Saturday, August 14, 2010

Terror Babies

Just when you thought the Republican politicians couldn't get any more goofy, loud or obnoxious, some new kind of phony issue arises. This week is the "Terror Baby" conspiracy which, asserts Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), is a gaping whole in the defense of the USA. According to the congressman, Al Qaeda may be sending women to the U.S. to birth a contingent of future terrorists credentialed with American passports.  Without any supporting evidence- except for some anonymous ex-FBI agent, Gohmert went on the floor of Congress to call for a revision in the constitution which allows babies born in the US to have automatic citizen rights.  

If you've got the stomach for it, you can watch CNN's Anderson Cooper valiantly attempt to pin the Texas congressman down. It is amusing and pathetic at the same time.


  1. People like dear ole Gohmert is the reason why, despite coming from a political family and having Government as one of my majors at uni, I get the urge to bang my head whenever a politician appears on T.V.

    This"terror babies" rationale is just another loophole to limit the rights of another set of American babies, the so-called "anchor babies."

    Sometimes cats are smarter than humans, especially politicos ;o)

  2. As a US consular officer, I am rarely rendered speechless, but this little item succeeded in doing that.

    God bless Texas. This country NEEDS it for comic relief.

  3. Bulent MurtezaogluAugust 14, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Hah, well we might as well talk about terror sex that produces such babies followed by terror births and the all-important terror certificates gotten from the hospital.

    That said, I know for a fact (ie I know people who do this) that richer folks from here go have their babies in the US just to get them the paperwork. It is also rather common for couples who end up temporarily in the US for study or other work to have their kids there for the same reason. This is probably seen as gaming the system by the natives and politicians might try to score points by screaming terror or competition for jobs or whatever will fly at the moment. Funny, but not surprising.

    I have heard a version of this here in Turkey too. Apparently you don't need to be an orphan to end up in an orphanage in Turkey and families can simply claim (or demonstrate) hardship to put their kids in care and pick them up after some years. The rumour was that the PKK was encouraging its supporters to make many kids and have the state feed them up till a certain age when they would be reclaimed and recruited into the PKK. Unlike the US case, I have no direct experience with this but I have heard it from a number of people. So at least I know this is something people want to believe and find credible (and thus spread it). This is probably because of the tensions in the society.

    It might be inevitable that such things get uttered and even resonate with the frustrations of the masses. I think a preferable way to deal with these things, in case the attempt to get the accuser to produce evidence fails, is to dig up the figures and see what the numbers are and what, if anything, can or should be done about it. If we can draw parallels between the countries, I'd say that in Turkey, there has been instances where people started questioning the legitimacy of the state itself (not just the AKP) based on such frustrations and rumors that nobody bothered to dispel. Marginal movements like that also exist in the US (ie the people who talk about some UN conspiracy that the Fed. Gov't is complicit in). We know things such as these can gain currency and power even in sophisticated societies[1] if the populace is frustrated enough. So I'd be careful, after I get done laughing. If largish numbers of people begin to believe such things and explanations/fixes that come with them, the sense of truth, evidence, sanity etc. might be shifting. I am not a social scientist, but I'd guess that such warpage of the popular discourse does not happen w/o reason and whatever that reason is probably needs attention.

    [1] I won't name names, but do google Godwin's law.


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