With an estimated 4 million plus refugees flooding into Europe from Iraq and Syria, the news and social media have been set ablaze with images ranging from a drowned child on a Turkish beach to angry Muslim men protesting and rioting along the path of their exodus. And in typical internet fashion, the response has ranged from bleeding heart cries to bring them all to the West permanently to digging a moat around Europe and filling it with pig’s blood. It should come as no surprise to you that I advocate for neither despite how much tasty bacon would be produced by the latter. However, it is hard for most to view this crisis in any other context than how they already see the world and I am no different. It just turns out that I believe many things about this world. As a Christian, I am compelled by the words of Jesus and despite the best attempts by many in the West, you simply cannot read the Gospels and words of Jesus without coming to the conclusion that we are commanded to offer aid. Then as a Marine Veteran of Iraq, I understand the nature of warfare and realize the solution to this crisis will always necessitate a military response. As such, I have come to my solution and while I hijack the term a bit, I can think of no better way to describe it than Militant Humanitarianism.
I Don’t Blame Them
When I was in Iraq back in 2003, I used to muse that if this was indeed the birthplace of civilization, I know why humanity grew up and left. That was just based on the geography, climate, and quality of life that I could see in the future. Then ISIS comes along and starts raping children, selling girls into sexual slavery, torturing and brutally executing anyone who displeases them. If I had a family in such a land, it wouldn’t take me long to come to the conclusion that we ought to make haste and exit. As a result, I don’t think anyone in the West can honestly suggest that these families were supposed to stay put except for the one reason I will cover soon. However, if you have a wife and kids, the ultimate calling of a man is to look out for their safety and if that safety is in Europe, then it is time to make like Clark Griswold and head out on a European Vacation.
As such, most of these 4 million are doing absolutely nothing wrong and if we can’t accept that it is only because we are so sheltered in the West from envisioning our own similar scenario. So here we see these refugees angry, yelling, trying to get through to countries that willingly said they would accept them. Yes, it certainly comes across as a little entitled to me given the scenario they face, but I am not entirely certain I would be any different. I am actually only a few hours from the Canadian border and if some scenario sent Americans flooding north, I doubt Canada could expect to see American Patriots crossing the border with meekness and humility if we were hindered. Were Canada to say slow down, I’m guessing our 300 million privately owned guns would open up the express lane for the sake of our families and I am doubtful we would apologize for it.
Women, Children, and ….. Men?
So I think you can tell from the above response that I believe the West should seek to offer aid to the afflicted. Asking women and children to suffer the fate that awaits them in ISIS-held territory is unconscionable and asking children to suffer and starve in refugee camps while my children play in a green back yard with joy is incongruent with the nature of my faith. And asking the men to take up arms and fight for their homeland is absolutely and utterly…. reasonable.
Now, I am not going to feed into some of the social media pictures floating about the internet that show only men as refugees which somehow supports the Muslim invasion narrative. There could be a greater plot afoot here, but a picture on the internet could easily be selected out of thousands to reinforce a narrative and hopefully you can just admit to that possibility. That being said, I have to tell you that I do see a good number of military age men and as a United States Marine who travelled around the world to fight in their country, it does irk me a bit that they are not themselves doing the same.
However, in fairness, I will acknowledge that were my family at risk my first priority would be to see them to safety. So when I see a military-aged man carrying a 5-year-old child much as I would my daughter, I give him a pass, for now. I also acknowledge that the in-country options to flee, keep your family safe, and train to fight are few. Not sure the Kurds can handle the flood, I don’t see Sunni fleeing to Shia Iraq, and running to rebel-held Syrian territory means you will be trained by Al Qaida and that just seems less than helpful. But Europe is outside the bubble and it is in Europe we could find the most humane and militant solution to this entire conflict were we to but ask that men act like men.
The Free Syrian Army
I believe the West should help these families in need. Without question, we are not unaccountable for our role in helping the mess in these nations fester and in the end, I believe with so many of us espousing Christian values, to turn away women and children at risk for so much harm is completely incongruent with the words of Jesus himself. But once these families are safe, it should be time for men to be men and the West should not hesitate at insisting they do so. If even 10% of the 4 million refugees are military-aged men, then that is a fighting force of 400,000 and would instantly become one of the largest in the conflict. So the notion that the West must take on these refugees without asking anything of the men involved is absolutely absurd. The refugee crisis will not end until ISIS is vanquished and ISIS will not fall until they are militarily toppled. Consequently, it doesn’t have to be let them all in or build a moat. It can be let them in, ask men to be men, and then return to ISIS-held territory a year later with a trained force of the region’s own men to take it back. I mean just look at the picture below. We can easily get a good platoon out of this one picture.
European and American men and women are dying for their homeland while they flee, so are we really wrong to ask the same of them? At what point did humanity stop asking men to be men and to fight for the afflicted? If we have not, then why are these fleeing men exempted from such a calling. I understand why they flee, and I understand why they want to be with their families. But make no mistake about it, were my family to flee to Canada and it was announced they are putting together a force to take back America, I would kiss my wife and children goodbye and let my son witness a man doing his duty. It is nothing noble, just congruent with the sum of men in history.
Wars are not just fought by childless men. And if in the refugee camps there is a single man without a family unwilling to fight, then he should be booted and told to come back when he finds his manhood. Those with families can seek their safety and then it is time to man up. My solution seems remarkably simple and one all can enjoy. Welcome to the hungry, poor, afflicted, and suffering of the region. Fathers and men, see to the safety of your family. Then with a loud speaker, I would give Bill Pulliam’s speech from the Movie Independence Day and ask of the men, who will fight with me to take back their lands? And for those who refused, I would look them in the eye and tell them that if they want me to treat their women and children like the vulnerable humans they are then you will act like the man you are supposed to be. Rather than throwing water bottles at European police, these men should be throwing grenades at ISIS. This solution is humanitarian, but make no mistake it is also militant. The West could stand a few extra families just wanting a better life, but we need not more cowards.
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