Common Sense on Syrian Refugees

The recent U.S. quota has been to accept 70,000 refugees per year. President Obama has proposed expanding the number to include 10,000 refugees from Syria. That seems entirely noble and good. But let’s pause and consider 10,000 refugees is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the 11 million refugees in Syria, of which 4 million have been able to escape the country. In other words, any American-bound refugees are tokens of concern in the big picture. What is Obama doing — what is America doing — to help the 11 million? Saving refugees is morally right, but it is also morally right to go to war against ISIS and create a safe zone. It is morally right to commit to a long-term multinational occupation of Palmyra, Aleppo, and Raqqa that restores order and peace.

It’s not cowardice to ask for a pause and better screening of refugees from Syria. It’s not cowardice to suggest prioritizing the most vulnerable refugees: the children, the elderly, the families, and yes, those who are being slaughtered because of their faith and gender, over the young single males most prone to terrorism. If we can only give refuge to less than 1 percent of Syrian refugees, why can’t the President offer a commonsense compromise that refuge be given to the most vulnerable? It’s certainly not cowardly for a bipartisan compromise requiring visas from any foreigner who has traveled to Syria and now wants to enter the United States. God bless Senators Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) for their mature leadership, which should be a lesson to the White House and presidential candidates.

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