To say the U.S. is at war with terrorism regresses the U.S. from fighting ISIS—a concrete, tangible group—to fighting an idea and tactic.

ISIS is a threat to conflict resolution in Syria.

ISIS has indeed proven more thoughtful in its strategies and use of resources than previously thought.

More pointedly, denying refugees asylum means a win for terrorism. We have effectively been made too afraid to help people displaced by war.

One of the pillars of ISIS is to overthrow western imperialism. By invading, over-staying, re-invading and attempting to restructure the Middle East, the U.S. has flared up tensions with countries we previously had alliances with.

The U.S. has set the stage for these extremists to emerge, which reinforced our role as western imperialists.

The U.S. now has the opportunity to change this narrative by accepting the Syrian refugees like Turkey, Germany and France have done.

Yes, France– the same France that lost 129 lives on Friday, Nov. 13— has committed to accepting 30,000 refugees over the next two years, according to the Washington Post.

The Obama administration has pledged that 10,000 refugees can enter the country this year. Less than 20 percent of this goal has been met.

Now, governors across 30 states, all Republican with the lone exception of New Hampshire and including Tennessee’s Bill Haslam, have publicly opposed further refugee settlement.

The request has been made due to concerns about national security.

Presidential candidates Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Donald Trump have all opposed allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country.

Several of these candidates have publicly stated this is because refugees cannot be properly screened and vetted before entering the country.

“What are we going to do, call up the Syrian government and say, ‘Hey, by the way, is this guy a terrorist?’” said Pataki.

The idea that refugees are not and cannot be vetted is false.

It takes a Syrian refugee 18 to 24 months to enter the country according to the New York Times.

During this time, applicants go through a series of background checks and in-person interviews. No phone calls to Syria’s government are necessary.

This flippant and dismissive rhetoric emerging out of fear and blatant lies smacks of a parallel situation that arose in 1939, when a boat carrying 935 German Jews to the U.S. was forced to turn around and re-admit around 900 passengers to Belgium, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

The single greatest threat to ISIS isn’t a counter-attack.

Bombing Syria, an already war-torn country that is now inadvertently facilitating a war between U.S. and the Gulf States and Russia and Hezbollah while dealing with its own regime, and killing more civilians and rebels and possibly Kurds will strengthen ISIS’s resolve.

That goes to double if the U.S. does so while still refusing refugees.

The single greatest threat to ISIS is ISIS and other extremist organizations losing their power to terrorize.

The more Muslims continue to be alienated—whether by the U.S. or France or other western countries—the more extremist groups are proven correct in that the western world has no place for them.

The most radical thing the U.S. could do is not just accept these refugees, but embrace them.

Rational conversations about admittance of Syrian refugees may be possible in the future, but not until the dust of panic
and incorrect information settles.