Scapegoating the Victims

Samir, two years old, sits on his father's knee as he tries to keep warm Photo: Save the Children

The news yesterday was that our Republicans in Congress, Steve Daines and Ryan Zinke, have been thumping their chests about “protecting us” from Syrian refugees who, seeking to escape ISIS terrorists and rape camps, might settle in Montana. They will attempt to block the tiny number America is planning to take in. So far, the U.S. has sheltered only 1,800 from 2012 to 2015. Germany took in more than 90,000 during the same time. Syrian Americans that already live here and by all accounts do very well.

The stalled gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte also got into the act, tweeting late last night that he too would slam the door on people seeking to escape ISIS. How he plans to do this is unclear since it is obvious Governors do not have authority over such federal decisions. Gianforte should know that, but appears to be pandering to the racist voting block.

Gianforte should also remind himself that the company he founded, and which he sold for $1 Billion, made a habit of hiring foreign workers, using special H1-B outsourcing visas. So it was okay to bring in immigrant labor while he was making hundreds of millions from it, but now that he’s amassed his fortune, he no longer thinks that immigrants deserve refuge from brutality. Just the kind of principled leader we need.

For his part, Bullock said, “Montana will not allow any terrorist organization to intimidate us into abandoning our values.” Tim Fox, the attorney general, has remained silent on the issue, which is a good deal better than what these other three numbskulls Gianforte, Daines and Zinke have done.

And finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that Zinke, Daines, and Gianforte no doubt thought that the Iraq war–which largely caused the current state of affairs in the Middle East–was a great idea. They viewed the manchild president, George W. Bush, as a visionary foreign policy maker who surely must be followed, since he was clearly such a wise man. And they followed his vision, criticized all who opposed it, and now that we have the mess, naturally none of them want to participate in the cleanup.

As has already been pointed out in The Economist,

“If a potential terrorist is determined to enter America to do harm, there are easier and faster ways to get there than by going through the complex refugee resettlement process. Of the almost 750,000 refugees who have been admitted to America since 9/11, only two Iraqis have arrested on terrorist charges; they had not planned an attack in America, but aided al-Qaeda at home. Syrians in America have fared better than other groups of refugees, integrating quickly and finding work. Some have done very well indeed: the father of Steve Jobs, the ground-breaking innovator and founder of Apple, was a refugee from Syria. And the mother of Jerry Seinfeld, the comedian, is of Jewish Syrian descent.”

The Little Big Town MT blog also has a post on this which you should read. 


49 Comments on "Scapegoating the Victims"

  1. I ‘thinks’ Commander Zinke should stage a ‘congressional assault’ for with Goober ‘Gomer’ from Texas as his ‘wingman’ so he can deliver justice and righteous and ‘Smite’ them old folks, women and toddlers with his divine might……..

  2. If people will do a little research they will find the mastermind’s were Cheney, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, who planned the Iraq war that started this fiasco we are now in. President Bush erred in his actions based on their lies. It is going to be anyone’s guess as to where it will all lead too.

  3. Virgina, if you do a little more research, you’ll see this goes back much further. Do you know what happened in the middle east in 1953? Or just a weee bit further back during the Crusades…

    If you think this is another Dem = good and Repub = evil story, you need to dig deeper.

    But yes, as a non-elite I wish we’d get out of meddling-in-foreign-affairs business.

  4. Not too long ago, it was Iraqi families fleeing the American bombs of Shock and Awe by flooding into Syria.
    It’s called The Domino Effect.

  5. Montana has hedged it’s willingness to accept refugees sadly. While the Federal government has the authority one way or the other states can get ornery about it.

    • The KTVQ report you reference was wrong, Lee, as the graphic you posted indicates. As a matter of fact, the story you link to has a correction at the bottom of it:
      “An earlier report stated that Montana will not accept Syrian refugees was incorrect. We apologize for the error.”
      I’m proud that the sensible political leadership in Montana is willing to accept refugees, after a thorough vetting process. It’s the compassionate thing to do.

  6. It all a crock of crap from the GOP. They don’t like what they perceive as little brown children period. Why doesn’t anyone remember hordes of Christian extremists crowding around Buses filled with children and mothers who walked across our borders to escape terrorism in South America???? That crap happened not even a year ago. Its Bigotry Plain and simple. Some white Americans are afraid to death to giving up their white privilege. Meanwhile, a statute in new York harbor still carries the true meaning of our American forefathers, that was lost to the ignorant in our Country : Gives us your tired and poor, your huddled masses yearning to be Free.”

  7. I once thought you were a reasonable thinking person Norma. A sad comment. White privilege, brown children and the GOP. Wow. Bigotry Plain and Simple goes down a two way street.

