Instead of “you break it, you bought it,” how about, “when you’re in a hole, stop digging”? Why do 2,500 American deaths, 20,000 injuries, and $2 trillion in losses obligate us to take on additional problems and burdens? How do our genuine obligations to a few hundred translators extend across an entire population of more than 37 million? Such arguments are a combination of sophistry and guilt-trip, in the service of ruling class pieties and political (and pecuniary) interests.
First and foremost, America has massive problems here at home. Ours is not the competent, confident, prosperous country of the mid-twentieth century, with its patriotic and capable leadership. We are instead a decaying, half-broken society littered with dying communities, withering industries, and neglected, even despised, citizens. America very badly needs to get its own house in order—and fast. Our priorities should be to secure our borders, rebuild our industrial base, combat “deaths of despair” by giving ordinary people reason to hope, reform our increasingly anti-white education system, de-financialize the economy, and much else. With so many urgent problems to address at home, we don’t have the capacity to absorb hundreds of thousands of refugees—especially with the ongoing crisis at our southern border. We need to serve the interests of American citizens first.
…they also know that none of these “refugees,” you can bet, will be settled in Cambridge, or the Vineyard, or the Upper West Side, or Georgetown, or Chevy Chase or McLean, or Berkeley or Palo Alto, or Santa Monica or Silverlake.
No, they’ll be going to heartland communities where what’s left of the middle class lives, to put stress on local schools, hospitals, police departments and other social services. And allowed to live as they damned-well please, free of the laws and regulations that tie honest citizens in knots, that are only enforced against us.
The demand to resettle Afghan refugees brings the war home.
Perennial Democratic White House aide, congressman, Chicago mayor, and ambassador-in-waiting Rahm Emmanuel’s sole memorable utterance—his only candidate for Bartlett’s—is his cynical 2008 maxim that the good guys (i.e., his team) must “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” He was speaking of using the financial crisis to usher in sweeping changes to law, policy, the economy, and society that would otherwise not have been possible through ordinary democratic processes.
The same logic applies now to the Democrats’—and many Republicans’—insistence that America be flooded with Afghan “refugees.” Importing as many immigrants as possible, from cultures as alien to traditional America as possible, is the ruling class’s top priority, after protecting its own wealth and power. But since importing millions upon millions of foreigners is the primary tool by which the ruling class maintains that wealth and power—by suppressing wage growth and dividing the population—it can be hard to disaggregate these two priorities.
The parallels between the two crises are obvious. Just as ruling class hubris, incompetence, dishonesty, and greed created the financial crisis, so did a similar combination produce the mess in Afghanistan. There is no need to rehash the “higher” motives for the failure here. It is worth noting, however, that lower motives were not absent: a lot of people were making a lot of money off that war.