February 7, 2017 by John Bruce Leonard
The Battle for Bowling Green
COUNSELOR to the President Kellyanne Conway has lately stepped on another spine, and finds herself once again enjoying her rapport with her favorite segment of contemporary American society—the press.
Here the spine: Mrs. Conway, seeking to defend Donald Trump’s immigration policies, made recent reference to a certain “Bowling Green Massacre,” by which she wished to illustrate the dangers of our airy immigration policies. Trouble was (as the press lost no time in bringing to public attention) the massacre in question never happened.
Now, anyone reading any of the reports of Mrs. Conway’s slip of the tongue is liable to take the easy message: Mrs. Conway and her “alternate facts” have struck again; the Trump administration has once more revealed its unbending loyalty to the truth and its impeccable devotion to data. And the executive orders which had attempted to curtail certain portions of our immigration policy, are based on nothing better than the figments of diseased minds.
But prithee stay a moment: a little deeper now. For this “Bowling Green Massacre” was not cut of air; and the deceptions of Mrs. Conway—let us not bite our tongues on the matter, for deceive, she did—were more in the misrepresentation than in the fabrication.
For though there was no massacre at Bowling Green, Bowling Green was, by the say of the Department of Justice, the site of the arrest of two Iraqi nationals, who had been permitted to enter the United States under the guise of refugees (after being subjected to what we are continually assured is an extremely rigid vetting process), where they at once set to work undermining the country that was supposed to be succoring them. The two men were subsequently convicted (one to life in prison, and the other to forty years), having been found guilty of nothing less than “conspiring to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of IEDs; attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to AQI and conspiring to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.”
Ah, is that all! No bloodshed, no “terrorism”! Why, they were only amassing weapons and money to arm and fund our enemies abroad! Venal crimes, those, and surely nothing to lose sleep over. Pah! Some massacre!
In its critique of Mrs. Conway, the Washington Post reminds us that Trump’s immigration policies are targeted against domestic terrorism; and since our Iraqi friends had no evident designs on Bowling Green or on any Americans within the country, we are evidently to agree that this whole fiasco has nothing to do with the executive orders on immigration. Now, credit where credit is due: the Post is surely right: these men were far too busy playing the parasites of the nation that hosted them and plotting to kill American soldiers abroad with the weapons and the money they had stolen from the United States, to ever think of carrying out a massacre at Bowling Green.
Lay aside the question of whether we are really to assume that men who are capable of the one thing, are not capable of the other. But I wonder if this argument does not demonstrate just how absolutely ludicrous our situation has become. We are evidently expected to countenance the presence of these people, since the worst they have done so far is fund the death of our compatriots abroad. And this is really an argument?
The irresponsibility of Mrs. Conway lies in this, that she has shifted attention away from the real question here—just who the devil we are letting cross our borders, and just what they have been getting up to—by once more directing the fickle public eye toward the circus-tent of the Trump Administration. By inventing immigrant-led terrorist attacks that never took place, rather than drawing our attention to ones that have, she does no favors to the policy she would defend. Thanks to her antics, the press has been able to concentrate wholly on the question of whether the Counselor to the President has the responsibility to speak accurately and to the point.
Of course she does. But I will ask my readers—what is the greater sin? Exaggerating with one’s speech? Or reprimanding such abuses of language, to the point of distracting away from vital questions of national security?