When the title is that long, you know this is going to be a rough ride.  The good news is that I try to do these posts at the top of the week so there’s time for you to get to them.

I’m going to put a different spin on Trump’s second attempt at a travel ban from seven six Muslim countries and try to explain why I think it’s for the best.  This is the most ambitious post I’ve ever written.  I am going to try to convince every single one of you that Trump’s travel ban is necessary and that once it has run its course, we need to take in as many refugees as we can.

If I’m successful at this nigh-impossible task, I will have become convinced that I’m a sort of warlock.  From there, I’m not sure if I’ll start working on turning random metal things into gold or finally get around to building the dream Fortress of Doom in the mountains that I’ve always wanted.

Let’s get the basic details out of the way.  This is not a “Muslim Ban”.  It is a temporary ban on the issuance of visas from five failed states that happen to be Muslim-majority countries and are currently engaged in some level of insurgency or civil war and those “governments” may not have the ability to verify that people traveling from those countries aren’t terrorists.  The other one is Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism and hates us.  This ban is presumably intended to allow for a review period to ensure that the most effective vetting procedures are in place for preventing dangerous extremists from posing as refugees or workers and entering our country to kill Americans.  That’s the rationale we’re being given, whether you believe it or not.

Oh, yeah, this ban excludes current visa holders, which means that the vetting procedures that were in place up to this point are being accepted as “good enough” for the time being, which would seem to invalidate the need for a temporary travel ban to review vetting procedures.  For its part, the national security community says that this is all utterly pointless.

“Then why the fucking hell is Trump doing this?”

It’s for Trump to keep one of his campaign promises and look strong and decisive, obviously.   Oh, you really need more than that?  Fine…

I’m going to start this off from a surprising direction.  I will explain why I want us to take refugees in from these countries and why my fellow Republicans should too.

I hate ISIS and other Islamic extremists and I want them to be defeated.  I think everybody does.  They have like a 0.4% approval rate in the United States which would include a small number of would-be jihadists who read their propaganda in between doing shots and cruising gay bars and a handful of young girls who think hijabs “look cute”.

I’m sorry to say that we cannot bomb them out of existence.  They’re driven by ancient ideas and they will always find new recruits wherever there are losers in abject circumstances who can be convinced that being part of something greater than themselves will improve their life no matter how crazy, illegal, and apocalyptic it may be.  As someone once said (I think it was PJ O’Rourke or at least it’s something he would have said if he thought of it), “War will always find assholes to fight it.”  These extremists won’t be defeated until their ideas are.

A couple of years ago, I became interested in this concept of defeating their ideas, but I didn’t really understand what their ideas were beyond dressing like even more emo versions of Kylo Ren and raping everything.  To find out, I started watching their propaganda and reading everything I could find on the subject matter.

Those of you who know me well are aware that I’m Mr. Undiagnosed Untreated ADD.  Man, I think my average meandering post is sort of the giveaway, right?  I have a tendency to hyperfocus when I find something interesting and I find ISIS very interesting.   I watched hours of their propaganda videos with subtitles.  Like, way more than is healthy for a sane adult to watch.  I’ve seen the same people being forced to dig their own graves, the same Iraqi and Syrian soldiers and cops get shot, the same bodies burn, and the same doomed women weeping over and over again.  After about a week, it was starting to affect my moods and I felt like I was going to throw up all the time.  You might think you’re hardcore because you made it through Human Centipede 1 & 2 Unrated on Blue-ray, but this was real shit.

Mrs Thrill was completely beside herself while I was doing this and was convinced that I had gotten us on every single Terrorism Watch List and neither of us would ever be allowed to board a plane ever again. But I didn’t care because she hates flying anyway.  Seriously, she wants to drive out to Disney World one of these years.  Who has the time or patience for this?  Screw that.  Besides, I have it on good authority that you have to watch ISIS videos and have an active Grindr account before the FBI comes looking for you.  They know how to do profiling, am I right?

Once I got past the horrorshow nature of it all (wasn’t easy), I started picking up on some of the key things that were being communicated.  First of all, they’re idiots.  All of the propaganda that they put forward is very heavy on visuals that they absolutely should not be proud of and yet they are.

I mean, al-Qaeda propaganda videos always made sense.  You’d see some images of them training, the aftermath of the Embassy Bombings, the USS Cole bearing the damage it sustained, and scenes from 9/11.  The message was clear: “We are killing Westerners; the people who are oppressing you.  Look how successful we are at attacking the powerful foreign enemy at their strongest points.”

