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Horowitz: Republicans embracing refugee resettlement completely misunderstand 9/11 and Afghanistan

Op-ed
Wakil Kohsar AFP/Getty Images

Invade the world, invite the world.

As I've been reflecting on our odious response to COVID-19, it's hard to ignore the parallels with our counterproductive response to 9/11. The core solution to the virus was always to pursue early and even pre-emptive treatment of the actual virus. Instead, we destroyed ourselves with endless voodoo control measures that flattened our society and economy, not the curve of the virus. Pondering our Afghanistan policy, it appears that our policy from day one was essentially doing everything to make the Islamic threat worse while wasting time overseas on endeavors that not only failed to stop the threat but actually brought it closer to home.

At present, by my count, GOP governors from states including Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, Utah, and Massachusetts are requesting the resettlement of thousands of unvetted Afghans in their states. Many of these same GOP politicians are hand-wringing about leaving Afghanistan and feigning concern over terrorism — all while missing the simple point that Afghans can only hurt us here if we bring them here!

Afghanistan never did and never will have an army or air force that is capable of attacking our homeland. To concern ourselves with Afghanistan in light of the threat from China is ludicrous. 9/11 was not about a military threat that required a military invasion. It was all rooted in the problems with our immigration and visa system. Rather than locking that bad system down, our government went overseas to referee a 1,000-year civil war, then proceeded to admit thousands of people from both sides of the civil war — coming full-circle on the impetus for the 9/11 attacks.

On Sept. 11, 2001, a ragtag terrorist organization attacked us through our immigration system, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. We simply let in people we should not have admitted and allowed them to work with networks in this country of other people who should not have been let in. We responded by making the problem worse and increasing migration from those countries without any system to vet incoming immigrants.

We have clearly not learned our lesson, or we are just willing to allow the false gods of mass migration to overshadow safety concerns. We have issued roughly 2.2 million green cards to nationals of predominantly Muslim countries from 2001 through the first quarter of 2018, a level we've never seen in our nation's history. We've brought in more just in a five-year period than the entire Muslim population of Belgium, which has become saturated with radical Islamic elements.

Consider the immigration policies of the past 20 years in light of what the 9/11 Commission staff report on terrorist travel wrote in 2004:

It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy.

Here is a list of people we've brought in just on immigrant visas from predominantly Islamic countries. Notice nearly 100,000 Afghans were brought in since 2001:

Not only did we send our best warriors into a meat grinder with no defined mission or logical outcome, we had them fight for a compromised force, making them subject to endless "green on blue" attacks. In the ultimate paradox, we invested so much in building up the Afghan military that we brought thousands of unvetted Afghans to our shores every year under the guise of helping a war effort that in itself placed our troops in danger from unvetted coalition "partners."

Several hundred Afghan military trainees have gone AWOL in our country over the years. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) observed that the "limited vetting of Afghan trainees, and the restrictions of the investigatory and asylum processes, may pose a security risk to the United States when trainees go AWOL." We've spent about $81 billion on the Afghan security forces, as part of a nearly $1 trillion price tag for the two-decade war.

Yes, you can always count on the Democrats to wait 20 years and then pull out in the worst way imaginable, not even bothering to plan an orderly pullback and ensure that weapons are removed or destroyed before the retreat. But this should not be used as an excuse to rectify the situation with mass migration.

Some are suggesting that we owe it to these people to resettle them in the United States. This is the most absurd line of argument imaginable. It's only because of the war that we are bringing foreign nationals to our shores in record numbers. The same unvetted Afghans who were leading our soldiers into ambushes for years are being brought here in the thousands every year. The number of special immigration visas from Afghanistan has increased over time, and they are not subject to the refugee cap. We've brought "here" roughly 65,000 individuals who helped us fight "there."

Those Republicans joining Democrats in demanding that we bring in tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans, as if the American people owe them more blood, treasure, and sacrifice, are violating the social compact of governance. These swamp congressmen and governors must understand the admonition of the 9/11 Commission staff report: that 9/11 was all about visas and immigration because "terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country." Now, in addition to nearly 2,500 dead and tens of thousands of wounded soldiers fighting "over there," we have nothing to show for the war other than 100,000 largely unvetted new Afghan migrants.

Have we learned nothing from Europe? In 2014-2015, Europe suffered a massive migration crisis from places like Afghanistan and north Africa with the rise of the Islamic State. It set off a torrent of Islamic terror attacks on the continent, and the problem has still not abated. Europol's latest European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2021 (TESAT) documents that perpetrators of five completed terrorist mainland attacks during 2020 had "entered the EU as asylum seekers or irregular migrants."

To this day, we have not even ended the foreign military training programs on our U.S. military bases, even for those from countries with a strong jihadist presence. Even after Saudi Royal Air Force pilot Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, one of an estimated 850 Saudi military personnel training on our bases, shot dead three Americans at Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2019, we continued the program. If we couldn't even vet official military trainees from the Middle East, are we really supposed to trust every Tom, Dick, and Harry Afghan who claims to have "helped" our military help his own country?

One would think Republicans would universally reject the proposition of following in Europe's footsteps. Then again, these are some of the same Republicans who have refused to reject COVID fascism and have instead rejected the one way to treat this virus while opting for painful and counterproductive measures – just like our response to 9/11.

It's time for red-state legislatures to convene and bar all refugee resettlement in the United States. We have already accepted hundreds of thousands of people from our own hemisphere thanks to the Biden administration's invitation at the southern border. As for the Middle East, our own taxpayers have already paid enough for what goes on there with our blood and treasure. We need not come full-circle again and pay for it on our own shores with the one policy that will ensure that what inevitably will happen in Afghanistan will indeed migrate to our shores.
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