Written by CIS
This is a detailed report from CIS, originally published in the Washburn Law Journal. written by Cato, a former Senior Counsel at the United States Department of Justice. Links to full article, below, here is the introduction.
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history... . We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth. - Abraham Lincoln
The rhetoric of our past informs the debates of our present. On December 1, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln invited Congress, and an America in its 85th year, to bear witness to the huge and awful costs of wresting from battlefields freedom for an enslaved people. "The fiery trial through which we pass," he wrote, "will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation."2 Barely two years and four months later, Lincoln would observe that the "fiery trial" through which America had passed bore results "fundamental and astounding."3
These words are a distant mirror through which to examine another war, this one against terror, the front line of which is not, as some would argue, the mountains of Afghanistan or the plains of Iraq, but instead the nation’s borders and ports of entry.4 The picket lines of this war are contested in the New World rather than the Old, with staging areas located in the triple borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, and the Texas border with Mexico. It is not a set-piece war, but, as John Kennedy described the Cold War, a "long twilight struggle,"5 pitting a West of pluralism, private enterprise, and the rule of law against an ideology that has taken the ancient and honored faith of Islam, corrupted it with hatred and called for "Holy War."
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Original PDF from Washburn Law Journal
Islam, as interpreted by extremists who adopt terror as a means to political ends, bears only remote resemblance to the Islam of antiquity that centuries ago offered safe harbors for the thinkers and scientists of Europe and produced physicians and mathematicians of renown. It is remote also to those nations whose Muslim communities are a source of commerce, invention, and civic pride. Of the world’s Muslim faithful, terrorists compose the slimmest fraction. Yet this militant, violent fraction and those who make common cause with it today, from the terror cells of the Middle East to the clandestine enclaves of South America, strive to impose on the Free World that "uncertain balance of terror"6 that crashes planes into skyscrapers, blows up passenger-laden trains, and would detonate a nuclear weapon if given the opportunity.
This threat is not a monolith. It is, instead, expressed through competing iterations of Sunni and Shia in the same way communism, always inimical to the West, could be understood through Soviet and Chinese models and variations on their themes. Like their communist predecessors, who predicted the hammer and sickle of revolution would overwhelm the industrialized — and free — nations of the West, only to find the most backward countries could be recruited to their cause and then most often at the point of a gun, militant Islam has the same provenance and pretense.
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Militant, terroristic Islam has its foundations in the poorest corners of the earth. It is borderless, furtive, and fugitive — and, when not fugitive, it is the guest of nations that deny its presence. But for illicit trade, extorted payoffs, and secreted sums from nations that practice terror, it is financially insolvent; yet, because of this support, it is adequately financed. It is the antithesis of any government which opposes its ends of regional dominance and world influence. When expressed through its Iranian principals and their Hezbollah agents, it is the calculated product of a sovereign nation making war without declaration, seeking through nuclear ambitions and violence what it cannot persuade a doubting world to extend through diplomacy. Its divisive, sectarian roots assure that in time it will turn on itself7 — but not before it attempts to set the world on fire. While its messages of hate and intolerance limit its appeal, its ultra-violent character warns of unlimited peril.
America, historically secure and prosperous, with vast oceans as moats and peaceful trading partners buffering its unguarded frontiers, is the spiritual and material envy of the world. Yet the changing dynamics of war and warfare, from symmetrical to asymmetrical,8 confront it with the ugly reality that a nation uncertain in the defense of its borders, from even the casual trespass of those fleeing hunger to seek work, is, in turn, at the mercy of those whose trespass is malign. The war on terror affirms that threats to liberty abound. America’s borders are the tripwires of this war. Their violations sound an alarm heard in debates over immigration, terrorism, and national security. Over these debates looms the memory of laws and borders easily and violently broken on September 11, 2001.9 The story of 9/11 reveals this breaking began well before American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 on that fate-filled Tuesday morning. If American intelligence is correct, that breaking continues and with it the sieve-like migration of terror across United States borders, especially those of the Southwest.
Ignoring illegal immigration then, regardless of its purpose or means, as an expedient of war or politics or humanitarianism, is to make the issue itself a casualty — and a risk which will only worsen. Rejecting lawful immigration out of hand invites the backwardness of the Know Nothings, which Lincoln and a nascent Republican Party defeated in the 19th Century10 and, if unchecked in our own time, will repel the intelligent, creative, and industrious from the world’s largest and most dynamic economy.11 America’s support for policies that offer citizenship to deserving persons and safeguard its borders are as essential to liberty as its brave men and women at arms. A wise and implacable urgency should inform our actions as a nation and a people. Nothing less than the survival of America is at stake. The outcome of this conflict will indeed be "fundamental and astounding."
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