Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 11/13/15
If the president wants us to accept his prescription for dealing with the humanitarian crisis attendant to Syrian refugees, he has an attendant obligation. He is obliged to convince us that he is willing to do whatever it takes to be effective against an ascendant Islamic threat. So far, he has not done so.
The news conference that he gave at the close of the G20 summit in Turkey this past Monday was a disaster. For the first time in his presidency, members of the mainstream media who have been long carrying his water were forced by events to begin asking tough questions. The president’s prickly response to those questions was not comforting.
It is clear that the president is either delusional when it comes to the threat posed by ISIS – and the U.S. response to it – or that he doesn’t care. Either is as bad as the other.
Thus, according to polls, the majority of Americans do not believe that the United States strategy in the Middle East is working. The majority of Americans do not believe that ISIS is “contained,” as the president asserts.
Therefore, the majority of Americans don’t want large numbers of Syrian refugees brought into the country and settled here. It then naturally follows that the majority of the governors of the 50 states say they will not cooperate with the federal government in that effort.
There is nothing unreasonable about any of this. Americans are the most generous, most compassionate people in the world. Our fundamental nature is to relieve human suffering. There is no doubt that hundreds of thousands of our fellow humans are suffering at the hands of ISIS.
But self-preservation trumps charity every time. You won’t convince a majority of Americans to support importing thousands of Syrian refugees so long as Obama’s response to the growing threat of ISIS remains so flaccid. Among the refugees that would come here and be grateful would undoubtedly be incipient terrorists – emboldened to attack us from within by the success of ISIS made possible by a desultory U.S. response.
President Obama famously characterized ISIS as the JV team. A downed Russian airliner and a 130 dead civilians in Paris later, that assertion sounds ridiculous. He said ISIS is “contained.” They’re not. They now control territory in the Middle East larger than Great Britain. He continues to insist that his strategy is working. Even many of his supporters on the left recognize that it isn’t.
It’s thus reasonable for the American people to reject his assertion that Syrian refugees will be “robustly” vetted. Why would we believe that assertion when so many of his other assertions have proved demonstrably false?
The minute the Obama administration could start showing some success in defeating ISIS, the country would very likely go along with any reasonable proposal regarding accepting Syrian refugees.
But not until then. Which means that thousands of refugees will continue to suffer because the American people don’t trust Barack Obama to keep us safe.