Tuesday, November 17, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Arkansas says no to refugees

Gov. Hutchinson’s announcement Monday that Syrian refugees are not welcome here came as no surprise after Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris and the disclosure that at least one of the attackers sneaked in from Syria with a wave of refugees fleeing the Assad regime.

We have not welcomed refugees here since the Vietnamese boat people arrived here in the 1970s. Arkansans have been weary of refugees since the Cubans rioted at Fort Chafee in Fort Smith in 1980. They turned into law-abiding, hard-working citizens and were accepted partly out of guilt that we abandoned them to communists, who still rule Vietnam and Cuba.

Western Europe may not close its borders completely, but it will slow the movement of people, while several eastern European countries, just like Arkansas and more than 20 other states, are now keeping out all immigrants.

More than a million refugees have migrated to Europe this year alone, mostly from the Middle East. Terrorists who sneak into Europe represent less than one hundredth of a percent from among genuine refugees escaping Arab tyranny. That’s a tiny fraction, but enough to jeopardize the chances of millions of law-abiding Muslims from making it to freedom.

European governments are overwhelmed trying to keep up with terror cells inside their borders and in neighboring countries, whose porous borders make it easy for terrorists to move across continents.

Terrorists have been all over the map this year in France, starting in January with the Charlie Hebdo massacre when a dozen people were killed and an attack on the kosher supermarket, where four died.

Three U.S. servicemen were praised for their heroism when they jumped a knife-wielding maniac on a train in France in August, preventing a massacre. Other plots have been interrupted, but sadly not all.

Next year’s presidential race is shaping into a contest over who will be toughest on Arab extremists. So far, Donald Trump has been the loudest, and he’s been doing a victory lap ever since the weekend attacks in Paris, which French President Francoise Hollande said had been “planned in Syria, organized in Belgium, perpetrated on our soil with French complicity.”

In the U.S, the presidential candidates who oppose immigration now stand a better chance of winning, particularly Donald Trump, whose campaign has surged thanks to anti-immigrant sentiment.

Trump’s campaign took off months ago thanks to his anti-immigration rhetoric, and now about half of Republican voters say they prefer Trump over other GOP candidates. Unless next year’s primaries slow his march toward the Republican nomination, Trump could be the main beneficiary of Friday’s massacre unless the candidates now trailing him come up with realistic proposals on how to fight the war on terror. Few Republicans, and none of the Democratic candidates, want to send U.S. troops into Syria.

Our Arab allies are doing nothing as ISIS expands in Syria and Iraq. Right-wing politicians in Europe could win national elections, especially in France, where anti-Muslim sentiment is strongest. Politicians will wage war on the refugees and and promise to destroy the terrorists with Kalishnikov rifles and suicide belts who are indistinguishable from the mostly young refugees streaming into Europe.

Politicians are desperate to prevent the next wave of attacks. President Obama is getting his share of criticism for not hitting ISIS stronger. But until the Arab nations stand up to terror, international summits will not stop the barbarians. They will lose, but words alone will not defeat them.