This is not the case with ISIS propaganda.  Almost everything I saw portrayed how much they love killing Muslims.  They like shooting unarmed Muslims on the street without warning, executing masses of Muslim soldiers they’ve captured, and making Muslims beg for their lives before they cut their heads off.  I mean, to them, these Muslims are “apostates”.  Not really Muslims, by their recknoning.  Kurds and Shi’ites, but also FSA fighters and Syrian Army loyalists, who I would presume are often Sunni but made the mistake of not being on the side that thinks it’s following the only true representation of Islam that’s even possible for anyone who wants to call himself a Muslim.

Still, it sure looked to me like they’re killing Muslims and I’m pretty sure that me and the mostly-sane 1 billion Muslims on Earth are in total agreement on that.  The message is, “Look at how successful we are at killing people like you.  We will kill you too and laugh at you while we’re doing it.”

So, that’s the first thing I learned.  Islamic extremists have successfully terrorized the same people they were supposed to get to sympathize with their cause and fight for it.  It isn’t working out too well for them.  They’re losing.

Where ISIS does have a better case with their propaganda is where they speak to Muslims and explain that they are doomed to marginalization when they live in the West.  They tell them that they are second-class citizens in the heathen countries where they were either born and raised or immigrated to.  The goal is to “polarize” them.  To force them to choose a side: the godless West or the true faith.

What they want most of all is for all true Muslims to come and fight with them in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere.  They must have territory and that territory must be exactly where they define it in their name: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or, more accurately, “ISIL”.  The “L” stands for the Levant.  Big area.

The truth is that they haven’t carried out any major attacks in the West, at least not 9/11 style or even Madrid bombing level, because that’s not what their focus is.  Their short-term goal is to destroy the apostate kingdoms and dictatorships that currently rule Iraq and the Levant.  Seriously, it’s right there in the name.  The world domination stuff comes much later.

Do they encourage attacks against us here at home?  Definitely.  However, they aren’t doing it to destroy us.  They’re doing it to turn us against the Muslims who live among us. 

They want you to hate and fear Muslims and to make them feel unwelcome here.  It serves their purposes.  Not only that, they want to make sure that we don’t take in any more Muslims from where they belong: the Islamic State.  Refugees are a big problem in the ISIS messaging war.

Think about it.  If you’re running the one place in the world in which true Islam is practiced, how do you think it makes you look when Muslims are terrified of you and fleeing to the lands of your worst enemies to escape you? Refugees are a problem for ISIS because the fact that people would rather risk their own children dying in a perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea than stay and fight for Islam proves what sick, lying fucks they are.

What’s the best way to stop the flow of refugees?  Get Western nations to refuse to accept them if you can’t physically stop people who are terrified of you from escaping.  How do you do that?  I don’t know.  Maybe encourage Muslims in those countries to carry out tiny attacks with any means at their disposal and tell the West that you’re sneaking a bunch of your fighters in with the refugees?  You think that might do it?

Face facts, guys.  We cannot ultimately defeat them on the battlefield.  The Arabs and the Iranians are going to have to do it.  This whole thing is their fault anyway.  They nurtured these beliefs.  They spread this ideology.  Now it’s killing them and they can either put it down and stop spreading dumb ideas or they can have their heads chopped off by ISIS.  Their choice, not ours.

We can certainly help, but we cannot lead it and we aren’t going to send in a half million troops to do it.  It would just make things worse and it wouldn’t work anyway.  They would just fade into the background, return to an insurgency, and wait us out again.  We have killed tens of thousands of them over the past 16 years and more keep appearing.

We have to discredit their ideas once and for all.  Prove that Muslims can peacefully coexist with us, if they want to.  They can live in our countries, become citizens, find jobs, raise families, vote, and enjoy all of our freedoms provided that they follow our laws.  Every single Muslim who accomplishes this represents a dagger aimed at the heart of ISIS.  They hate it.

They hate knowing that any Muslim can come to America, set up his own business or otherwise find work, and pray the way he wants to without feeling any need to kill people or have sex slaves as they think Mohammed intended.  It proves that everything they believe about their own people is wrong.

We want the refugees.   I don’t feel the need to guilt you into it or tell you any sob stories or show you any pictures of drowned babies.  I’m just telling you that if you want ISIS and other Islamic extremists to stop this, to go away, to fail, and to die off then you want us to accept the refugees who are trying to escape them as a military measure.  Every single one we welcome here is a big, fat middle finger right in al-Baghdadi’s face.  You want to hurt ISIS, don’t you?  Of course you do.

All that said, we need to make sure that we don’t actually let in any ISIS guys.  We’ll cover that next.  In the meantime, here is my first requirement for warlock status:

Objective 1: Convince everyone that we need to accept refugees from countries where people are being terrorized by Islamic extremists because it is both the right thing to do and because it undermines their core message thus serving our military strategy.

