In the name of National Security
On January 27th, 2017, an executive order was signed barring all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Excluded from the list are several majority-Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Why does this matter?
In the 16 years since September 11th, 2001, there have been forty-two attacks that have been categorized as "terrorist attacks" in the United States. They have occurred nation-wide. They have ranged from the cyber attacks by North Korea against Sony Pictures to the forty-nine dead in an Orlando nightclub. Environmentalists have committed fire bombings. Anti-choice activists have sprayed bullets in a Planned Parenthood clinic. Many and varied agendas have caused people to act with violence. Two hundred and fifty people have died.
Three of the forty-two attacks have never been attributed to anyone, their perpetrators unknown. US citizens, born in the United States, committed twenty-nine of the attacks and ten were perpetrated by people born in other countries. Since September 11th, 2001, fourteen of the forty-two attacks have had a connection to Islam. Fourteen out of forty-two.
In response to the attacks of September 11th and the fourteen since, we have now banned travel from selected nations. We have had discussions on banning Muslims from coming to the United States. We are talking about a Muslim registry. What does this have to do with national security? The answer is: nothing.
There were nineteen hijackers on the four planes on September 11th. Fifteen were from Saudi Arabia, two were born in the United Arab Emirates, one was Egyptian, and one was Lebanese. Not a single one of the hijackers would have been affected by the travel ban.
July 4, 2002 Los Angeles Airport shooting was committed by an Egyptian national. Not banned.
October 2002, Beltway sniper attacks, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were born in the United States. US-born, not banned.
March 5, 2006 UNC SUV attack: an Iranian-American—US citizen, who came to US at the age of 2. Now banned. July 28, 2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting, an American citizen of Pakistani descent. US-born, not banned.
June 1, 2009 Arkansas recruiting office shooting, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is a US-born citizen. US-born, not banned.
November 5, 2009 2009 Fort Hood shooting, Nidal Malik Hasan is from Virginia. US-born, not banned.
April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were born in former Soviet Republics. Not banned. May 5, 2015: Curtis Culwell Center attack: the attackers were born in Illinois, Texas, and Pennsylvania respectively. US-born, not banned. July 16, 2015 Chattanooga shootings, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez was from Kuwait. Not banned. December 21, 2015 San Bernardino attack: Rizwan Farook was born in Chicago and Tashfeen Malik was from Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia. US-born and Not banned. June 12, 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Omar Mateen, was an American-born citizen with Afghan immigrant parents. US-born, not banned. September 17, 2016 Minnesota mall stabbing, the perpetrator was born in Kenya. Not banned.
September 17–19, 2016 New York/New Jersey bombings, the suspect was from Afghanistan. Not banned.
November 28, 2016 Ohio State University attack, the attacker, was from Somalia. Now banned.
The current travel ban would have prevented two of the forty-three
terrorist attacks committed in the last sixteen years. September 11th still would have happened. Forty other terrorist attacks still would have happened. What does this ban have to do with national security? Nothing.
We should be concerned that it is the first step towards something more.
For some context...
Since 1800, 3,088 people have been killed in attacks with connections to Islam within the United States of America.
Since 1865, at least 3,041 have been killed in attacks attributed to the Ku Klux Klan