    • Its all true! The problem is you and others wont see it in you bubble Lucy. Conservatives spitting at buses and Banging on the side. Hysterically attacking a child that brings a clock to school. Smearing feces on the side of a synagogue….. Welcome to conservative America today.

  8. There is no need to converse with idiocy. Have a nice evening anyway in your “bubble” Norma.

    • I dont have a bubble.

      I belong to a great diverse rainbow of AMericans that are over 350 million strong. Add to that American adopted Immigrant workers who care about our country and work jobs Whites will not, and we can add another 15,000,000 million to the mix. I am not afraid of 10,000 folk who need a home to call their own. I am not afraid of proudly making them welcome to a state that is the best in the nation.

      Get over your fear Lucy you do live in a wonderful diverse country.It takes our Country 18-24 months of probing before any refugee from any country comes to this country. These people are not a threat.

    • We do not accept bashing commenters here Lucy. First warning. If you cannot by conversation, explain your observations, or opinion…. That allowing “Syrian” refugees into this country is a bad Idea, it might be better for you to say nothing!

      • I cry foul. By Norma’s own admission, she is an insider with special privileges. Here is a comment she posted on Copper Commando in response to its story about Cowgirl’s identity.

        Norma Duffy says:
        August 17, 2015 at 12:22 am
        I confess, that you guys are completely nuts over this and I know who it really is… and it’s nobody you mentioned. I should know I post at the site. and I also personally know the moderator.
        Dont you have better things to do like write real bills? be real people?

        Also, the time interval between Norma’s comment and Mt.Temperance’s reply is suspicious.

        • I have been commenting, and recently writing a few posts here since 2007. I think after 8+ years I have some sliver of good standing. Can’t figure out why that bothers you.

          Lastly, just because I kept looking for someone until I found them… And respect their privacy enough to allow them to continue the anonymity, doesn’t make me an insider. I am definitely not. It makes me a fellow liberal who believes what she does matters. That’s what I respect and protect about her.

        • I do love to hear a good conspricy but:

          I dinged Lucy for the “idiocy” comment, Nothing more! Both times she replied to Norma Duffy she made disparaging remarks. There is no trolling or bashing allowed here.

  9. So, what color of skin do we next bar from immigrating to this country? Pretty soon you will run out of colors and then what? Religion next?

    • Yes Richard, Jeb! has already joined Cruz in suggesting we only accept “Christians”. From the way the Right is acting I’m getting confused what a Christian really is. I’m darn sure tired of hearing about our Christian Nation from a bunch of cowards who want to topple the Statue of Liberty. We have some monster walk into a classroom and murder a couple dozen kids and we do nothing but we’re going to stop taking children fleeing a war because there’s a mass shooting in France? More kids under 10 years old will die at the hands of a friend of sibling under 10 in the next 90 days than adults who died in Paris. If we act cowardly like the GOP demands and refuse these families it will be exactly what Da’esh wants. Follow that with “boots on the ground” and you will have the makings of the Battle of East vs. West and the End Times the fundies on both sides want.

    • “Religion Next?” You betchum, Mr. Miller. Sunday last, a devout Christian angrily told me Islam is cult. “It is not a religion,” this Christian asserted, and then went on to charge that President Obama is trying to destroy the nation. I made no reply. Hypocrisy is everywhere. I see Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, the 55th governor of Louisiana who just dropped out of the GOP race for president, a former congressman, and former vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a first generation American, born in Baton Rouge to Pakistani emigrants, doesn’t want the refugees. South Louisiana’s bayou country was inhabited first by the Opelousa, Native Americans of the Caddo language group, and then came the Roman Catholic Frenchmen (Acadians) fleeing the Scottish protestants in Canada, and the Opelousa died out. President Piyush “Bobby” Jindal? And, Gianforte thinks he would be a good governor? No Bobby, and no Greg. Steve and Ryan are more than enough.

  10. You are absolutely right Abby Johnson.

  11. What ever happened to the home of the brave? Americans are so easily frightened. We were so scared after 9-11 that we attacked a country that had nothing to do with it. Now after the Paris attack the Republicans are peeing their pants. Come on Zinke and Daines. Try to grow a pair and not be so scared of a few Syrian refugees. Your fear is exactly what Isis wants.

  12. For sure there are far too many examples of bigotry, exaggerated fear and other signs of raw hatred ingrained in our society. But to imply this particular view of the world is shared equally across all groups, classes or political parties is pure fantasy. Look no further than those who are advocating for the most nativist, discriminatory and violent response to the latest events for clue as to who are the real architects of this destructive and doomed to failure policy. Ask yourself what percentage of state Governors declaring a ban on Syrian refugees are Republican. Ask yourself which party’s Presidential candidates are clamoring to be the strongest voice of anti-immigration rants. And finally, ask yourself which party is the cheerleader for the one and only strategy that plays right into hands of ISIS.

