My first reaction upon reading this article by Timothy Garton Ash was: such collossal stupidity!
Mostly because I have had extensive experience with post 9/11 immigration.
More after the jump
So, after swallowing a healthy dollop of bile I re-read the piece.
One of the dumbest things we have done post 9/11 has been to reign in student visas and make them extremely more difficult to get. Never mind that the simple solution was just tracking people better, in areasonably un-intrusive way. Instead we harrass people like TGA. We also prevent well-educated foreigners, who want to participate in the American dream, from coming over by our obsessive culture of fear.
Not only that, but my wife had to undergo 8 months of extensive background checks before they issued her visa. We’re talking about a 22 year-old, green-eyed Russian woman. At one point immigration said she might be denied because she had been an “Octobryanik.” Don’t know what that is?
Get ready to laugh out loud: it’s the pre-school version of Komsomol, the Communist Youth. Never mind that my wonderful wife was 7 years old when the Berlin Wall fell. I mean, how stupid is that?
All during her background check people from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan were NOT subject to the same requirements and a batch of 3,000 Malaysian student visas were approved by order of the President.
I hate to inform you, folks, but the Immigration/Visa process hasn’t been reformed in a better way. It’s now simply more arbitrary. Trust me, I know!
I also wanted to highlight a few points about TGA’s comments and encourage everyone here to debate them.
Mull that one over for a bit but I’ll ask the obvious question: will we be able to regain our previous stature? I believe so, but it’s not something I can empirically prove. It’s more a gut thing.
There are several keen analyses here: Afghanistan versus Iraq, Osama rooting for Bush and short-term victories versus long-term defeat?
What do you think?