Perhaps more surprising than Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential nomination race is that Dr. Ben Carson is second.
I've barely heard anything from the Carson camp, though to be fair to him, that's probably because Trump has been so disturbingly loud. This weekend, however, Carson was front and center while talking on ABC's "This Week" about the United States accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees from the civil war there.
It's a hot button issue here, as it is in multiple European countries, regardless of how many times you watch that video of Germans applauding migrants coming off of the trains. The migrant crisis isn't growing bigger so much as it is growing outward as countries and officials try to figure out what to do with the millions of people displaced by Syria's civil war and the Islamic State menace.
Carson told ABC: "I would recognize that bringing in people from the Middle East right now carries extra danger."
He added: "We cannot put our people at risk because we're trying to be politically correct."
I'm so tired of "politically correct" being used as an insult or a bad thing to just ignore. Regardless, this isn't about that at all. Accepting these refugees isn't about stepping on to "higher ground" for the sake of it.
The fact is that the United States holds partial responsibility for these refugees existing in the first place.
We don't take all of the blame. After all, this is in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia isn't exactly lining up to provide migrants with shelter and security.
But, there is no mistaking that ISIS formed in the U.S. military prisons that were created in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There, former Al Qaeda in Iraq fighters mixed with Saddam Hussein's old generals to create what is now the world's most dangerous terror organization.
The power vacuum caused by the complacency of the world to allow the Syrian Civil War to fester gave ISIS the room it needed to expand, to conquer and to show its ugly face. By the time we were all paying attention, it was too late.
There are two primary arguments that emerge from the U.S. role in what has now become a gigantic mess in the Middle East, and they fall, unsurprisingly, along partisan lines. Either you believe the troop draw down under President Obama gave ISIS room to grow and succeed and was ill-fated from the beginning, or you believe the U.S. should never have gone to war in Iraq in the first place and destabilized the region for what we now know were false pretenses.
To either of those arguments I say: you are right, but it doesn't matter.
What matters is that this is the situation we find ourselves in, it did involve the U.S., and for that we must accept consequences.
Syrian refugees are, by far, the least expensive price to pay for the actions of our country, whether you believe those actions were correct or not. The amount alone, 10,000, is tiny compared to the 160,000 the European Union is looking to spread throughout the continent within the next few months.
Also, the U.S. has a long history of taking in people seeking asylum from wars and travesty in their home countries. Going back to Carson, he didn't ignore this, though he did choose to point out the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were once refugees from Kyrgyzstan.
So yes, Carson is right. We can't put the domestic population at risk. And we don't.
The FBI has a screening process for refugees coming from areas of conflict, and it can take up to two years for that to be finalized. This has become more stringent in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Whether or not some type of fast-track system will be implemented for the Syrian refugees the U.S. plans to bring in has not been addressed. The fact remains that we're not just going to let this group of people waltz through the front door.
So while I agree with what Carson is saying, he's kind of just using a bunch of words to state the obvious. Of course that's better than Fox News' Tucker Carlson, who decided to approach the situation like Scrooge McDuck.
While speaking with Nomiki Konst, executive director of the Accountablity Project (which is a support organization run by journalists for whistleblowers and has nothing to do with any of this), Carlson continually asked what allowing 10,000 refugees into the U.S. would do for the country. He tacked on the "what is this going to do for me" argument, like any good venture capitalist seeking a quick buck.
I don't know, Tucker; maybe you can open up your own salt mine and put them to work if it makes you feel any better.
For the rest of us, it's simply about understanding that this is the right move for a nation that has certainly played a role in destabilizing these people's back yards. There is a human cost to war and conflict, and refugees are part of that cost.