    ISIS has made it abundantly clear their goal is to gode Western governments into doing exactly what Republican leaders are calling for. Increase our military response, which is hardly miniscule today. Discriminate against and actually punish innocent Muslims. Essentially drive a wedge between us and them. Then ISIS can point to our actions to justify their otherwise unjustifiable behavior.

    It may feel comforting to adopt a simplified, hate filled response to this problem. But the real world will not bend to this ill informed, oversimplified view. We already got a lesson in that with George W Bush and we are still paying the price. And we will continue to pay an even greater price if we support the unrealistic, narrow minded solutions offered primarily by the Republican Party.

  13. This issue is amazing. I like the article from The Economist; 750,000 refugees and no issues. Obviously one cannot guarantee safety. Look at Charleston, Aurora and Sandy Hook. I like to point to a few stats: yearly in this nation 30,000 die in gun deaths, 30,000+ in car accidents, over 30,000 from the flu and so on. Only 300 some associated with terrorism since 9/11. There is fear and as is mentioned above that lead to Iraq. And I agree there is racism involved with some who want to stop refugees. Seems Lucy has her head in the sand. As a friend has said many often to me, many low information people and little critical thinking going on.

  14. I believe the majority of terrorism was committed by French nationalists. Why no questions about them?

    • Flash: Long interview just now w Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now.
      Very important to view and record. Yet more reasons to receive Syrian Refugees! US and Saudi forces and $ knowingly created pre-caliphate part of Syria.
      Then drone warfare drove more young men into Bathist based ISIL. Now, finally NYTimes has (again) broken with MSM replay of military propaganda, while “defense stocks” appreciate.

  15. Norma and company… come to the reservation and help save some very needy Indian people if you are so helpful. There are “brown” or “red” people here that have been ignored for decades, yet the “kind hearted” “compassionate” Dems seem to be able to drive right by that land of poverty. if you really think you want to help the poor, needy, displaced people just look around you. They are right here under your nose. Many live in poverty, loss and fear right now in our own country…and they are people who belong here, They were here first. Many children here suffer just as much as these unknown refugees’ children you want to harbor. When the refugees get here they will likely end up in the same type locations that became home to the inner-city and reservation population. How is this doing something compassionate for people who neither know the language or the customs of this country. There have to be better solutions to this mess! Don’t be the disgusting hippocrit who can’t see the forest when you are standing in the trees. Are you going to let them live in your basement or garage?

    • The treatment of Naive Americans at the hands of the first wave of immigrants to come onto this land is probably the only compelling argument to ban immigration. To lay the blame for their current situation at the feet of “Dems” is not only mis-informed, it is a classic example of what happens when people let the partisan rightwing echo chamber influence their opinions. An objective review of the MT legislature will show most bills attempting to improve conditions of MT Native Americans were introduced and supported by the “Dems”.

      And more to the point of allowing Syrian refugees, those who have already come here prior to the current conflict show a willingness to be productive members of our society. Throughout our nation’s history immigrants have come here with different language and cultural backgrounds. With the exception of a few British immigrants, that is how it is. Locking out anyone who isn’t just like you isn’t the answer to this problem. Just because we already have residents living in poverty is not justification to lockout others in need of help.

      It is not the time to succumb to fear and retreat from our responsibility. It is time to live up to our apparently forgotten legacy of inclusion and tolerance.

      • Agreed. Ask native americans how it turned out for them when Christian refugees started flooding our shores. They pushed them off their land and killed off as many of them as they could. Who they couldn’t kill they forced to adopt their dogma. They are still trying to create the US into a “Christian?” state. Kinda like ISIS sweeping through the middle east. Somehow a handful of desperate refugees from Syria seems benign in comparison.

    • PrairieGram I have Gone to Washington DC for Native Americans in Montana.I have spoken on behalf of them at Dem functions. I speak to leaders for our 13 tribes in Montana all the time. Nothing is under my Nose except Kleenex from time to time. My Eyes are wide open.

      I do what I can when asked by my friends in the Crow, Sioux, Rosebud, nations.

  16. The other side of “scapegoating”

  17. This is a scene from the Paris terrorist attacks at least one of the attackers was a refugee. Can we take the chance on admitting terrorists infiltrating innocent refugees.

    • And you feel it necessary to use an image of the people killed in this attack to justify your point. Unbelievable.

      • It is more than unbelievable, it is unconscionable, execrable, and disrespectful. I am surprised that cowgirl has not deleted this image.

      • There are those out there (who have obviously never seen large quantities of blood before) who argue that the smears in that picture are Tempura paint, proof that this attack was a staged event, a psi-op. They actually share something in common with those like cerevisi. They want us to be afraid. They want us to shrink and react from fear, some of “immigrants”, some from the black arm of the Illuminati. It’s the same thing.

