Despite all the calamities the U.S. has been through, we Americans have never seen fit to turn tail and run, to abandon our homeland as Syrians have been doing recently in droves.
As if the cowardice they’re exhibiting weren’t bad enough, the Syrians’ mass migration is straining the resources of European countries into which these refugees are streaming, and could be posing problems for America as well.
There is now a plan on the table for the U.S., in 2016, to accept 85,000 of these people, who are mostly young men judging by news footage of their mass exodus. Some apparently fear being drafted into the Syrian army for an ongoing civil war, while others are afraid of being beheaded by ISIS, the militant Islamic group, due to their religious orientation.
For whatever reasons the Syrians are fleeing, it disturbs me that these people won’t stay and fight for what’s right in their own country — and the fact other nations are accepting them as refugees only adds fuel to the problem.
I could never in a million years conceive of such a phenomenon happening in this country with people leaving.
After all, we’ve been through a bloody and destructive civil war, two world wars, two British invasions and various other military conflicts, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, stock market crashes, flu epidemics, major catastrophes such as Hurricane Katrina — you name it.
Yet not once have we been compelled to throw our belongings into a backpack and head to Canada or Mexico.
Of course, what’s happening in Syria — and much of the Middle East, for that matter — is terrible, and no doubt has brought unfathomable numbers of deaths, starvation and other hardships to innocent people which we can’t even imagine.
However, the superpowers of the world such as the U.S. and Russia should find a way to keep the problems in that region and not exported elsewhere, which unfortunately seems to be happening now.
Along with those gaining safe harbor in European nations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced a plan for the U.S. to accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. And that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017.
This is sheer madness, given fears that ISIS terrorists are seeking to infiltrate the ranks of Syrian refugees and gain access to countries to cause mayhem.
For example, in 2011, two Kentucky residents who had been resettled as Iraqi refugees were accused of being al-Qaida members. They were found guilty of terrorism charges after their fingerprints were linked to roadside bombings in Iraq.
There is also the fairness issue involved with rolling out the red carpet to people who, instead of running away, should be standing their ground in Syria.
Once they come to this county, refugees would be screened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and resettled around the nation.
Of course, “resettled” means being lined up with employment, housing, health care and other services — something our government doesn’t even provide for some of its own citizens, including homeless veterans without jobs.
The vast humanitarian role we play around the world always has set us apart from others, but there is every reason to believe that now is a time to reel in some of this assistance.
This country is $18 trillion in debt, many people are unemployed and we kind of already have a problem with immigration, in the form of millions of illegals from Mexico and other places.
I would suggest that the U.S. write a letter to every other nation, something to this effect:
“Dear world, we have a long track record of helping others in need, and will do so in the future, but for right now we must put our own house in order. So we’ll get back to you.”
As for the Syrians, the young men who are fleeing, those guys need to take off their skirts, put on some combat gear and take back their country, whether it be overturning a corrupt government or fighting ISIS.
Again, if our own nation were under siege, it’s a pretty good bet that most of us would be willing to fight to the death to protect our way of life.
Tom Joyce is a staff writer for The Mount Airy News. He may be reached at 336-415-4693.