How does war mongering work? Well, first you plant the seeds of fear.
So it is hardly any surprise that presidential candidate and governor of Texas Rick Perry told an audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation in DC that it is a “very real possibility” that terrorists from the extremest group ISIS may have crossed into the US at the southern border. He did add that he has absolutely no evidence to support this, but the point he made is that as long as the border is insecure “individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be” taking advantage of the situation. “We need to have clear and compelling forces, both law and enforcement and otherwise, to send the message that the border is secure.”
Of course, making a border as long and isolated as the US southern border completely secure is completely impossible. And even if you could, how would you stop a terrorist-filled boat from landing anywhere on our extensive coastlines? It just reminds me of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) that threw hundreds of billions of dollars at defense contractors to guard against a threat that turned out to be a tempest in a teapot.
Perry went on to call for a stronger response to ISIS, including even more airstrikes. “When they talk about limited airstrikes, they place a great emphasis on the word ‘limited,’ yet clearly more airstrikes are necessary. Nothing less than a sustained air campaign to degrade and destroy ISIS forces is required.” And when asked by a reporter if he would support combat troops on the ground, Perry responded “all your options have to be open”.
The message of fear was amplified by a member of the Republican National Committee, who on her radio show said that the children from Central America coming across our border could be “highly trained as warriors who will meet up with their group here and actually rise up against us as Americans.” Her guest, a member of the Tea Party, agreed: “We do know that Hamas and Hezbollah run several training camps in Venezuela and other South American countries, and they are training these young – these youths – beginning as early as 8 or 9 years old through the MS13 gangs. They are being trained as warriors, you’re absolutely right.”
While I have a great deal of sympathy for the opinion that when we invaded Iraq (based on lies and misinformation), we broke it and now we have responsibility for fixing it. But the real question is what can we do that won’t merely make the situation worse?