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The Folly Of Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

January 29, 2017

There are so many great reads today about the number one issue of the weekend; the attempt by Donald Trump to ban the travel to this nation of those of the Islamic faith.  The Atlantic is one such place to spend some time.

The Trump administration is right to treat the threat as a global one, but characteristically fact-resistant in its imagining that visa-seeking nationals of the “particular concern” countries listed above are the most likely perpetrators of slaughter in the name of the Islamic State. A global threat is a global threat, and Europeans and Americans are still part of planet Earth. If the Islamic State intends to kill Americans by sending an Iraqi or Syrian to get a visa, they are doing it the hard way. Most of the attackers will blow themselves up out of frustration with the American immigration bureaucracy before they can ever reach American shores to blow themselves up near their intended targets.

Compare the tedious process of applying for a visa to the ease with which a citizen of a visa-waiver country can buy a ticket on Air France or British Airways—or just stay home and rent a truck, or buy a kitchen knife or a jerrycan of gas and a matchbook. The whole process can be conceived and executed with a credit card, in less than a day. According to Seamus Hughes of George Washington University, slightly fewer than 120 Americans have been caught on the road to jihad, and another 52 are known to have made it to Syria. One assumes there are more waiting for their moment. Add to that number the thousands who follow ISIS in Europe, Australia, and friendly countries in the Middle East. For ISIS to choose a Syrian or Yemeni to attack a Western target is not inconceivable, but it would present needless obstacles—and ISIS wants easy wins, rather than complicated plots with high risk of failure.

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