If everyone agrees on that, I get my black robe for starters.

Next, I’m mostly going to be speaking to Democrats and other people who hate Trump’s travel ban and explain why they should grit their teeth, understand why it’s necessary, and let it go forward.

This is actually much easier.  As you know, millions of Americans, mostly Republicans, are afraid of Islamist-inspired terrorism.  When ISIS tells them that they are going to send in refugees and that there are already thousands of Muslims living among us who want to kill us, these people are taking them at their word.  

As far as they’re concerned, every Muslim coming here is a threat and it is impossible for Muslims to adapt to our ways because they all want Sharia law.  As I explained above, these mistaken beliefs serve nobody’s interests except ISIS’s.

“But we have vetting procedures in place,” you might say.  “We’ve had years to develop the best screening measures and they’ll work as well as can reasonably be expected.  Additionally, our law enforcement agencies have been dealing with the threat of terrorism since 9/11.  Yes, the threat is still there, but they’re doing a good job of prevention overall.  Even when attacks do happen, they can’t destroy our society.  Why don’t you wing-nuts get that?  You asshole.”

I’m going to tell you something and you’re going to hate it, but you know in your heart it’s true.  Ready for it?

Republicans do not believe that President Obama took the threat of “Radical Islamic Terrorism” seriously and do not believe that he prioritized sufficient screening measures over simply accepting as many refugees as possible on humanitarian grounds.  In short, they don’t trust the intentions or objectives of the Obama Administration and never will.  You know I’m right about this.

So, how do we get them to accept the vetting procedures and start letting refugees come in again?  There’s only one way.  Let Trump conduct his temporary review and either verify that the vetting is sufficient or add whichever measures that will be sufficient to convince Republicans, assuming that these measures are legal and Constitutional.

Republicans will never, ever believe that the security protocols put in place by Obama are sufficient but they will believe Trump if he tells them that his Administration has performed a review and that sufficient ones are now in place.  Trump ran on this.

Even better, Trump owns the entire program at that point and can’t blame Obama if any refugees really do turn out bad.  Given the hundreds of thousands of refugees we’ve accepted from those countries in the past decade and how very, very few have been problematic, I’d feel pretty safe doing it if I’m Trump.

Will Trump begin allowing in Muslim refugees once the temporary ban is lifted?  I say yes.  Secretary Mattis and numerous others will tell him the exact same things I have explained to Republicans.  It is in our best interests.  Besides, Trump has shown that he can be persuaded to change his mind, which is why Iraq is no longer on the ban list and Syria is no longer under an indefinite ban.

What I’m trying to get you to accept is the argument that Republicans are never going to believe it’s safe to accept these refugees until Trump tells them it is and you should give him the opportunity to do so.  Yes, the temporary ban is going to suck for people who need to get out now, but think of the consequences if Trump keeps placing these travel bans and they keep getting knocked down by the courts.

ISIS will see that its propaganda is working and that they are successfully polarizing our society against Muslims.  They will encourage more attacks, they will use Trojan Horse Refugees as much as possible to carry out attacks, and then they will vow more attacks.  Trump will log onto Twitter and explain that he is trying to protect the American people, but “so-called judges” are interfering with it and putting the American people in danger.  He’s going to blame the Judiciary, the Democrats, the media, and Muslims.

Do you want to undermine and see public opinion inflamed against those institutions and people? Tell me.  Who benefits from that?  Why, Donald Trump, of course.

That’s why I say that the travel ban must happen.  Yes, I know you hate it, but there is no other way to get Republicans on board.  Trump can’t do it without their support and he can’t get it if he’s not allowed to fulfill his campaign promise to carry out his travel ban.  It’s for show, but it’s necessary to convince people who otherwise will fight bringing in more refugees that it’s safe to let them in.

So, if everyone agrees on this, then I get my scepter and can start warlocking with the best of them:

Objective 2: Persuade everyone that allowing Trump to carry out the travel ban, review vetting procedures, and keep his promise to his voters is the only way people who fear allowing in refugees from those countries will ever accept those refugees.

Whew.  That’s what I have.  Is everyone convinced or do we need to hash it out further in the comments?  Also, if anyone says tl;dr, it counts as a vote for making me a warlock.

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If there’s one thing politicians hate (except maybe for some Republicans) it is to be called racist. Lifting the travel ban would remove that incentive, and the Left would have no clear political target to blame.

