Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Our newest war

[Our newest Patton.]

-- by Dave

According to Newt Gingrich, we're now not just at war in Iraq, and at war against terrorists, but now we're also at war with illegal immigrants:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he is "sickened" that President Bush and Congress went on vacation "while young Americans in our cities are massacred" by illegal immigrants.

Gingrich, who is considering a run for the White House, was referring to a recent crime in Newark, N.J., where three college students were murdered execution style in a school playground.

One of the suspects -- Jose Lachira Carranza -- is an illegal immigrant from Peru who was on bail on charges of raping a child when the murders occurred.

Gingrich said another suspect is an illegal immigrant from Nicaragua with a long record of arrests who was ordered deported in 1993 but never left.

However, The (Newark) Star Ledger reported Tuesday that the man -- Rodolfo Godinez -- obtained permanent legal residency in 2001.

The Newark Police Department did not return requests for comment.

Gingrich said that the "war here at home" against illegal immigrants is "even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The federal government's incompetence, timidity and uncoordinated efforts to identify and deport criminal illegal aliens have had devastating consequences for innocent Americans," Gingrich said, in a newsletter.

Gingrich is obviously trying, as have so many nativists before him, to blame immigrants for bringing crime to our shores. Nevermind that it's clear that the crime rate among Latino immigrants is lower than that of the general population, and most other ethnic groups as well, including whites. What matters, for Gingrich, is exploiting sensational cases for political gain, as always at the expense of people who are essentially powerless.

This kind of ugly eliminationist rhetoric is the logical outcome of the rhetoric that has preceded it, declaring the current wave of immigration an "invasion" -- everyone from Lou Dobbs to Pat Buchanan to Michelle Malkin to Tom Tancredo to American Border Patrol have declared it such. Couched in military terms, the immigrants thus become an "invading army" -- so of course we are now at war with them.

Well, as Cliff Schechter has observed, Gingrich has a long history of blaming liberals for a number of travesties -- most notably the Susan Smith incident, which of course turned out to have an ugly Republican stamp on it instead. Gingrich, of course, is a true past master of the right-wing art of projection.

But as for the current rise in violence against Latinos, well, I'm sure that Gingrich would assure us it has nothing to do with rhetoric declaring "war" against them.

[Hat tip to Kevin Hayden.]

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