Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Convicted Liar Lies About Obama’s “Shameful” Refugee Policy

Elliott Abrams, convicted for lying before Congress during the Reagan years, has willfully misinterpreted President Obama’s recent comments on refugees in order to repeat the far-right cliché that the president is anti-Christian.

Print Friendly

LobeLog

Elliott Abrams’ conviction for lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings should offer some indication of the neoconservative’s loyalty to the truth. But that setback certainly hasn’t discouraged Abrams from taking shortcuts with facts in the greater interest of scoring dubious points in the right-wing blogosphere.

Yesterday, Abrams took to the website of Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard to accuse President Obama of calling the provision of assistance to Christian refugees “shameful” even “while [the State Department] claims that’s exactly what it’s doing.”

Indeed, Obama did call something shameful, and the State Department does prioritize assistance to persecuted religious minorities, even if Abrams was a bit fuzzy on that point when he declared that “the Obama administration has abandoned Middle Eastern Christians and other minorities during years of violent assaults.”

But Obama wasn’t criticizing that policy, and Abrams appears to be willfully misinterpreting Obama’s words in order to repeat the far-right cliché that the president is anti-Christian.

Obama was, however, criticizing the mainly Republican push to exclude Muslim refugees on the basis of religion. Abrams selectively excerpted Obama’s statement and misrepresented what the president actually said. Here’s what Abrams quoted Obama as saying in the Weekly Standard:

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution—that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

And here are the two paragraphs of additional context that Abrams conveniently chose not to quote or paraphrase lest they undermine his highly tendentious thesis:

When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable.

And so I think it is very important for us right now—particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard—not to fall into that trap, not to feed that dark impulse inside of us.

Indeed, that “dark impulse” is something that Abrams is reinforcing by making the argument, as he did yesterday, that “in the United States and Western Europe, Christian refugees have not become terrorists…” (a factually inaccurate statement, as Jim pointed out yesterday) and by proposing to devise tests to “verify that people who claim to be Christians are indeed Christians—from asking them questions about their religious upbringing, to the fact that Muslims but not most Middle Eastern Christians are circumcised…”

If Elliott Abrams is wondering, which he probably isn’t, about what Obama meant by the “shameful” reactions to the plight of Muslim refugees, he could look at the map of 26 states whose governors have said they won’t accept Syrian refugees. Or he could look at his own suggestion that confirmation of circumcision be used as a litmus test for determining the religion of refugees and who is more or less deserving of asylum protection.

Those are the proposals that Obama was probably referencing when he said “We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

The Trump administration appears to have been surprised by this breach among its friends in the critical Gulf strategic area. But it is difficult to envision an effective U.S. role in rebuilding this Humpty-Dumpty.


Print Friendly

A recent vote in the European Parliament shows how President Trump’s relentless hostility to Iran is likely to isolate Washington more than Tehran.


Print Friendly

The head of the Institute for Science and International Security—aka “the Good ISIS”—recently demonstrated again his penchant for using sloppy analysis as a basis for politically explosive charges about Iran, in this case using a faulty translation from Persian to misleadingly question whether Tehran is “mass producing advanced gas centrifuges.”


Print Friendly

Trump has exhibited a general preference for authoritarians over democrats, and that preference already has had impact on his foreign policy. Such an inclination has no more to do with realism than does a general preference for democrats over authoritarians.


Print Friendly

The President went to the region as a deal maker and a salesman for American weapon manufacturing. He talked about Islam, terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without the benefit of expert advice in any of these areas. After great showmanship in Riyadh, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, he and his family left the region without much to show for or to benefit the people of that war-torn region.


Print Friendly

Although the Comey memo scandal may well turn out to be what brings Trump down, this breach of trust may have had more lasting effect than any of Trump’s other numerous misadventures. It was an unprecedented betrayal of Israel’s confidence. Ironically, Trump has now done what even Barack Obama’s biggest detractors never accused him of: seriously compromised Israel’s security relationship with the United States.


Print Friendly

Congress and the public acquiesce in another military intervention or a sharp escalation of one of the U.S. wars already under way, perhaps it’s time to finally consider the true costs of war, American-style — in lives lost, dollars spent, and opportunities squandered. It’s a reasonable bet that never in history has a society spent more on war and gotten less bang for its copious bucks.


RightWeb
share