So everyone has an opinion on the Syrian refugees. Some are even legitimate opinions. But before we talk about what to do so these people we first need to talk about how we got here and why are we stuck in this situation. Probably the easiest way to look at that is to address the questions that are on everyone’s minds.
So one of the main questions about the refugees that comes up is why are they mostly men and of course why aren’t the other Middle Eastern nations taking any of these people in? And there is an answer to this. And the answers to both of these is pretty tied together. When you look at the data, it was pretty clear that back in 2013 the majority of the refugees were heading to nearby places like Lebanon and Jordan. And A LOT of them were taken in by these nations…and the refugees that went to these places were disproportionately women, children and the elderly. What does that mean? It means that the since this problem started several years ago it was the women and children being sent to safety and the men stayed behind to fight Assad. Of course I’m sure they did so expecting that they would receive help…you know, money and arms from places like Europe and the U.S. Help they needed. Help that never came. Why? Well between Obama being a worthless piece of offal whose sympathies lie with tyrants, Rand Paul throwing hissy fits about crimes against humanity not being our problem (we’ll get back to that), and John McCain picking of all the anti-Assad groups in Syria the ones aligned with Al-Qaeda to take some selfies with…the U.S. ended up doing nothing but dithering and leaving the groups we could have supported without support and the truly psychotic remnants of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (you remember the people so barbaric that even Al-Qaeda leadership had to distance themselves from those wackos) to fill the power vacuum and morph into everyone’s favorite 21st century caliphate: ISIS.
So in this hellhole where people stayed to fight only to find that the good guys weren’t coming to help, and now having to confront the evil of Assad and his chemical weapons, and the even greater evil of ISIS and their complete lack of sanity… lo and behold a lot of remaining men decided to get the hell out of dodge along with the few women and children left. That’s why the current list of refugees are men, because all the women and children left years ago. And that’s why Lebanon and Jordan don’t want to take anymore, they’re full from the first wave. Now does this mean that all the current refugees are good people? That they’re the freedom fighters we wanted to deal with? Hell no. Some are. But a lot are just cowards running for their lives, and there is no doubt an unhealthy does of ISIS and Al-Qaeda plants looking to become sleeper agents.
Which is why the rest of the Middle East doesn’t want them—they’re having a hard enough time keeping the loonies in their own populations from rebelling against the moderately pro-American governments in those nations and embracing either ISIS or Al-Qaeda. They know that taking this bunch in would be even more insane than us taking them. Taking them into the West is bad, taking them into nations already barely hanging on is adding gas to a fire they want to put out.
So because we didn’t deal with this years ago we now have bigger problems. Yes, in an ideal world Bush would have put in proper nation building in Iraq so it would never have been in a position to fall as easily as it did. In an ideal world Bush and Obama wouldn’t have rolled over to Putin’s aggression and have made sure that the dictator would not have been in a position to prop up despots like Assad. In a perfect world Obama wouldn’t have gutted the actual intelligence gathering capabilities of the CIA and other intelligence agencies ensuring that we would have been able to early and quickly distinguish between the Al-Qaeda loyal Syrian rebels and the rebels we could actually have dealt with and supported. And finally in an ideal world Obama and his partner in foreign policy philosophy, Rand Paul, wouldn’t have stopped actual support for the rebels that should have been supported and Assad would now be dead or in jail and ISIS would have remained a footnote in history as the new AQI. (Also in an ideal world the Tea Party would not have worked to reelect John McCain who probably did the worst PR defeat to the rebels we should have been supporting by taking pictures with Al-Qaeda). But we do not live in an ideal or perfect world.
So in contradiction to Rand Paul’s deluded ideas, this has very much become our problem. Even if we don’t bring the refugees over it’s our problem (because that means either we again violate our own laws which do require we take in refugees or we abandon Europe to deal with this…which will inevitably affect us). Once again isolationist short-sightedness shows that small problems that “aren’t our problem” have this nasty habit of becoming big problems that are our problem.
So what do we do about it?
Well first off, we do need to take the women, children and elderly. That’s U.S. law. We have to take in refugees. Now with them we should probably take an attitude similar to our policies that dealt with all the refugees from South East Asia in the 1970’s. Put them on a barracks (there are more than enough empty military bases at this point that it shouldn’t be too hard to quickly refurbish a few of them for this purpose) and give them a full education in English, American history and customs, basic budgeting, job skills, etc. In short assimilate them. If they have to stay then they’re prepared to stay in America. If they get to go back to Syria then you have injected a huge amount of the cultural traditions that have made America a success into a nation that dearly needs those habits.
As for the men….
Well, NATO should get together, put them all on military facilities throughout Europe and train them. Train them to work together as a military fighting force. Arm them. And then with NATO support send them back to Syria to retake their nation. Are all of them the freedom fighters we should have been supporting? Probably not, but it’s their nation and they should fight for it, and I feel most of them given the chance to do so, if there is a reasonable chance of success, will do so. And while we know there are almost certainly terrorists in the group, those people are going to cause destruction somewhere, better on the battlefield than in civilian populations.
Again, it’s nowhere near a perfect solution, but it is the best we have…
…the only question is will Syria survive the year it’s going to take to get a leader in the Oval Office with the spine and brains necessary to do it.