In the United States of Orwell, a “defense bill” means bringing in more immigrants from one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Our backwards strategy of spending up to $4 trillion in the Middle East primarily to referee Islamic civil wars and even grow Iranian hegemony — all for the purpose of defending our homeland — ends in bringing in more Islamists to our shores.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.
Now Congress is set to bring in more Afghans, when the country is more volatile than ever and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish a Taliban operative from non-Taliban.
Today, the House is voting on the final conference report for the FY 2018 defense bill, which authorizes $692.1 billion in defense programs. After sticking 2,500 more Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) into the budget bill earlier this year, the conference committee on the defense bill (NDAA) agreed to insert 3,500 more visas for Afghan contractors and interpreters into the defense bill (sec. 1213 of H.R. 2810). While this sounds like a nice idea, history has shown it is hard to vet their family members. SIV recipients can bring in an unlimited number of family members. Any number of them can be Sharia-adherent Muslims and become yet another statistic in the growing trend of children of Middle Eastern immigrants who rise up against their new homeland in the West.
Even the interpreters themselves are very hard to vet. There is a resurgence of fear of green-on-blue attacks among the Afghan military and civilian workers. Remember, the Bowling Green, Ky., bomb-plotters were Iraqi SIVs who were caught trying to blow up the soldiers they worked for.
More egregiously, this comes on the heels of a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report showing that half of all the foreign personnel who have gone AWOL in this country after being brought here for training were Afghans. Most are still at large and unaccounted for. Astoundingly, Afghans accounted for only one percent of foreign military personnel trained on our shores. Is now really the best time to bring in more Afghans who work with the military before we get to the bottom of this troubling finding?
The original House version of the NDAA didn’t contain the immigration provision, but as always, the more liberal Senate won out in conference in order to railroad House conservatives. They are confronted with an all-or-nothing choice of voting against a pay raise for the military or voting for a provision that undermines the entire purpose of national defense.
Congress already added an additional 3,000 visas for these individuals plus an unlimited number for family members in the FY 2016 NDAA. Most of those visas have not even been issued yet. So why would Congress open the floodgates for even more visas at a cost of several hundred million dollars? Remember, SIV recipients are treated like refugees and are immediately eligible for all social entitlement and resettlement programs. In recent years, the program has been expanded for other support members beyond interpreters or those helping our soldiers on the front lines — and this program is in addition to a separate visa program specifically for interpreters.
Supporters of the SIVs contend that we “owe” citizenship to those who risked their lives to work with the military in Afghanistan. However, if we are accomplishing no discernable goal in Afghanistan other than bringing in more immigrants, then the entire operation is not worth it to the American people. The entire impetus for the “war on terror” was a 9/11 attack by people who should never have been let into the country. Foreign policy and military intervention are ultimately for homeland security, yet we now go overseas so we can make our homeland insecure.
After 15 years of failure in Afghanistan, we are fighting for a corrupt Sharia government. Now we have nothing to show for it but more immigrants who, by and large, are strict adherents to Sharia. Just today it was announced that another four U.S. troops were injured by a Taliban suicide bombing. To what end?
Meanwhile, the NDAA authorizes another $5 billion for the Afghan forces at a time when they are more impotent, corrupt, and compromised than ever before. The bill also authorizes another $1.2 billion to train and equip Iraqi forces for “counter-ISIS” operations. At a time when ISIS is on its last legs and Iranian-backed Iraqi forces are our biggest enemy in the region, how does this not mean we are funding our enemies — the same enemies who use our hardware to attack the Kurds? There is already significant evidence that in their misdirected focus exclusively on ISIS, the failed military and civilian leaders have allowed weapons to fall into the hands of Iranian-backed groups designated by the State Department as terrorists. Why would lawmakers blindly give up the leverage of the defense bill without first addressing this?
In a functioning Congress, the consideration of the defense bill could have been a moment for Congress to reassert itself over our backwards foreign policy that has been on autopilot from past administrations. We are flushing $4 trillion and not only failing to see results, we are downright helping enemies against allies, or at the very least, helping one enemy over another. Such an effort could have been bipartisan, as it does not touch the traditional hot-button issues. Yet the theater of failure will continue. Because the special interest groups — foreign and domestic — win out over the American people as a whole and dogmatic allegiance to the status quo wins out over commonsense reforms.
We have a nonexistent Congress that sits idly by while American weapons flow to our most dangerous enemy, Iran, but that actively bring the danger of jihadists to our shores.
It’s not hard to see why we have so much turmoil in our political culture. Many voters have reached the point, for better or for worse, where they have internalized the adage of Bill Buckley that it’s better to vote for the first names in a telephone book — or worse — than continue down the current path of re-electing those with the upside-down priorities of the political class. Until a party and a movement arise that stand for common sense and make a good-faith effort to address the basic concerns of the citizenry, the false dichotomies of the two failed factions of the political class will continue to play on the worst instincts of all constituencies.
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.