PARIS -- As someone living in France, a country subjected to multiple Islamic terrorist attacks over the past couple of years, I'd be the last to criticize the spirit of President Trump's initiative to secure American borders through extreme vetting. I've witnessed firsthand the result of creeping insecurity and cultural disintegration directly attributable to Europe's insistence on treating its borders as mere suggestions rather than enforceable boundaries. If Trump fails to get a handle on the situation, America will look a lot like Europe.
The problem isn't limited to dangerous radicals who might commit terrorist atrocities -- it also expands to include those communities hiding these individuals from authorities, protecting them, harboring them via a code of silence. Police sources have told me that these areas are, in essence, no-go zones where the police are at high risk of attack. This is the endgame of a national immigration policy that fails to take into account security and cultural compatibility.
Entering America is a privilege, not a right. Every country that has succeeded in maintaining its cultural identity has a selective system in place that rejects or approves entrants based on country of origin.
The civil rights crowd that whines about arbitrary screening should welcome reliable vetting. Anything less would subject immigrants to ongoing suspicion. The problem for civil rights advocates, however, is that proper government vetting requires intelligence work, which these proponents typically reject in favor of personal privacy protections.
Proper vetting is also impossible without reforming the intelligence community. We're talking about the same intelligence community that issued student visas to dead terrorists in the wake of the September 11 attacks; the same intelligence community that can't confirm or deny when a key terror suspect is reportedly killed via drone strike. If they can't confirm whether the terrorists they're pursuing are alive or dead, how can they reliably vet the average joe coming into the U.S. from the same region?
Finally, Trump should keep in mind the lesson of Napoleon Bonaparte. A grand strategist, Napoleon nonetheless failed in 1812 to pay attention to the logistics of forcing his foot soldiers to rely on the sparse Russian landscape for food and water (rather than supply wagons) during the attempted conquest of the country. This defeat was instrumental in his downfall and eventual exile. As the old adage goes, amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics.
And talking about logistics, whoever implemented Trump's order to temporarily ban "immigrants and nonimmigrants" from seven Muslim-majority countries -- Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen -- from entering the U.S., should be drop-kicked into a black hole. The logistical implementation of Trump's executive order was just about as effective as Napoleon's Russian Campaign, minus the frostbite and starvation.
On Saturday morning, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News: "(Trump) said put a commission together, show me the right way to do it legally. I put a commission together ... and what we did was we focused on, instead of religion, danger -- the areas of the world that create danger for us."
If we're talking about terror-sponsoring nations, why are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Pakistan and other nations omitted? Moreover, what act of terrorism has Iran committed or sponsored against the United States?
The selection of the seven countries is interesting unto itself. So is the fact that Giuliani attended the 2012 Paris rally of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian dissident group that was on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. The MEK and the Islamic State share a common sponsor -- Saudi Arabia. In 2007, the Associated Press reported that Saudi Arabia was one of "Giuliani's law and lobbying clients..." Is that why they were not targeted?
The ban has caused needless chaos for law-abiding travelers worldwide. Legal permanent residents of the United States were detained at airports, not sure if they would be allowed to return home, dual passport holders were confused as to whether the directive applied to them and international airlines employing foreign cabin crew, already vetted six ways from Sunday, scrambled mid-flight. There's no excuse for this. It smacks of a Keystone-Kop-style bumbling.
To put it in terms that Trump the real estate magnate might understand: You asked someone to build you a sleek new skyscraper and provided them the overall vision. But someone didn't check the angles, and what you got back was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. That leaning monstrosity, like this administration, now has your name on it.
And the buck stops with you.