tweet to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program.” Then he blasted Chuck Schumer, New York’s Democratic senior senator, for the diversity visa lottery under which the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, supposedly arrived in the United States from Uzbekistan.

Yet the notable fact is that even if the administration’s signature multination travel ban had been in place for decades, it would not have kept Saipov from entering the country legally and obtaining a green card before going on his killing spree. And getting a visa through a “diversity program” does not mean that he wasn’t vetted by the United States before his arrival or that he couldn’t have been denied entry on security grounds. 

Determined fanatics will usually outwit the Department of Homeland Security’s games of whack-a-mole. A heavy-handed immigration policy will never be an effective counterterrorism strategy. 

In the meantime, the responses that are meaningful, and for which one feels actual gratitude, are all local: Ryan Nash, the officer who shot the suspect as he waved what seemed to be two guns (toys, as it turned out) in the middle of West Street; the parents and teachers at P.S. 89 for sheltering the kids just as they were being let out for the day; the police and fire departments and emergency medical services for turning the world’s most vulnerable city into one of the safest and most welcoming. 

This is real America. Most of the people who live or work nearby, from the Goldman bankers to the Stuyvesant whiz kids, are strivers who came from other places and started with a lot less. We feel intense pride in our city and country, though we don’t feel the compulsion constantly to profess that pride as proof of our patriotism or as an expression of a cultural resentment. 

Few of us may go to church or own a gun, and hardly any of us voted for the president. But we are good friends to our neighbors, look out for their children and feel nothing but gratitude for the people who protect us. And we choose to live in a place that we know is a target for fanatics because fanatics will always target the things we prize most: openness, diversity, sky-high ambition and the belief that we are more than simply our racial or religious identities. 

Something unreal, as people say, happened in my neighborhood on Tuesday. But we stayed real, and trick-or-treating proceeded on schedule. 

The Wall Street Journal 

The diversity visa program is far from the main terror threat.

By The Editorial Board

Law enforcement continues to investigate Tuesday’s terror attack in which a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan used a truck to murder eight pedestrians in lower Manhattan. So it’s unfortunate and counterproductive that President Trump’s first instinct has been to politicize the tragedy by blaming—what else?—immigration.

The President apparently got a scoop early Wednesday that the alleged terrorist Sayfullo Saipov was admitted to the U.S. in 2010 under the State Department’s diversity visa lottery. He then shot off a barrage of tweets blasting the lottery, which he called a “Chuck Schumer beauty,” singling out the Senate Democratic leader. “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter),” Mr. Trump tweeted.

Later in the day he again attacked the visa program, and in an aside lashed chained migration that benefits relatives of U.S. citizens and green card holders. While we’re all for better vetting of immigrants, and monitoring of terror risks, the sad reality is that a radicalized U.S. citizen could also have committed the attack.

Congress established the diversity lottery as part of the Immigration Act of 1990—which Mr. Schumer co-sponsored along with several Republicans—to diversify the pool of immigrants. Chained family migration favors countries in Latin America while a disproportionate number of Chinese and Indians have immigrated on employer-sponsored visas.

Each year, 50,000 visas are awarded at random to immigrants from countries whose admissions totalled fewer than 50,000 over the preceding five years. Lottery winners make up less than 5% of the total legal immigrants. Applicants must have graduated from high school or have at least two years of formal training in an occupation. Initially, most visas went to European countries, but Africa has lately been soaking up the most.

While it would make sense to substitute the diversity lottery for more guest-worker visas, restrictionists aren’t interested in this trade. The Gang of Eight bill that passed the Senate in 2013 would have replaced the diversity lottery with more employer-sponsored visas, but the bill stood no chance in the House. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has proposed eliminating the lottery as part of a bill to shrink legal immigration by half.

In any event, reducing immigration or improving background checks wouldn’t have prevented the New York attack or many of the other two dozen or so Islamist-motivated attacks since 2001. Testimony from Mr. Saipov’s former acquaintances suggested that he didn’t come to the U.S. radicalized and that he became emotionally disturbed over time.

The Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston marathon immigrated as kids from Kyrgyzstan after their parents received political asylum. The security guard Omar Mateen who shot up a night club in Orlando was American-born. So was San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, though his wife and collaborator was a legal immigrant.

Police have found evidence that Mr. Saipov had some allegiance to Islamic State, and his truck rampage followed the ISIS playbook. Yet John Miller, the New York Police Department’s counterrorism chief, says Mr. Saipov hadn’t been investigated by his department or the FBI. Mr. Miller has often told us that his nightmare cases are self-radicalized individuals who only appear as a threat when they attack.

More than an immigration crackdown, the Saipov case might call for better monitoring of terror websites and groups that are more likely to be radicalized. We’re also with Mr. Trump—and Senator John McCain —in suggesting that Mr. Saipov should have been interrogated at length before he was read his Miranda rights. The first priority is preventing future attacks and breaking any terror networks.

Perhaps we will learn that Uzbekistan is a terror breeding ground from which immigrants need special vetting. But the Commander in Chief in particular should wait for answers before jumping to policy conclusions or exploiting immigration fears.