Anyone remember the terrible 1997 movie The Jackal, in which Bruce Willis played an international assassin with a secret identity and the propensity for dreaming up the craziest, most super-complicated ways of doing the simplest things? Here, let's allow the great Roger Ebert to remind you:
"The Jackal" is a glum, curiously flat thriller about a man who goes to a great deal of trouble in order to create a crime that anyone in the audience could commit more quickly and efficiently. An example: Can you think, faithful reader, of an easier way to sneak from Canada into the United States than buying a sailboat and entering it in the Mackinaw to Chicago race? Surely there must be an entry point somewhere along the famous 3,000-mile border that would attract less attention than the finish line of a regatta.
There was never a moment in "The Jackal" where I had the slightest confidence in the expertise of the characters. The Jackal strikes me as the kind of overachiever who, assigned to kill a mosquito, would purchase contraband insecticides from Iraq and bring them into the United States by hot air balloon, distilling his drinking water from clouds and shooting birds for food.
I immediately thought of this movie, and this review, when I heard this latest nutlog conspiracy theory from the utterly zany Representative Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).
MYRICK: Well the thing that concerns me, and you mentioned this briefly, Iran is working with Venezuela. And they're transiting through Venezuela, taking Spanish for maybe six months. They're getting the false documents that they need, coming up through Mexico and if they're stopped, they just say well I'm Spanish. And it, oh I mean Mexican, and it only takes a smart border agent who knows the difference in the accents. He can tell, but if he doesn't have that, there's no way to know.
And the other thing that we're seeing, and we're seeing it in your state in particular in the prisons is Farsi tattoos. Farsi is basically a Persian language, which Iran is, and we know we've seen Arabic tattoos in our prisons for a long time, but we havent seen Farsi tattoos in a long time. That's a pretty good indication that these people coming across our border are not just coming from Mexico and other countries that are looking for work. And that's what scares me. Being on Intelligence, we know there are people who are are here who do want to do us harm who are already in the country and it's not a matter of will they get in anymore, it's a matter of they're already here because of our lax border laws.
Why on earth would Iranian agents provocateurs need to travel to Venezuela to learn Spanish ("for maybe six months!") when they receive foreign language education in their own schools, beginning in the seventh grade? Why do they need to learn Spanish, at all? Is it so they can make a perilous border crossing from Mexico, as opposed to entering the country in any number of easier ways? Why not just learn to patter like a French-Canadian and cross from the north?
And what's with the tattoos? Is this some secret tactic that allows Iranian agents to recognize one another? Are they training special tattoo artists? Why can't these Iranian agents just communicate with each other in any one of a myriad of less complicated ways that have sustained humanity for centuries? (I'm guessing they don't because these agents from Iran are either stupid or crazy, based upon their crack plan to infiltrate the country through Venezuela's distance-learning programs.)
Also: prison tattoos. Aren't they commonly found on people who are already locked up in jail?
To paraphrase Ebert, there was never a moment in the above clip where I had the slightest confidence in the expertise of the people who appeared in it. And she sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is precisely the sort of thing that encourages terrorists.
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