Really good post, i think you got it well explained… Im not so hot on letting in people just because they are refuges. Do they REALLY want to come here? Are they really willing to assimilate? Do they Want to be Americans?.. Bring them here for the sake of doing something just doesnt blow up my skirt any. Now if i understand the correct figures, is that a vast majority of these refuges are male between the ages of 17 and 40. This just doesn’t seem like a real refugee flow to me…but more like people taking advantage of a… Read more »


Thanks, Grendel. Good points here and I’ll respond where I can…. Now if i understand the correct figures, is that a vast majority of these refuges are male between the ages of 17 and 40. This just doesn’t seem like a real refugee flow to me I don’t know what the specific composition is for refugees who want to come to the US. I do want to ensure that women and children and families are put at the front of the line, absolutely. That said, those military age men ARE legitimate refugees. If they stay in Syria, they’ll be pressed… Read more »


Not commenting also counts as voting for me to get warlock status.


Wow, I really want to argue with, but you are right. I agree that the ban is a total farce for the benefit of the Trump voter, especially those who think 9/11 occurred on Obama’s watch. Much like Trump claiming that the employment numbers last month were real and good v. the exact same employment numbers during the past 12 months which were fake and sad, the new ‘extreme’ vetting procedures will be exactly the same as they were before the ban (keep in mind they were put in under Bush, not under Obama.) The only aspect I think you… Read more »




if you become a warlock, do you promise to use your powers for good? Firefly reunion, peace in the Middle East, that sort of thing?


I am sure there will be many, many other reasons to call politicians racist. Just look at Steve King.


You know, there’s that part in Fellowship of the Ring when Frodo and Sam look into Galadriel’s mirror (I’m such a dork) and see all of the bad things that will happen or could happen. Sam says to Galadriel that if she had the One Ring and all the power in the world, she’d stop bad things like that from happening and make things right in the world. Galadriel’s reply was basically, “Yes, that’s how it would start.” That’s always stuck with me. I’ve been content to be a nobody because I strongly suspect that it’s best for everyone if… Read more »


Gawd. I need to get a post up on that, but I have no idea where to begin. That guy is such a screwhead.


Was he the “legitimate rape” guy?


Ooh, that’s a nice loop back to your time travel post…


Very astute. That is in fact where I wanted to take that discussion by talking about how we wouldn’t know what to do with such great power because of our limited understanding and easily misdirected notions of morality. I’ve always been interested in the corrupting nature of power. But I ended up getting distracted and getting more into the book and movie discussion

And that is what happens when I don’t manage my own Discourse threads.


No, that was Todd Akin, from my state I’m sorry to say. He lost to Claire McCaskill. The ONLY reason she won is because she got him as an opponent. I don’t know if she’ll be lucky enough for us to nominate someone that stupid again, but there’s a good chance we’ve got one waiting in the wings.

I really need to make it a point to vote in midterm primaries.


Looked it up. Akin started it, then King defended him with ‘I’ve never heard of pregnancy from rape happening’ and ‘It’s legal to get someone pregnant then take them across state lines for an abortion.’


Well, if you are interested in the corrupting nature of power, giving it to Trump is an awesome experiment.


It was the Saruman vs Sauron election. Up to you which is which.


Cruz is Saruman and Trump is Sauron, I think. Hillary is Gandalf (not Galadriel, sure, but not evil.)
You shall not out-geek me!

Your first point is the liberal position. It’s what we’ve been saying all along – essentially you’re arguing in favour of multiculturalism. The problem is that Trump was elected on a wave of nationalism – a feeling that we all needed to close our doors and look after ourselves (defined however you want it to be) first before we even start thinking about welcoming people into the great American Experiment (this was/is the same in the UK with brexit) So I guess I agree with your aim, but not sure how we’re going to do it. Us Liberals have been… Read more »


No, I’m not arguing in favor of multiculturalism at all. I still expect immigrants to conform to our society. Learn the language, obey our laws, and please check any harmful attitudes or backward practices at the border. The multiculturalist expects our society to conform to them I am “grizzled.” You’ll get no argument there. I’m even “rugged”. Republicans aren’t simply scared of refugees or immigrants nor do any but the most extreme favor cutting them off. What they want are certain assurances: 1. That immigrants are not being brought in simply to take jobs at lower wages, leaving citizens out… Read more »


The problem is that Trump was elected on a wave of nationalism – a feeling that we all needed to close our doors and look after ourselves (defined however you want it to be) first before we even start thinking about welcoming people into the great American Experiment (this was/is the same in the UK with brexit) Is it wrong to want the Government to take care of the 50,000 homeless vets in this country before offering aid and money to foreign nationals? That’s where I sit in this. I’m all for letting people in after extreme vetting, and provided… Read more »


It’s entirely possible to take care of homeless vets *and* refugees at the same time. Take some of that $600bn we spend on the military.
Islamic terrorists have killed about 75 Americans per year if you count 9/11. 6 per year if you don’t include 9/11 since the new screening procedures were instituted after that. I am much more likely to choke on my food or drown. Sure, i am pissed off at Saudis for 9/1, but I am as afraid of being killed by a terrorist as I am of being struck by lightening or killed by a shark.

