Saturday, April 08, 2006

Neocon Nativism and Iran in the Crosshairs

Apparently Charles Krauthammer has become a raving nativist. Maybe he didn't get the memo from Bill Kristol. Krauthammer says the Senate should forget about amnesty until we build a wall and there is demonstrable empirical evidence showing that the flow of illegal immigration has ceased. Krauthammer writes:

Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put in cameras. Put in sensors. Put out lots of patrols.

Can't be done? Israel's border fence has been extraordinarily successful in keeping out potential infiltrators who are far more determined than mere immigrants. Nor have very many North Koreans crossed into South Korea in the past 50 years.

Of course it will be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. But sometimes necessity trumps aesthetics. And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty. The fence around your house is a perfectly legitimate expression of your desire to control who comes into your house to eat, sleep and use the facilities. It imprisons no one.

Twenty-four questions to ask you elected "representatives" about any guest worker program.

Supporters of mass immigration argue that if American taxpayers are just patient, the masses of Mexican "immigrants" will assimilate into American life, become highly educated neurosurgeons, and probably vote Republican. But according to numbers compiled by Ed Rubenstein, the high school dropout rate for Hispanics increases over time. Meanwhile, while 5.4% of first generation Mexicans have a post high school degree by the FOURTH generation, that number climbs to just 9.6%. In short, poorly-educated immigrants produce poorly-educated children.

Corporate profits are an increasingly large share of GDP. Even as the efficiency of American workers continues to increase, as measured in output per worker, median family income declined in 2003 and 2004. As George Borjas has demonstrated, the primary impact of mass immigration is shifting wealth from native workers to employers. Ed Rubenstein provides some relevant facts ignored in places like the NY Times and Washington Post--not to mention the Cato Institute:

Recent data seem to confirm this. The construction industry is booming, home builders are racking up record profits, yet average construction wages have fallen between 15 percent and 35 percent across the country—the result of cheap immigrant labor.

Similarly, the service industries—restaurants, hotels, motels, cleaning companies, etc. – are major employers of immigrant labor. These industries are booming, creating wealth for executives and shareholders. But average real wages of service industry workers have declined since 2001.

The saber rattling over Iran continues. The President has initiated discussions on plans for military action against Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat. The unnamed Democrat says:

No one in the meetings "is really objecting” to the talk of war. "The people they’re briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?" (Iran is building facilities underground.) "There’s no pressure from Congress" not to take military action, the House member added. “The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it." Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, "The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision."

One initial option provided by the military calls for the use of "bunker buster" nuclear weapons to make certain that all of Iran's potential nuke sites are destroyed. The nuclear option is apparently being resisted within the military establishment and as with the Iraq fiasco, it appears to be civilians in the bureaucracy pushing the envelope. One Pentagon advisor has

Confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it "a juggernaut that has to be stopped." He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. "There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries," the adviser told me. "This goes to high levels." The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. "The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks," the adviser said. "And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen."

The adviser added, however, that the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons in such situations has gained support from the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel whose members are selected by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "They’re telling the Pentagon that we can build the B61 with more blast and less radiation," he said.

Where is the pressure for immediate action coming from? According to the Washington Post, "The administration is also coming under pressure from Israel, which has warned the Bush team that Iran is closer to developing a nuclear bomb than Washington thinks and that a moment of decision is fast approaching."

From Joseph Sobran:

Back in the real world, as it is affectionately nicknamed, the war in Iraq is steadily losing favor. Even Bill Buckley, the retired founder of a pro-war magazine, says it’s time to admit defeat. This causes the magazine’s current editors, who favor nuking Mecca, to write that Buckley’s opinion is “premature.” After all, the war is not yet three years old, and you have to give these cakewalks at least a decade to work.

Politics is actually a lot of fun, if you observe it with a sense of humor and don’t get your hopes up. After all, politicians are basically just like the rest of us, and they behave just the way you or I might behave if we had the power to jail or shoot our creditors. In a democracy, the creditors are called “citizens” and the really gullible ones are called “voters.” Look in the mirror and ask yourself — honestly, now — which category you fall into. Keep the number of your local suicide hotline at hand.

It’s bad enough being a “citizen,” so I decided some time ago not to compound my troubles by being a “voter” too. This enabled me to see the world with an exhilarating clarity. Suddenly all the politicians bidding for my vote became comical little butts, like the figures in a Bruegel painting. At least I didn’t feel I was their butt anymore. Their slave, maybe, but no longer their butt.


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