Over at Kleilman's, Michael O'Hare links to this article about a musician and musicologist named Nalani Ghuman who has had her visa revoked and been excluded from the United States for reasons utterly inexplicable to, well, anybody. Ghuman had been a legal resident of the United States for ten years, and there was no indication whatsoever that she was any sort of threat.
In reading the article, O'Hare's conclusion seems pretty apt: some moron at the State Department decided, for stupid and arbitrary reasons, to exclude her, and no individual is willing to take responsibility for saying "this decision was moronic and she should be allowed back in."
Yes, this decision seems to be both stupid and inexplicable. I suppose it's possible that Ghuman is a terrorist mastermind when she's not playing the violin, but it seems unlikely. Rather, this seems to be an example of one of those "stupid government tricks." Somebody in government does something stupid, and other government people continue the stupidity. Yes, apply pressure and let this poor girl in.
But beyond that, one lesson that might be learned is that government people do stupid things, and getting them to correct them can be a royal pain. Which is one reason I lean libertarian: I think that government in general does things badly, and so I want to limits its functions as much as possible. Now, I suppose it's possible that if the "right people" were put in charge, they wouldn't do stupid things any more, but honestly this seems pretty unlikely.