The images of refugees from war torn Syria flooding European streets are evidence of just the latest human tragedy to come out of the Middle East–a place where human tragedy at the hands of despots and zealots seems to be part of the very geographical fabric.
Natural human instinct is to want to help stem the crisis. No one wants this to happen. No one wants to see the images.
The American instinct adds a dose of our legacy of taking the world’s tired, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. What happens next in this era of “do-something-ism” is to come up with a plan.
The Obama Administration‘s plan is to admit 100,000 refugees in each of the next two years. Then, check the legacy boxes.
Compassionate? Yes. Kind? Sure is. Consistent with America’s historic role? You bet.
The cynic in me says the plan is designed to take the crisis off the front page and out of the 24-hour news cycle so we’ll just move on. The logician sees that this is potentially a very dangerous plan that puts American lives and interests at much greater risk.
This is obvious when we put aside our unease and outrage and look at the issue logically.
Last week the Washington Post took Donald Trump to task for claiming a large number of terrorists could be among the Syrian refugees allowed into the U.S. under the Obama proposal. He may have overstated the numbers but his underlying concern resonates.
There have been about 4 million refugees since about 2011 when the Arab Spring was in full swing. By 2013, with Egypt and Syria in complete turmoil, even CNN was calling out President Obama’s disastrous Middle East policies.
The 4 million includes a large number of women and children. However, the UN Refugee Agency reports that about 70% of all the refugees are male. That’s about 2.8 million men. From the videos and photos, most of them look like 18-49 year old able-bodied males. And since Syria is approximately 70-75% Muslim, it’s safe to say a majority of the male refugees are Muslims under 50. Let’s estimate conservatively and say only about half the men fit this category. That would be about 1.5 million.
The percentage of radicalized Muslims who support violent jihad against non-Muslims (especially Israel, the US and the Western World) is harder to estimate. To be fair, I’ll try to come up with a reasonable estimate using numbers from an Islam apologetical group Encountering Islam. On a webpage titled “Common Misconceptions About Muslims,” Encountering Islam tells us there are at least 1.3 billion Muslims in the world and 93% of them are peaceful and peace loving. Using their 7% figure, we can estimate that about 100 million radicalized Muslims live and breathe. Other not-so-sympathetic sources have the percentage of radicals much higher but, even though I suspect the number is much higher–what sane person would admit to a pollster to being a radicalized potential terrorist?–I’ll use the 7%.
It is unlikely this percentage is equally spread across the world–wouldn’t ISIS/ISIL controlled areas contain a larger percentage than we’d find in suburban Minneapolis? How about areas controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan? But if we assume roughly equal distribution across predominately Muslim nations, especially in the Middle East, then we can assume about 7% of the refugees coming from Syria are radicalized Muslims.
Now this doesn’t take into account the concerns that ISIS/ISIL or al-Qaeda may deliberately infiltrated refugee populations in an effort to infect the west. We know terrorists gain advantage if they can blend in with the ordinary population. They’d be foolish not to try given their destructive designs.
One last factor to consider: virtually all of the jihadi homicide bombers and terrorists over the past 50 years have been…wait for it…young Middle Eastern males.
Logically then, in this context, what is the end result of the Obama Administration admitting 200,000 refugees? Approximately 14,000 radicalized Muslims will become US residents, likely permanently.
That’s 14,000 potential terrorists. 14,000 cancers in dozens of American mosques where, if the percentages are accurate, 7% of attendees are already radicalized. Okay, maybe American Muslims are less likely to be radicalized than their Eastern Hemisphere counterparts. Maybe 99% of American Muslims are peaceful, liberty and freedom supporting, apple pie and mom loving ‘Muricans, but the percentage is a red herring.
Do we really want to inject into our communities—peaceful or otherwise—thousands of young men who resent the nation giving them asylum to the point that they might be willing to kill themselves or others in the name of Allah? Should we take the chance that the number may be much larger if ISIS/ISIL or al-Qaeda have successfully infiltrated? Given the importance of terrorist recruitment to the jihad, it’s not hard to imagine ISIS/ISIL or al-Qadea using America’s largesse to secret radicals into American mosques expressly to identify, recruit and train future jihadis.
