How Many Refugees Will the US Take?

For more than a year, hundreds of millions of men, women and children, both young and old, mainly from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Libya, have been playing their part in the largest exodus ever witnessed. They are arriving at the European Union’s borders, fleeing wars, persecution and poverty, in search of asylum and work, each paying human traffickers between 3,000 and 6,000 euros. According to the [office of the] U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, this is “the highest level ever recorded.”

In 1993, Eritrea emerged from a long war of independence, only to plunge into another war with Yemen and then with Ethiopia. Its president, Isaias Afwerki, has turned this closed-off country with impenetrable borders into a prison, from which over 300,000 people have fled. This was the first hornet’s nest.

On Oct. 7, 2001, the U.S. Army began Operation Enduring Freedom, and the British troops, Operation Herrick. Both operations were launched to invade and occupy Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attack against New York’s twin towers. The objective: Find Osama bin Laden and the other al-Qaida leaders, judge them and defeat the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, governed by Mullah Mohammad Omar. The second hornet’s nest.

On March 20, 2003, a coalition of countries led by the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Poland, Spain and Portugal attacked Iraq in order to, in the words of George W. Bush, “[rid] Iraq of weapons of mass destruction,” as well as to overthrow the president, Saddam Hussein, who was condemned and hung on Dec. 30, 2006. The third hornet’s nest.

Since March 2004, Pakistan, with active but unofficial support from the U.S., has been fighting a war on its northeast border against armed religious groups, local movements and organized crime supported by mujahedeen terrorists. The fourth hornet’s nest.

At the beginning of 2011, the Syrian civil war broke out between supporters of President Bashar Assad and those who wanted to overthrow him. At first, he was supported by Iran, Russia, China and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah. Joining the rebels, for a variety of different objectives and with various geostrategic interests, were the U.S., France, U.K., Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The self-named Islamic State is one of the most belligerent factions against Assad, having already occupied part of Eastern Syria and Iraq, where it has imposed its pan-Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law. This is the fifth hornet’s nest, which has displaced more than four million people.

On March 19, 2011, Rafale Fighters from the French Air Force launched attacks on Libya as part of NATO forces and under the U.N. umbrella, to “protect civilians and civilian areas targeted by Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, his allied forces and mercenaries.” During the night, American and British naval forces launched 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles. On Oct. 20, Gadhafi was captured by the rebels and assassinated before TV cameras. The sixth hornet’s nest.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently asked Europe, with reason, to make more of an effort to take in those involved in this exodus, but he didn’t state how many refugees he planned to welcome. Considering his prominence and the interest his country has had — and still has — in creating such a mass of hornet’s nests, has anybody asked him?

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