Our participation is unwise and unjustified for a number of reasons. To begin with, this war—to "degrade and destroy" ISIS—is the result of a problem the Americans and their last coalition created with their lie-based invasion that largely wrecked Iraq. They should be held accountable and left to undo their own blundering. Helping to bail them out will just encourage them to commit more mischief. Furthermore, the U.S. and others have armed certain Middle Eastern nations to the teeth, specifically Egypt and Saudi Arabia, presumably to safeguard their region. If ISIS is the threat the U.S. is making it out to be, their well-armed friends damn well ought to be the ones dealing with it, not us.
Their is, however, a coalition we should be part of, one with a more humanitarian goal: the coalition to provide sanctuary to the three million refugees that have fled Syria since the start of its civil war. The current members of that coalition are doing far more than their share. Lebanon, a country of only 4.5 million that already has 650,000 Palestinian refugees, has taken in over a million Syrians. Turkey has taken in 850,000, Jordan 600,000, Iraq 220,000 and Egypt 140,000.
Syria's neighbours are carrying the bulk of the load despite their limited resources. European countries have contributed, although to a much lesser extent: Sweden has accepted 30,000 refugees and Germany 40,000. The U.S. and Canada, while being generous with financial assistance, have been embarrassing laggards, taking in no more than a fw hundred each, a pathetic response to one of the most severe humanitarian crises of our time.
Canada, an immigrant nation, has often been generous in the past. In 1957, we admitted over 37,000 Hungarian refugees in less than a year. In 1979-80, 50,000 "Boat People" from Vietnam settled in Canada, and in 1968-9 we took in 11,000 Czechs fleeing the invasion of their country. In the following years, they were joined by tens of thousands of young American war resisters. And more recently, we have accepted over 18,000 refugees from Iraq. Those who are wary of bringing in refugees from Syria because they may include subversives, might remember the same could have been said of the Hungarians, Vietnamese, Czechs and Iraqis.
We cannot make a major dent in the numbers of Syrians seeking refuge, but we can at least match our generosity during past crises and offer thousands of individuals and families some hope for the future. While the coalition of the willing to "degrade and destroy" spends an estimated ten million dollars a day bombing ISIS, the U.N. World Food Program has had to suspend assistance to 1.7 million Syrian refugees due to lack of funds. Rather than participate in the killing, I would prefer we offer a home to those the killing has made homeless. This is not, I hope, now out of tune with our country's new-found militarism.