Whatever one feels about President Donald Trump’s temporary refugee ban – and I personally hope the President will quickly complete his vetting review and begin admitting refugees again so as to save lives – the hypocrisy of his critics is startling. None more so than President Obama himself.
The Syrian refugee crisis did not begin under Donald Trump, who is in office for 10 days. Rather, it came about through the callous and indifferent foreign policy of Barack Obama who refused to intervene in Syria, even as the slaughter there turned to genocide. Sunni Muslims, including children in Damascus and Aleppo, were being slaughtered by Shia militias, and Assad’s Alawite government, with the active support of Hezbollah and Iran. Obama did nothing.
But on Monday, President Obama suddenly came out, from his post-presidency vacation in Palm Springs, against the Trump administration’s executive order. Remember: Obama didn’t even lift a finger to save the children of Syria after Assad violated Obama’s self-declared red-line and gassed Arab children.
The immigrant crisis, which is absolutely tragic, resulted in large part from American inaction and Obama’s retreat in the Middle East. There might never have been an immigrant crisis if Obama would have instituted a no-fly zone, safe zones, or supported moderate Syrian rebels against Assad from the outset.
Countless people called on President Obama to pursue policies that would rescue the innocent people of Syria. He steadfastly refused. The result was not only the murder of 500,000 Arab men, women, and children, but the displacement of millions of refugees, which is the crisis we now face.
There can be no question that America must take in immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. But these people should have never been forced to flee their homes in the first instance. The West should have stopped Assad from butchering his people at the source. Obama should have led the charge.
Now we have this crisis, and America must accept the refugees it can while still vetting immigrants to make sure American citizens are safe. President Trump is having to address a vast humanitarian crisis created by Obama’s inaction.
I understand President Trump’s need to protect Americans. It is the primary duty of a president. And I understand his need to revamp the vetting process. But I believe that President Trump could also have announced, as he proclaimed his temporary ban, that it did not apply to those brave souls who worked with American forces in Iraq.