Suppose you are an ISIS terrorist determined to wreak havoc on the United States. So you infiltrate a Syrian refugee camp hoping to be admitted to the United States.
What would be your chances of succeeding? Let’s do some arithmetic. There are about 4 million refugees in camps surrounding Syria. President Barack Obama has announced he will admit 15,000 refugees (up from his original 10,000). So the odds of any particular person being selected for the program are about one in 27,000.
Of course you would have to come up with a convincing story about how you came to be a refugee and find a U.S. sponsor. What are the chances of that? Yet there are governors of American states who fear to admit even one refugee.
Then there’s Donald Trump, who wants to keep out all foreign Muslims. How would these Muslims be identified? Simple, Trump explained. Airline representatives, customs officials and border guards would simply ask, “Are you Muslim?” Evidently he doesn’t consider the possibility that a terrorist would lie. Maybe it would be simpler just to ask incoming visitors if they’re agents of ISIS.
The fact is that so long as the U.S. government wages war in the Greater Middle East, there is going to be blowback against Americans, and there is little we can do to prevent it.
We can choose to end these wars, which is what I advocate. We can accept a certain amount of danger as the price of waging war for important national objectives. Or we can do things out of fear that make us feel safer, even though they don’t.