After President Obama popped off about Republicans wanting a pause in bringing in Syrian refugees, Chris Christie wasn’t in the mood for getting lectured. While getting interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Christie unloaded, saying “The President’s the person who created this entire situation. He didn’t keep his word when he drew a red line in Syria. He allowed the situation in Syria to happen, he hasn’t set up a no-fly zone that could create a safe haven for these refugees to live safely in their own country, rather than having to scatter all across the world. And he’s the one who’s casting aspersions? It’s a joke. And he’s a joke on this issue.”
In 2012, President Obama had the perfect opportunity to establish a safe haven for Syrians who were brutalized by their dictator. He spoke forcefully, at least for him, about red lines and how Assad had to go. These are the red lines that anyone that had studied President Obama knew didn’t mean a thing. Assad continued the genocide, which led to the massive refugee crisis we’re still dealing with.
If President Obama wants to pick a fight on bringing in Syrian refugees, that’s a fight Republicans should want to fight. There’s no upside for Democrats in that fight. It’s a fight that would force President Obama to explain why he didn’t intervene sooner in Syria after he made a big speech saying that Assad had to go. It would force him to explain why he favors importing potential terrorists like these terrorists caught attempting to infiltrate Europe with fake Syrian passports while posing as Syrian refugees.
The truth is that President Obama has gotten more big things wrong about ISIS than he’s gotten little things right about fighting terrorism. He left Iraq, which led to the rise of ISIS. That decision also led to ISIS torturing Christians and other non-Muslims in northeastern Iraq. He signed off on toppling Khaddafi, which led to the rise of ISIS in Libya. In short, he’s in no position to tell anyone what to do.
Christie and other Republican candidates have called for the U.S. and its allies to establish a safe zone in Syria for refugees instead of allowing them into the U.S. for fear that terrorists could infiltrate their ranks. FBI Director James Comey in September cast doubt on the U.S.’s capability to confidently vet incoming refugees as Obama signed off on admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.
The fact that there’s no way to confirm the identities of people claiming to be Syrian refugees should stop the flow of Syrians into the United States. If President Obama wants to pick this fight, Republicans should be prepared to unload both barrels, proverbially speaking, at President Obama’s policies.
If President Obama threatens to shut the government down, Republicans should respond by asking President Obama why he’s fighting so hard to bring in Syrians that might be terrorists. Further, Republicans should ask him why he’s ignoring his own FBI director, who said that they can’t confirm the identities of alleged Syrian refugees.
President Obama doesn’t have those answers.