Who says being for Multiculturalism is for immigrants breaking laws? As for your three assurances – well I guess you could argue that they’re all assured to a degree – it just depends on whether you trust the source or not. My point is that Trump has made serious hay out of exploiting those worries, and dismissed any claims that those worries are unfounded. What’s his motivation for giving up that tried and true way of getting out the vote. Ditto every single Republican congressperson. And how do I see Trump seeing himself? As popular. I don’t actually think he… Read more »

There’s nothing wrong with that. But your question is begging… Doing one doesn’t preclude the other. And that’s the nationalism – taking a legitimate problem, and pointing at ‘the other’ as the reason for the problem. For a start – I don’t see the ‘taking care of homeless vets’ bill anytime soon. A great example of this is the Brexit Bus Slogan – “we send $350m to Europe, we should use that for the NHS”. It makes sense, right? But the thing is that money wasn’t ‘spent’ on Europe, and could just be rediverted into the NHS coffers. It was… Read more »


I should probably explain. When I say “obey our laws” that’s code for “don’t try to act like the laws in your old country apply here.” I put that there for the benefit of people who say that all Muslims want to immigrate here and establish Sharia Law. I do not believe that myself, I’m just emphasizing that I fully expect anyone who lives here to fully submit to our judicial tradition and laws. Nothing more than that. Of my three assurances, I think #2 is the most assured. I have doubts about the other two. You speak about popularity… Read more »

I did get what you meant. My point was that multiculturalism (i.e. what us snowflakes believe) is about not doing that. I can respect someones belief that women shouldn’t be able to drive (I don’t, but theoretically I could) but I wouldn’t support them preventing women from driving. You’re arguing for multiculturalism. Come on in, we have gluten free beer. What the Nationalism is about is that any immigration policies we have should serve best interests of our nation, not Mexico’s or any other nation’s. Absolutely. Except it starts from the premise that it isn’t already. I feel like you’re… Read more »


It’s entirely possible to take care of homeless vets *and* refugees at the same time. But do we? When was the last time you heard of something actually being done by Washington for our homeless vets? The VA was run in such a way that getting our vets killed through negligent or non-existent care was actually rewarded. That boggles my mind. That $60k spent for a single refugee to be brought to this country would do a heck of a lot more good right here at home for our own citizens. The priorities in Washington, and those who want more… Read more »


What the Nationalism is about is that any immigration policies we have should serve best interests of our nation, not Mexico’s or any other nation’s. It’s insane that we are expected to accept millions of people who have no job skills, require public assistance to survive, and require various accommodations from translation services to special education programs that sap valuable resources educating our kids.

This! x1000!


For a start – I don’t see the ‘taking care of homeless vets’ bill anytime soon.


Just because the media doesn’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Anyone who has a priority of refugees over something as noble as this needs to remove their heads from their asses. Just one of the many reasons why Washington is so screwed up.


I’m sorry, man, but I’m just not following you on the multiculturalism point you’re making. I’m going to let it be. What you’re saying is that he pointed out something wasn’t in our best interests (when it was) in order to get elected and supported. And you expect him to pivot to the ‘truth’ now? Okay, this I can work with. During the campaign, Trump knew that the GOP base was worried about what they were hearing about on the news in Europe. Refugees turning jihadi, sexually assaulting women, and committing other crimes. So Trump said, “I hear you. That’s… Read more »

I get you man. Totally, and agree that would be awesome. My point is that his bases perception that it’s a problem is a good tool for him electorally. So I see two options. 1. He does what you say. Republicans now are comfortable that letting in refugees is now safe. He can use it to negotiate a deal of some sort. But on the minus side, he’s given up the narrative that’s the Right has been using (rightly or wrongly) to motivate their base for the past 15 years. In addition to that he now owns the issue. If… Read more »


I wish I knew what to tell you. I just don’t think you’ve got the argument framed right. You’re claiming that Trump will resist letting in tens of thousands of refugees because of electoral concerns, but that assumption doesn’t take into account international pressure or the advice of the Pentagon and State Department on Trump. He has to let in refugees. Trump is going to be under enormous pressure to accept refugees and it is necessary that we do so. His electoral prospects don’t depend on keeping out all but a trickle of refugees. They depend on his credibility in… Read more »

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