If you Only Loved Refugees as Much as you Hate Donald Trump

There have been many protests launched against President Trump’s Executive Order slowing the number of refugees coming to the United States from particular war-torn countries. People have debated about whether the EO was specifically targeting Muslims as each of the seven countries on the list were Muslim-majority countries. Democratic politicians have called out Trump as being “backward and nasty.”

Here are statistics about refugees coming to America from war-torn countries since 2002 – covering the George W Bush and Barack Obama presidencies. Periods which had NO protests about refugees.

First a review of the countries not impacted by Trump’s EO.

Afghanistan

The United States has been battling in Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured and displaced as the USA fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

From 2002 through 2016, the US allowed 14,072 refugees into the USA. The annual average under Bush was 966 people per year, slightly higher than the 913 average under Obama.

There were no protests that not enough people fleeing the war were let into America.

Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon

Boko Haram launched numerous attacks in the Lake Chad Basin for several years. The United States has responded with… allowing almost no refugees into the US.

From 2002 through 2016, the USA permitted a total of 557 refugees from the three countries confronting terrorism combined. President Bush allowed an annual average of 49 refugees, about twice the annual average of 27 under Obama. The large difference was mostly due to the discrepancy in how each administration treated Nigeria, with Obama only allowing an average of 3 people per year, compared to 34 by the Bush administration.

Ethiopia and Kenya

While the majority of the attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab occurred in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered attacks.

Between 2002 and 2016, the USA admitted 14,890 refugees from the two countries, almost all of them from Ethiopia. The Bush administration welcomed an annual average of 1,292 per year, 77% more than the 731 annual average under Obama.

Saudi Arabia

People have questioned why Saudi Arabia – home to 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists – was not on Trump’s refugee order. In truth, the US barely admits any refugees from the country – a total of 7 people since 2002.

 

In summary, for seven countries that have been involved in terrorism, the US barely admitted any refugees over the past 15 years. The Obama administration let in many fewer refugees than the Bush administration, even though the terrorism was much more prevalent in the countries over the past eight years than during the Bush years.

And no Americans protested.

So let’s consider the countries in Trump’s Executive Order.

Libya

Obama overthrew the Libyan government and then watched as jihadists took over the country; a real moment to celebrate. Not surprisingly, there were no refugees from Libya under Bush (since there was no war or mayhem). However, Obama barely allowed any refugees from the country he actively dismantled – a grand total of 12 people over his eight-year presidency.

Yemen

Yemen has been in on-and-off again civil war for decades. In recent years, the situation deteriorated as the government fell while Iran and Saudi Arabia engaged in a proxy war to control one of the poorest countries in the world. The US sided with its ally Saudi Arabia in the war, and involved with killing many civilians.

Even while thousands died, the Obama administration only admitted 123 Yemeni refugees over his entire tenure. Bush admitted just 25.

Sudan

Sudan has suffered from both ongoing civil war and terrorism for a long time and the USA has been more forth-coming granting refugees asylum – a total of 21,180 people since 2002. President Bush welcomed an annual average of 1,678, about 42% more than the 1,179 granted by Obama.

Iran

Iran has had a repressive government since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It remains one of the leading countries that executes gays and one of the only countries that executes minors.

The US has consistently granted asylum to over one thousand refugees from Iran every year. Since 2002, 45,791 refugees have come to America, with an annual average of roughly 3000 per year under both Bush and Obama.

Somalia

Somalia has been a mess for 30 years, undergoing a variety of civil wars. The unrest was so bad that in 2006, that Ethiopia sent troops in 2006 to help repel the advance of the Islamic Courts Union, which soon splintered into the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Mayhem continues to this day.

The US allowed entry to 100,930 refugees from Somalia from 2002 to 2016; a great number of whom have settled in Minnesota. Both Presidents Bush and Obama allowed roughly 6700 Somalis to enter each year.

Iraq

The United States entered Iraq shortly after the attacks of 9/11 and overthrew the government. While the long war under Bush finally helped settle the country, the rapid withdrawal under Obama and the decision to not leave any US troops behind led to chaos and the emergence of ISIS.

Over 140,000 refugees have come to the US from Iraq since 2002. The majority have come under the watch of Obama, with over 15,000 coming annually, compared to an average of 2800 under Bush.

