Obama Mocks Republicans’ Fear of Refugees


President Obama, doubtlessly feeling the stress that comes when your foreign policy failures are laid out on the table for everyone to see, slammed Republicans Wednesday for their harsh sentiments toward Syrian refugees.

“Apparently,” he said during a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino, “they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America.”

Since the Paris terrorist attacks, nearly thirty U.S. state governors have said they do not want to accept Muslim refugees coming from war-torn Syria. The attacks have also inspired many of the Republicans on the presidential campaign trail to double down on anti-refugee rhetoric. Obama said Wednesday that this attitude “needs to stop.”

“We are not well served when in response to a terrorist attack we descend into fear and panic,” Obama said.

True enough. But are we any better served if our response to such an attack is to do nothing? Or, worse, keep doing the same thing we’ve been doing? Because that’s the only plan the president seems to have.

Look, is it true that we have the power and responsibility to help those who have been forced into suffering by the Syrian civil war? If we are not selfish cowards, then the answer is of course yes. But help comes in many ways, and we’re not obligated to put our own security – our own lives – in danger to help others. And this is exactly what Obama is suggesting that we do.

Instead of inviting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country without any way to know for certain if we are letting in ISIS operatives along with them, what if we limited our help to financial assistance? What if we sent doctors and troops to the refugee camps, treating this humanitarian crisis just as we did the Ebola crisis? Back then, were Democrats arguing that we should bring thousands of Ebola victims into the U.S. because our medical facilities were more advanced? Of course not, because that would have been ludicrous. Well, how is this any different?

Jeb Bush, unerring in his ability to sink his own campaign, said Tuesday that he mostly agreed with Obama’s position. “The answer to this is not to ban people from coming,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics. “The answer is to lead, to resolve the problem in Syria.”

Two things can be true at the same time, Mr. Bush. Just as you can both deport illegal immigrants and build a wall, you can stop Syrian refugees and also resolve the conflict in that hellhole.

But instead, we seem content to choose the wrong answer in both scenarios. We will allow the thousands of refugees to come over here, and we will continue to pursue the same aimless strategy that ensures the Islamic State’s neverending growth.

That’s…something. It’s not leadership, but it’s something.

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