        These pictures need to be seen, not so that we know who to fear, but so that we know what is real. I say, let the image stand.

        • Regrettably there may be some who need a graphic image of what’s going on to truly grasp the horror of these kind of acts, but that is not the motive behind the use of the image in this case. The context used here is nothing more than the perpetuation of a right wing, borderline Facist meme. There are not enough words to describe how vile the usage of this image is to demonize people who are living with this kind of violence everyday. It has no place in civilized discourse.

    • The problem is this picture is the truth. a lot of people do not want to see the truth. I don’t like seeing the effects of violence, but it must be seen. Some people in this world see it everyday from a tender age….That isn’t right and we all know this. My grandchildren are allowed to see what is happening because this is the world they live in. We sat down as a family and explained to them that this world isn’t perfect.

      Ya know what they get it and started pitching in to help. they don’t like it, but they spend some of their allowances sending shoe boxes to Africa without us adults asking, and donate to stop hunger. They get it that they are lucky in this world, and they don’t want others to suffer.

      I wish like hell some adults in this country had as much heart as my granddaughters do.

      • The issue is not so much with the image itself, but the context it is used in. It is one thing to use such an image to garner a discussion about this kind of violence and why it is important to work to end it everywhere, and incidentally, not just in Europe or the U.S. It is quite another to use it, as in the case of the comment in this post, to say this is what will happen if we allow Syrian refugees into the country.

        That particular usage is not just offensive to those refugees, but offensive to the victims in the picture and their families. It is important to make the distinction between the two contexts. One may have potential to inform and educate. The other is a reinforcement of a corrupted, cruel and dehumanizing campaign to turn the tragedy of one group of innocent victims against another. It is not right and we should not conflate one usage with the other.

    • The police in Europe have identified all the attackers as French and Belgian nationals, not Syrian.

  18. Daiens and Zinke run on the Bible during elections….but the second they are elected they run from the Bible.

  19. 1) Republicans are aiding ISIS and other terrorists by helping them spread irrational fear and hate. That’s collusion with the enemy by any definition.
    2) The collapse of Syria (which just 10 years ago admitted Iraqi refugees who were escaping the American bombs of “Shock and Awe”) is a direct result of American action. It’s a domino effect of Bush/Cheney’s crimes.
    3) There’s nothing Christian about the American right wing, so their claim to that faith is a lie. Hate motivates their actions, not a live of God.

    • Gabby go further back for one of the leading causes. The syrians are environmental refugees. The rural people of Syria ran out of water and were forced into the cities to survive. It has been well documented.

      Abandoned Farms, High Unemployment, A clash of different kinds of Islamic sects, was what started things down the road in Syria. Plus a leader who didn’t give a damn, and gave ISIL an in.

      But these are good points also.

  20. The point Sal makes overlooks the facts of current poverty already pervasive in the U.S. Now we want to make “welfare slaves” out of another group of people? Like mentioned before there are better ways to help these people. Any ideas other than “bring ’em on in” are welcome. Read the entire post and understand the meaning of the post. It is not about political parties, it is about common sense. Throwing blame around only shows that is what you want to do. Suggesting creative ideas shows you want to be part of the solution. My idea–create a reserved area in their own countries and protect and help them there. It can be done, it has been down before. Although not a perfect idea, it could work if done with thought, compassion and help from your tax dollar! What’s your idea?

    • The notion of utilizing safe havens for those trying to escape the violence has been on the table in some quarters. Unfortunately there are no areas in Syria and northern Irag that are safe. If there were, those people would be there today. As it stands the only areas that are safer are outside the conflict zone, which is quite widespread. Creating and defending such zones in their homeland would be difficult if not impossible.

      The genie is already out of the bottle on this issue. The region is for the most part completely destabilized with very few options for those trapped in conflict. What happened in Paris is going on everyday to someone. To deny these people humanitarian assistance is not in our best interest, and more importantly, lacks compassion No, the correct response is to take responsibility for our role in creating this catastrophe and do right by the very few who will actually qualify to enter this country.

  21. My husband and I are poor, but manage to get by. We will offer refuge to a Syrian family right here in our modest Montana home because that is how we were both raised and that is what decent people should do! And just in case anyone hasn’t noticed, who has been killing more innocent people in the US? Homegrown in the US terrorists, who can easily acquire weapons and proceed to slaughter grade school children, theater goers, workers in a Federal building in Oklahoma, People praying in church, etc., etc. Refugees are more securely vetted than people born in the US.

  22. I heard from someone the public polling for accepting European, and specifically Jewish, refugees before World War II when America was at the heights of isolationism. It was like 60% or more against allowing anyone in. Yet we did, and we seem to be the better for it. This lady would have agreed…

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