Vive Le Charlie!

Vive Le Charlie!

© David Burton 2015

The Big Bad Wolf

     In September of 2015, the Obama administration announced that 10,000 Syrian refugees would be allowed entry into the United States in 2016.[1]

     On November 16th, less than a week after the Paris terrorist attacks, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said that he was opposed to allowing more Syrian refugees into Massachusetts until such time as he was able to know a lot more about the federal government's refugee vetting process. He added that the safety and security of the people of Massachusetts were his first priority.[2]
NOTE: Governor Baker did not refuse to admit Syrian refugees to his state – what he did say was that he first wanted “to know a lot more about the federal government's refugee vetting process.”– a very wise request, in light of past and continuing government failures. On the same day, a Democratic U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts raised similar concerns.

     President Obama and other Democrats immediately escalated the governor’s remarks and those of dozens of other state governors and Congresspersons to political rhetoric and turned the governor’s statement into a partisan political issue. Asking for more information and raising concerns about the safety of the citizens he is obligated to protect is not a partisan issue; it is not an indication that the Governor lacks compassion for the refugees; and it is not a betrayal of American values. Governor Baker and many other Americans “are asking for assurances that this administration can conduct proper vetting of those Syrians seeking refuge here, assurances the administration’s own intelligence and security officials thus far have been unable to make.
     “They’re asking for information and input. This isn’t remotely controversial – and this certainly isn’t a time to be playing politics.
(Ref. 3)

     In response to the request to pause the administration’s plans to admit the Syrian refugees until the plans are fully disclosed and understood, President Obama immediately lashed out at those wanting more information, “accusing them of being ‘scared of widows and orphans.’
     “Speaking to reporters . . . in the Philippines, Obama scoffed at attempts to block refugees following the Paris terror attacks as ‘political posturing.’
      - - -
     “And this from the guy who tells us climate change is the greatest threat we face." (Ref. 4) This is the same President who had early on and then has epeatedly dismissed ISIS as merely a “JV team”. Just one day before the recent Paris terrorist attacks, he had gone on television to announce that ISIS had been “contained”. The president is once again requesting the American people to “trust me” in regards to the Syrian refugees. A similar request was made with regards to Obamacare in the now infamous request to pass the health care law and afterwards determine what was actually in the bill. This time prudence dictates that we first find out the facts and then decide on which refugees to admit. As a minimum, common sense calls for a very vigorous vetting process. And what of our government’s past history of vetting immigrants - a vetting process that failed to keep the Tsarnaev brothers from killing three and injuring nearly 200 at Boston’s Marathon bombing?

     The answer to the question of whether or not the current U.S. screening processes are adequate appears to be in doubt. The ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Washington should look at the strongest possible vetting process to ensure "terrorists cannot get into the United States through our refugee program”, implying that the current vetting process may not be the “strongest possible” even though the current U.S. screening process takes 18 to 24 months and is tighter than that in Europe. Also, the White House National Security Council said it was continuing to look for ways to tighten screening, again showing concern that the current vetting process may be inadequate.[5]

     “Senior Obama administration officials including {the| Homeland Security Secretary held a classified briefing on Tuesday evening for all 435 members of the House about the aftermath of the Paris attacks. But {even after the briefing} many Republicans remained deeply concerned. [Emphasis mine]
     " ‘I have great concerns about allowing people on our shores without knowing that we're able to find out information about them,’ said {one} Republican Representative. ‘I'm leaving this briefing far less comfortable than when I came in.’ [Emphasis mine] " (Ref. 5)

     Based upon past and very current history, there is little reason to put any faith in the administration statements that accepting the Syrian refugees would pose no danger or that the government would carefully vet all refuges before accepting them. Consider the recent disclosure that “A new Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report released Monday found that the TSA had failed to identify 73 employees with links to terrorism.
     “The news followed last week's reports that checkpoint screeners at U.S. airports failed to detect mock explosives and weapons in 95 percent of undercover tests.” (Ref. 6)

     Can we or should we trust a government that proved incapable of implementing a comparatively simple computerized sign-up program for Obamacare? Should we put our trust in a government that proved incapable of taking care of its veterans – one that allowed the Veterans Administration (VA) to create fake waiting lists to hide the real, months-long wait which caused veterans to die? Should we trust a government with an agency like the IRS which was found to be harassing administration opponents or with an agency like the Secret Service that is undergoing scandal after scandal?

     Are we willing to put our confidence in a border security system that, so far, has allowed 11 million illegal immigrants to enter these United States? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “has failed to develop good measures for fixing goals and determining progress toward them. Since 2005, the DHS has reported how many miles of the country's land borders are under its ‘operational control,’ but it has done so without having clearly defined what that standard means and without providing hard data to back it up. The lack of sound measurement has left the administration touting its efforts rather than their results” (Ref. 5) Does this fill you with confidence that the government can be trusted to protect you from terrorists that might sneak in with the real refugees from the disaster in Syria? Wouldn’t you rather see what the plan is to detect terrorists and wouldn’t you rather find out what all the details are in such a plan before agreeing to take in the victims of the war in Syria? Or, based on his and his administration’s past record, would you be willing to accept the President’s request to “trust me”?

     In my case, I’m with Governor Baker. Contrary to President Obama’s allegations, this is not a partisan political issue and should not be one. Unfortunately it is the president and his fellow Democrats who have chosen to turn the Syrian refugee problem into a political dispute. This is an issue of common sense, compassion, basic humanity, security, and safety. The President and his followers should never have tried to cloud the issue with reckless charges of partisan politics.

     Show me! Show me the plan to vet the refugees. Some claim that the vetting process is inadequate because U.S. intelligence in Syria isn't very good as a result of the U.S. lacking much of a presence on the ground there. Show me and the rest of the American people that the vetting process is good enough.

     Show me all the details. Let’s make sure the federal government and Congress conduct a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks. Along with Governor Baker, I’m all for taking in the real Syrian refugees and providing them with all the help they need to settle, acclimate and succeed in America. But, I want to look before I leap. No more “trust me”. Instead, Show me! Let’s have some common sense instead of blind faith in the president, his administration and the government agencies that have yet to prove that they can keep us safe and secure. Vive le Charlie Baker!


  1. More than half the nation's governors say Syrian refugees not welcome, Ashley Fantz and Ben Brumfield, CNN,
    17 November 2015.
  2. Gov. Charlie Baker: No More Syrian Refugees in Massachusetts, Michelle Fox, NECN, 16 November 2015.
  3. Politicizing Refugees, OpEd, Boston Herald, Page 16, 18 November 2015.
  4. President Stompyfoot: GOP Refugee Opponents ‘Scared of Widows and Orphans’ or Something, Jammie,
    The Unofficial Megyn Kelly, 17 November 2015.
  5. Paris attacks reshape U.S. debate on immigration, security, Patricia Zengerle and Megan Cassella, Reuters,
    17 November 2015.
  6. TSA a failure at every level: Security expert, Michelle Fox, CNBC, 9 June 2015.


  19 November 2015 {Article 241; Politics_30}    
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