Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Letting in Syrian Refugees Increases National Security

Republicans in Congress are reportedly reconsidering their hasty plan to bar Syrian refugees. Part of this may be political reality; some of the more sensible Republican members remembered that there is still a Democrat in the White House. But hopefully some have realized that blocking the entry of Syrian refugees will actually decrease national security.

First of all, no sensible terrorist would try and enter the United States through the refugee program. Instead of going through the refugee program with its five security checks they could enter on a tourist visa which has a much less rigorous screening process. Or they could get accepted to a community college and enter on an F-1 student visa. They could also fly into Central America, Mexico, or Canada and pay a smuggler to get them across the border. Scott Walker's universally ridiculed Canadian fence was probably a better national security initiative than barring Syrian refugees.

Second, most Republicans seem to forget that American soft power derives from taking the high ground; we gain strength and legitimacy from being that shining beacon on the hill. John McCain is an admirable exception-"all children are God's children." He's also taken a stand against torture. No one can accuse McCain of being a weakling: aside from surviving an enemy war camp, he and Lindsey Graham are probably the biggest national security hawks in Congress. But McCain realizes that torturing terrorists, breeds hatred of the U.S., and thus indirectly creates more terrorists. Barring Syrian refugees will do the same; it will create a negative perception of the U.S. in the Muslim world and will lead more young Muslims to falsely believe that most Americans are Islamophobic. By making Muslims in the U.S. and around the world feel unwelcome in America, barring Syrian refugees will create more terrorists inside and outside of the United States.

If you don't believe me, check out this letter begging Congress to rethink to their stance on Syrian refugees. It's signed by a number of Republican hawks and military leaders, including but not limited to Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, George P. Shultz, General David Petraeus, and General George Casey.

Don't argue with me, argue with them.

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