In fact, radicalization is already happening in America. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently reported on a U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security report that Minnesota leads the nation in residents who have left to take up arms alongside ISIS/ISIL in the Middle East. Two Somalis are among the Minnesota defectors. The story quotes Sadik Warfa, deputy director of the Global Somali Diaspora headquartered in Minneapolis as saying, “This report is alarming and it’s really very worrisome. I worry about the stigma and the prospect of our community being marginalized. But in the end, it’s up to us as Somali-Americans to really change our image. And as Minnesotans, we need to be asking what can we do to put these kinds of people into our mainstream here instead of over there.”
Warfa is largely right and should be alarmed and worried. He is wrong, however, when he says Minnesotans, and by extension Americans, need to figure out how to mainstream such people. No. We need to root them out and arrest them if they are plotting against America or send them back. And by “we” I mean everyone but most particularly the presumed extremely high percentage of peaceful Muslims, in cooperation with the proper authorities. Sadly many Muslim organizations and mosques appear unwilling to assist meaningfully in the effort.
The alternative is growing quantities of terrorists and continued radicalization. And the Obama Administration wants to add thousands more radicals to this already serious threat? I can’t imagine any percentage of truly America-loving and peaceful Muslims, or anyone else, would want such evil in their midst. Nor can I imagine anyone supporting the administration’s proposal to multiply this extreme risk.
This is not paranoia. This is the logical extension of the Obama policy when one looks at just the approximate numbers. And there are those calling for even higher numbers.
The Obama Administration has previously suggested that peaceful Muslims become radicalized because they don’t have job opportunities. I’ll pause a moment for you to stop laughing.
Have you seen the economic numbers lately? While the government manipulates the unemployment numbers ad hoc in order to make it seem they aren’t increasing, the percentage of people not working and who have given up looking is at historically high levels. The economy is growing at a crawl. Even if we accept the Obama Administration’s goofy rationale, how is the dismal Obama recovery, anemic growth and high real unemployment going to improve the chances the new refugees will be “normal” Muslims?
Yet Americans want to help. They don’t want young boys drowning and washing up on European shores while simply trying to escape war. They don’t want to see cities and towns in Europe overrun with refugees and no real solutions.
There are probably any number of ways America can assist the other nations who have been directly and immediately impacted. We can’t come up with a single one that doesn’t involve inviting the refugees to become permanent American residents?
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development was set up 40 years ago for Kuwait to use its oil wealth to help others. According to Wikipedia (I’d link the Fund’s website but it’s in Arabic). “The Fund was created as a message from the Kuwaiti people, ensuring that ‘Here we are embarking on the tides of change but we will not forget our friends in need.’” Seems like Syrian refugees would qualify as “friends in need”, don’t you think?
OPEC has an arm called the Fund for International Development (OFID) designed as a collective to help the wealthier OPEC nations aid the others. Syria is not a member of OFID but Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the U.A.E. are and they are all impacted by destabilization in the Middle East caused in part by the Syrian war and refugee crisis. Indonesia is part of OFID as well and they are the most populous Muslim nation in the world.
Assuming these and other organizations were vetted and found to be legitimate and peaceful, America could assist them in the building or maintenance of refugee camps around the world.
Perhaps the UN could help—if it weren’t a feckless debating society that uses American money to push anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-capitalist agendas.
Indeed it is legitimate to question whether the U.S. should be doing anything at all. We aren’t directly impacted by it right now. But global destabilization threatens our security and economy and it’s important for us to protect and assist our European and Middle Eastern allies. Sending money or rendering other assistance from afar is a reasonable step for us to take.
America wants to help whenever events or disasters occur around the world. It’s part of our legacy, our Judeo-Christian charitable nature, and the DNA of liberty and freedom. But with that comes a tendency to react in kneejerk fashion, to do “something” because, well, someone has to.
We should never just do something just because, even if there is a real need or a compelling reason. And when we are considering doing something, we should always carefully evaluate our options to ensure what we do will provide maximum benefit with the lowest risk. And, of course, we should never do something that would create a significantly greater risk of harm to Americans, our homeland and our national interests.
In this case, the Obama Administration’s plan is to metastasize an international cancer by admitting potentially tens of thousands of radicals onto our shores. If this is allowed, our communities and our families will be less safe.
And if we grow more jihadis, if we experience more terrorist attacks here and abroad, if our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and diplomatic corps are put at greater risk protecting and defending our interests, we will tearfully mourn the victims and the damage to our nation as we place blame on the White House doorstep. Then what will we do?