Time For A Change

The New York Times headlines: “An American Citizen Was Among the Dead on the Flotilla.”

One of the nine people killed in an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza this week was a United States citizen of Turkish descent, officials in Turkey and Washington said Thursday.
The development added a new diplomatic complexity as Israel struggled to defuse rising international anger over its raid on six ships seeking to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip….

ABC headlines: “American, 19, Among Gaza Flotilla Dead.”

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American.

The facts are not entirely clear, but it appears that Dogan was born in the United States to Turkish parents who returned to Turkey not long thereafter. (The ABC story says he was two years old.) Apparently Dogan had lived in Turkey with his family since that time. He apparently was, in other words, a “birthright citizen,” solely by virtue of the fact that his parents were residing in the U.S. when he was born.
If that is the case–and, again, the facts are not yet entirely clear–it is silly to call him an “American of Turkish descent.” He, like the other members of his family, was a Turk. The idea that his presence among the dead raises a special diplomatic problem is absurd; if it does, it shouldn’t.
Coincidentally, Scott Rasmussen published a poll this morning that found 58 percent of voters favor the abolition of birthright citizenship. I think the majority is right on this issue. Birthright citizenship is an anachronism, and in some respects a dangerous one, in an era when millions of people travel internationally and millions more enter the U.S. illegally, some for the specific purpose of having a baby here.
As for Dogan, it is reported that he was shot five times at close range, four times in the head. If that is correct, it is reasonable to infer that he was one of those attacking Israeli soldiers with a club, knife or other weapon and was shot in self-defense. The Times quotes his brother saying, on behalf of the family, “we were not sorry to hear that he fell like a martyr.”
UPDATE: More information here, but still no clear explanation of Dogan’s citizenship. Hillary Clinton expounds on the importance of citizenship:

“Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental repsponsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously,” she told reporters. “We are in constant contact with the Israeli government attempting to obtain more information about our citizens.”

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