by Tim Kane     •      National Review

Understand that the debate about Syrian refugees in the United States is a political sideshow. It has nothing to do with ending the crisis in Syria itself, nothing to do with helping France and Lebanon fight Jihadi terror, and nothing to do with xenophobia. Should the United States offer refuge to Syrians fleeing the war? Absolutely. But let’s get some perspective.

First, the terror attacks in Paris (and Beirut) represent a global war on Western civilization, not on all humanity. Second, one study found that 13 percent of Syrian refugees have a positive view of ISIS. That fact should chill you. Third, there should be no doubt that ISIS is using the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West (including our allies, France, Germany, and Turkey). That explains fact number four: 53 percent of Americans are opposed to accepting any Syrian refugees here. This is a commonsense response, even if you and I believe it is incorrect. It is shameful for politicians to call this a racist reaction, which is the lowest, commonest trick in the Left’s political playbook.

The United States welcomes more immigrants than any country in the world, and more refugees. Open arms to the wretched masses is the single best thing about the United States.

The recent U.S. quota has been to accept 70,000 refugees per year. President Obama has proposed expanding the number to include 10,000 refugees from Syria. That seems entirely noble and good. But let’s pause and consider 10,000 refugees is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the 11 million refugees in Syria, of which 4 million have been able to escape the country. In other words, any American-bound refugees are tokens of concern in the big picture. What is Obama doing — what is America doing — to help the 11 million? Saving refugees is morally right, but it is also morally right to go to war against ISIS and create a safe zone. It is morally right to commit to a long-term multinational occupation of Palmyra, Aleppo, and Raqqa that restores order and peace.

It’s not cowardice to ask for a pause and better screening of refugees from Syria. It’s not cowardice to suggest prioritizing the most vulnerable refugees: the children, the elderly, the families, and yes, those who are being slaughtered because of their faith and gender, over the young single males most prone to terrorism. If we can only give refuge to less than 1 percent of Syrian refugees, why can’t the President offer a commonsense compromise that refuge be given to the most vulnerable? It’s certainly not cowardly for a bipartisan compromise requiring visas from any foreigner who has traveled to Syria and now wants to enter the United States. God bless Senators Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) for their mature leadership, which should be a lesson to the White House and presidential candidates.

What is cowardice? Fearing a fight, avoiding war at any cost, retreating from allies in need, legitimizing the motives of barbarians, making excuses for inaction, and, most relevant to our elected officials, political sideshows that shift attention away from all of the above.

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