Why Is The Story Of The “Missing” Syrian Such A Big Deal?

We’re having the busiest day – by far – in the history of this site, largely as a result of that story John Binder wrote yesterday, and updated a couple of times today, about the “missing” Syrian who was located by Catholic Charities in Baton Rouge and found his way to link up with family members in the Washington, DC area.

That story followed on the heels of Binder’s work illuminating the settlement of Syrians in Louisiana – 14 of them so far, with the likelihood of lots more depending on the outcome of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s declaration that he will work to stop the location of any more refugees in the state. Jindal is one of 31 governors who have taken a similar position, and that’s the same position David Vitter took as soon as the Syrian migrant issue surfaced in the gubernatorial campaign after the Paris terrorist attacks Friday night. John Bel Edwards initially took a different position, and then adjusted it when he saw how far away from the majority of the public he was, and is now whining about Vitter’s messaging pointing out his initial mistake and reshuffling while offering up a demonstrably false TV ad claiming that he’d demanded an end to the resettlement program while Vitter was “AWOL.”

On the Syrian migrant issue, the mainstream Republican position seems to be the majority position – particularly in the wake of Paris. Democrats find themselves in a bind over it, and President Obama’s indifference to the appearance that some number of the Paris attackers came into that country through migration from Syria (whether actually Syrian or not) while hectoring those with security concerns about the migrants coming to America as bigots and Islamophobes only makes things worse.

In that environment comes the news, originally reported by Chris Nakamoto at WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge, that one of the 14 Syrians relocated to Louisiana by Catholic Charities had gone missing and was in the wind. When Binder picked up on that story and posted it here last night shortly before midnight, the reaction to it on social media was nothing short of a firestorm – and it’s the most viral post we’ve ever seen at the site.

Some of the reaction was hysteria, and naturally that’s what the pro-Syrian immigrant crowd wishing to join with Obama in lecturing the rest of us about the immorality of opposing refugees from the home of ISIS picked up on. But most of what I saw wasn’t a projection that the “missing Syrian” went walkabout in search of fertilizer and detonation cord – though had it been more widely known yesterday that ISIS made a specific threat about attacking the nation’s capital you may have seen much more of that – but rather a sort of amused irritation.

Which I share.

I don’t have an objection to Catholic Charities, whom I understand has been the subject of death threats in the wake of this story getting out and I’m disgusted to see that. Catholic Charities isn’t making any decisions to bring Syrians here; they’re merely a vendor of the federal government providing refugees with some ability to find a home in the United States AFTER the federal government has made the decision to import them. If the Syrians, or Somalis, or whoever else shouldn’t be here that’s not Catholic Charities’ fault; it’s the fault of people we elected to make these decisions or worse, unelected bureaucrats acting without proper supervision by those elected officials.

But the federal government, and the man at the top of it, seems to be insisting on an exceedingly false choice based on a refusal to lead productively. Obama, in his recent statements, has declared that either the United States be willing to accept some indeterminably large number of questionably-vetted refugees from the world’s most dangerous conflict zone, or else those people refusing to accept them are bigots, xenophobes, racists and Islamophobes possessed of fear and hatred for their fellow man.

Instead, Obama could do what lots of responsible people, including most recently Bill O’Reilly on his show tonight, are suggesting – namely, find a place in the Muslim world to serve as a safe haven for the refugees so they don’t present a demographic conflict or a difficult assimilation for America and Europe. The Saudis could take them, and so could UAE. If they’re concerned about overcrowding their cities with Syrians, fine – let’s carve out a safe haven someplace in Syria or Iraq after clearing ISIS out of that land. Or, in a worst-case scenario, find some empty part of the Near East where there’s a coastline and the possibility of building a port and make an international investment in building a colony for these people backed by NATO troops and governed by an internationally-appointed official charged with creating civil institutions, a rule of law and a market economy. In other words, a Hong Kong or a Singapore somewhere on the Mediterranean or Arabian Sea or Indian Ocean.

That’s what an America engaged in leading the world in doing big things would undertake, and doing it successfully would solve a myriad of problems the Muslim migrant crisis is causing across the West. Instead, we’re told we have to accept a wave of immigrants from a Third World conflict zone with little chance of successful assimilation or economic self-reliance after we already see the poor results of doing the same thing with Somali refugees who are not only disproportionately on welfare but increasingly seem willing to turn to jihad.

You can’t suggest such things, though, because it’s racist to do so. You must accept refugee resettlement in your midst without objection, according to the president, or be demonized and insulted from a foreign venue.

And given all that, here is a story of a Syrian migrant brought to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a chance at a new life. There is no evidence he’s a jihadist or even a bad guy. But the point is he’s not a prisoner or even a suspect, and by rights he probably shouldn’t be. Obama’s own counterterrorism officials admit there was no way to properly vet him for ties to the jihad, though we’ve also been assured by the president there is no way he could get here without being vetted. We know most Muslims, even from a place like Syria, are not jihadists, and so if our government brought him here we’ve no choice but to acquiesce in his having the same freedoms we do.

And so if he wants to go on walkabout, or move to DC, or engage in some other peripatetic pursuit, then by all means he can. We can’t stop him. Nor should we.

But in the chance, however small, that Obama’s vetting program turns out to be deficient and the “missing” Syrian turns out to be a suicide bomber or a gunman spraying bullets in a shopping mall, we will all know that this program, which looks like a stupid idea given the ease of international jihadists to exploit it to insert terrorists into our midst, is the proximate cause of the carnage. And since ISIS has told us they will insert jihadists into the refugee wave, and at least partly made good on the threat in Paris on Friday, ignorance is no defense.

And an entire nation, which is being ignored by our president and the muckety-mucks in his party, will be offering up a hearty “I told you so.” Americans look at Paris, 14 years after 9/11 and with thousands of pinprick Islamic terror attacks (Little Rock, Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, Boston, Oklahoma City, Woolwich, Garland, and on and on), and see a civilizational conflict requiring serious leadership, and our president sees global warming as the challenge of our age.

Given that, it’s no surprise people point to the story of the “missing” Syrian and shake our heads in disgust.



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