Syria

Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011, in a war that has killed roughly half a million people.

Before the war began, there were few people fleeing the country, and President Bush admitted about 14 people per year. From 2009 through 2013, the number of refugees welcomed to America barely changed, but gradually increased towards the end of Obama’s presidency, with 249, 2192 and 15,479 coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

refugees

Aside from the spike of Syrian refugees in 2016, Obama did less for refugees – over a much more tumultuous period – than Bush.

Observation

The number of refugees admitted under Bush and Obama were roughly the same, even though the situation for people in the Middle East was much worse since the “Arab Spring” began in early 2011. Further, the terrorist threats from groups like ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and others grew dramatically during the Obama years. In a time of greater instability and violence, Obama barely acted in providing sanctuary.

But there were no protests in the streets of America to let in more refugees.

Even as millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn countries overwhelmed Europe, Obama did not increase the numbers entering the US until the final two years of his second term- and only for Syria.

Why the lack of protests in the streets of the USA?

Presumably it was because American liberals loved Obama and trusted his liberal instincts. They assumed that he was doing whatever he could – even though it was clear that Europe was doing much, much more than the US in protecting refugees.

Conversely, liberal protesters assume the very worst of President Trump. They have listened to his campaign promises about banning Muslims and concluded that his executive order was really a step to ban all Muslims from entering the US. They have channeled their hatred today in regards to refugees. Yesterday it was for abortion rights. Tomorrow it may be about bank reform.

In other words, the protestors hate Trump much more than they care about refugees. Their protests are masked as concern for the weak and disenfranchised, as it lends a smug self-righteousness to conceal their ugly anger.

It is emotional, not fact-based.

refugees
Protestors at JFK Airport January 28, 2017
(photo: Reuters: Stephen Yang)

So why review the facts above? Why combat or discuss #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews? Americans stopped paying attention to facts long ago and have relied on screaming and sharing their emotions.

It is our new reality, the lack of reality. As conveyed in “Eyes Wide Shut,

“In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

Trump’s Take on Obama’s “Evil Ideology”

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

The Presidential Candidates on Islamic Terrorism: The Bumblebee, the Crocodile and the Pitbull

Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota

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CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.

Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.

AL-SHABAAB

CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:

Al-Shabaab was specifically designated as a  terrorist organization by CNN, which did not couch the language as a suggestion that it could be considered a terrorist group by some third party.

AL QAEDA

As of early 2015, CNN considered Al Qaeda’s central command structure under threat while it spread around the world. It was clear in all circumstances that they were terrorists:

BOKO HARAM

CNN often localized Boko Haram to Nigeria and neighboring countries (compared to the growing global threat of Al Qaeda), but consistently referred to the group as terrorists.

ISIS

ISIS/ ISIL/ Islamic State has been extremely active in 2015 and gathering many news reports on CNN and all media outlets, particularly as the United States has been engaging them in Iraq and Syria:

TALIBAN

The Taliban has not been as prominent in the news lately.  However, when it was, CNN was clear that the group’s actions and the group itself was involved in terrorism.

These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.

Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.

HAMAS

On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says.  Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt.  The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.

CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”.  The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion.  The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.

How is that for a turn?

On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.

On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militantwhich is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.

These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel.  How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?

CNN’s Assertion of No Hamas War Against Israel 

In its August 22, 2014 article “Hamas leader admits militants abducted slain Israeli teens,” CNN quickly distanced the group leadership from the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys.  The three leading paragraph’s took pains to absolve the group’s leadership:

“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday.
“At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.”
Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”

The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.

These actions were done repeatedly by CNN, most egregiously on August 4, 2014 when it aired an interview “CNN exclusive: Inside the mind of Hamas’ political leader

Meshaal CNN Meshaal “Political Leader” on CNN

The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.”   Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:

  • that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
  • the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
  • the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
  • the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
  • the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?

During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:

  • if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
  • if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
  • if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
  • if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
  • if Hamas would abolish its charter?
  • if Hamas would recognize Israel?
  • what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005

It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis.  Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.

Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group.  It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:

“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”

Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Differentiating Hamas into Political and Military Movements

The New York Times wants to defeat Terrorists (just not Hamas)

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza  

Recognizing the Palestinians

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel