Joe McCarthy as an Object Lesson for Trump

Mona Charen over at Ricochet points out that, although it turned out that Joe McCarthy was correct about communists having infiltrated high levels of the US government, the way he went about trying to fix the problem actually discredited his cause. She then argues that Trump should consider that when it comes to how we handle immigration from the Muslim world.

She has some other things to say as well:

The parallel to our times is the Islamist threat. President Trump is right that we face a threat from Islamists. He is right that careful vetting of immigrants, including refugees, is necessary in light of that danger. The worry is that his ham-fisted approach to a delicate problem may wind up discrediting the effort to vet immigrants, alienate our friends in the Muslim world, and empower the self-righteous left.


Alas, instead of stressing that our goal is to separate extremist Muslims from the majority of peaceable Muslims, President Trump’s slapdash executive order showed complete indifference to the distinction. Even green card holders, who have already been vetted and granted the right to live in the United States, were to be stopped at the airport with no notice. Why the rush? Would 48 hours notice have been too much to ask? Translators and military leaders from Iraq and Afghanistan, who had worked with U.S. forces at risk to themselves (and who were badly treated by the Obama administration), were originally offered no dispensation from the blanket order. That’s dishonorable and unwise, as it alienates all Muslims who might be inclined to side with us in a future struggle.
I have to agree with that. I think foreigners who have put their lives on the line for the US deserve to be treated well by us, and I have the sense that they often have not been. In the "no better friend, no worse enemy" formulation, we don't seem to be doing well at either. I hope Trump will correct both sides of the formula.


Grim said...

I'm not sure that's a wholly fair criticism. Have you read the EO? It's got pretty clear language on American values, and what to look for in an immigrant. There's no blanket ban on Muslims: it's more about who is OK with the kind of equality that embraces -- this is a direct quote -- "any race, gender, or sexual orientation."

That's not even right-leaning language. "Any... gender"?

E Hines said...

Nor were visa holders banned; although their entry was made cumbersome. DHS, et al., were given in the EO explicit authority to waive the restrictions when that would be useful. DHS then issued an essentially blanket waiver for green card holders.

The general restrictions, too, quite clearly separate terrorists from Muslims generally.

Nor is this a ban on Muslims. It restricts entry from seven terrorist and terrorist-supporting polities, in a tight geographic cluster, that happen to have Muslim-majority populations. There are 40-leven nations around the world with Muslim-majority populations, and the restrictions impact about 11% of the global population of Muslims.

Even the idea of a ban is an NLMSM distortion. It's not a ban; it can't be when it's good only for 90-120 days.

It's disappointing that Charon has chosen to join in on the distortions.

Eric Hines

Tom said...

It might not be fair, and I should read the whole EO to really make up my mind. I'll do that this weekend and comment, or update the post, then.

Charen actually defends Trump's EO against a number of lefty criticisms, states that it was necessary, and she never calls it a "Muslim ban."

Her points were that it could have been handled better, making the procedures for green card and visa holders clearer from the beginning, and giving a couple of days notice that this was going to happen so people could rearrange their travel plans.

She also looks at the larger context of the EO, not just the EO itself. She states: "The international outrage was sparked at least in part by the context, that is, the president’s history of wild accusations (e.g. that thousands of American Muslims celebrated in the streets after 9/11), gross insensitivity (his treatment of the gold star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan), and sordid suggestions regarding Middle East nations (such as that the United States should have “kept the oil” after the Iraq War)." Her point there being that Trump could have announced the EO in a way that mitigated these past statements and prevented some of the confusion.

Also, what about the last point about translators and military leaders from those countries who have worked with us? If that's true, I think it was a mistake. Maybe I'm wrong, though; maybe helping the US shouldn't deserve special treatment in this case.

Grim said...

I mentioned the translator issue myself; we have guys working with us in Iraq right now.

But on the other hand, I saw an American contractor in Iraq right now talking about this. He said his Iraqi guys were really upset. So he asked them, "Well, if I went out into town right now, what would happen?"

"The townsfolk would torture and kill you." Not ISIS, just the local townsfolk.

"So why," he asked, "would I want them to move to my hometown?"

E Hines said... a couple of days notice that this was going to happen so people could rearrange their travel plans.

And so could terrorists and terrorist wannabes rearrange their travel plans. That was the argument made for no public notice at all. Whatever the deadline for effectiveness, there would have been disruptions on that date. Best to yank the tooth now, and get it done.

Implementation probably could have been done better, but the degree of confusion has been overblown, and the idea that the principles were not briefed before hand, or were not involved in the development, seems to have been manufactured.

Eric Hines

Tom said...

Grim, that leads us to a general ban on Muslim immigration. Maybe we should do that. Looking at what's happened in Europe, I'm not sure having a large Muslim population in the US is healthy for the US. On the other hand, I know some good people who are Muslim, a ban on members of a religion could be a dangerous precedent, and I think even if it were enacted the Democrats would undo it ASAP if the USSC didn't, so it wouldn't be effective.

Eric, how would having given notice been different for the terrorists? With 48 hours notice, they would have known not to bother going to the airport. Without it, they went to the airport and were told to go home. Either way, they end up at home making other plans, right? And, we inconvenienced a lot of people who were not terrorists, so I don't really see the benefit.

Tom said...

Well, I've read the whole EO now, and I still think these criticisms are fair. I still support the EO, but it could have been better.

Ymar Sakar said...

Japan has an interesting situation with Islam. They do have Muslims in, but it was like 1960s US levels.