HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Groups » Martin O'Malley (Group) » America's moral obligatio...

Thu Nov 19, 2015, 08:07 PM

America's moral obligation to Syrian refugees, by Martin O'Malley

We can simultaneously protect the nation and live up to its highest values.

'French President François Hollande is taking bold action in response to the fear that seized France and the world on Friday. He greatly increased air strikes against ISIS and led an aggressive manhunt with Belgium and Germany to destroy terrorist elements in their midst. He also announced that France remains committed to accepting 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.

Many presidential candidates and governors have declared that they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with France. Why don’t they stand with France on this issue, too?

There is no question that the United States must work with all nations that have a common interest to destroy ISIS. The military tools we use must be tailored to meet this goal, not undermine it. Defeating terrorism is a long-term undertaking, and we need to apply the lessons learned on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Air strikes in concert with our allies and regional partners and more effective human intelligence must be part of an overall international approach. American Special Forces deployed strategically in support of regional front-line troops are likely to be more effective in the long run than large American combat battalions, which can produce unintended consequences and large numbers of casualties. We also need greater public-private collaboration on how we can prevent terrorists from exploiting encryption, which has enabled them to “go dark” well before they strike.

In an era of constant technological change, failed states and vulnerable civilian populations, increasing concern about personal safety and security is real and understandable. But instead of taking steps to improve our nation’s homeland security, many Republican governors and presidential candidates are stoking Americans’ fears. Ben Carson said it would be a “huge mistake” for the United States to give refuge to Syrian refugees. Jeb Bush implied we should admit Christians, but turn away their Muslim counterparts. And Chris Christie said he even opposes taking in Syrian orphans, going out of his way to single out ones “under five.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was serving as mayor of Baltimore. On that day and in the ensuing years as governor of Maryland, the knowledge that terrorists might strike us again at any time was always in the back of my mind. In response, my administration set out 12 homeland security core competencies to make Maryland as prepared, resilient and secure as possible. These included strengthening the effectiveness of our intelligence fusion center, creating interoperable communications systems for all first responders throughout our state, networking our closed circuit television cameras and adopting face-recognition technology. Our efforts made Maryland a national leader in homeland security.

What we did not do is cower in fear and abandon our values. President George W. Bush deserves great credit for visiting a mosque just six days after 9/11 to make clear that while the United States would rightfully go to war, it was not a war against Islam. Those now casting suspicion upon an entire faith community with millions of adherents in the United States and billions across the world have forgotten that lesson. ISIS’ goal is to start a religious war, and some politicians are playing into their hands.

The concern about terrorists trying to take advantage of our refugee resettlement program is not new. That is the reason we have in place what is probably the most thorough and comprehensive refugee screening process of any country in the world. It involves more than a dozen steps and can take up to two years.

Every single refugee candidate completes an extensive interview with Department of Homeland Security officials. The process is so stringent that those wishing to do us harm will almost certainly pursue an alternative route into America. None of the 9/11 terrorists came to America as refugees.

Several months ago, I became the first presidential candidate to say the United States should welcome 65,000 Syrian refugees next year. I have personally met with Syrian refugees who fled the same type of violence that engulfed Paris on Friday.

Keeping America safe and providing refuge to those fleeing death and destruction is not a zero-sum choice. France is showing the world that it is strong enough to overcome fear and remain true to its values. We need to do the same.'


1 replies, 617 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply America's moral obligation to Syrian refugees, by Martin O'Malley (Original post)
elleng Nov 2015 OP
Koinos Nov 2015 #1

Response to elleng (Original post)

Thu Nov 19, 2015, 10:17 PM

1. K & R

O'Malley once again following principle and not public opinion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread