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Top 10 Reasons Governors are Wrong to Exclude Syrian Refugees


Top 10 Reasons Governors are Wrong to Exclude Syrian Refugees

Juan Cole

Some half of US governors have announced their opposition to their states taking in Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks. Although they can bother refugees, they can’t actually dictate to people who are here legally where they can live. But anyway, here are the reasons for which these announcements are a form of political hysteria and not grounded in any rational policy considerations:

  1. The civil war 1861-1865. The powers of the federal government recited in the U.S. Constitution cannot be overridden by the states.


So-called "Conservatives" are up in arms at the prospect of Syrian refugees being admitted into the USA by the Federal government. They say: "we have to keep our nation safe and these people are a deadly threat." I saw a petition going around on Facebook that claims (in more or less these words) that "we have no space in these United States for Syrian refugees. We have to take care of our own. And as long as there is a single homeless child in the USA, we should not be admitting Syrian refugees." Of course, American conservatives are generally not known for their charitable attitudes towards the homeless: "get a job, get a life" are the usual charming instructions given by red-blooded conservatives to those who are down and out. But now the conservatives are crying tears for the American poor. Crocodile tears.

American conservatives are also nationalists. Not patriots. Nationalists. A patriot is loyal to her country, but a nationalist is an aggressive booster of the nation, right or wrong. In other words, a nationalist is a patriot at the lunatic extreme. So many Americans think they are patriots, but they are actually nationalists. They are "good Americans" in the sense we speak of "good Germans": for them, the nation can do no wrong; all its wars are good wars; those whom it kills always deserves to die. It's easy to see that nationalism--of the super patriotic variety--goes hand in hand with fascism and imperialism.

American nationalists should be honest. They don't just want to keep the refugees out of "America"; nor are they particularly interested in bringing "Democracy to the Middle East." What they would like to do is blast all the enemies of "America" off the face of the earth. For the nationalist, a French person is a "frog," something less than "American," therefore something less than "human." What, then, is the nationalist view of "Arabs" and "Muslims, " the sworn enemies of the nation? Hatred doesn't begin to describe what some American nationalists feel towards the Arab Other--they loathe Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, etc, etc with a passion as deep as the Pacific Ocean. The idea of having these "savages" come live among "us" in these Great United States is absolutely maddening to American nationalists. Picture racist Southern Whites forced to accept "the blacks" in "their" schools and then x10, and you will have an idea of where the nationalists are in their views of "Muslims."

Secretly and sometimes not so secretly the American nationalist dreams of mass genocide. Notice he will often say "just drop a nuclear bomb on the whole lot of them." He is more than half serious. He is not interested in a complex world of duties and responsibilities; and he could not give two hoots for what people are up to in those "loser" countries beyond the national borders. But he doesn't have a problem with the Empire. In fact, he agrees with the imperialists that "their oil" is really ours. The nationalist is ready to support all the wars that allegedly uphold the American way of life.

These people are really something. They don't mind devastating the world with the persistent use of imperial violence, but they refuse to deal with the human outcomes of their actions. They don't really care if the American Empire does good or evil, but in their mind there is no legitimate resistance to what Americans do overseas. And when there is resistance it should be dealt with as harshly as possible to deter other subject peoples from putting up a fight. As Conrad recognized about British imperialism, true logic of the American nationalist in regards to the Other is "exterminate the brutes."

Ted Cruz is a loathsome, tiresome bigot. He is clearly lacking in character. He will say or do anything to advance his career. This makes him a fine American politician!


Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and should be deported ASAP.

As much as I loathe Obama, the GOP is very hypocritical in its serially accusing him of being born in Kenya (despite proof to the contrary) while failing to kick Cruz out of the primary.


Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship.

You've nowhere to deport him to, as we'll not take him back. We had to take Conrat Black back, but he's married to a citizen and we can't keep him out because of that...