President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration from war-torn areas has divided the country, but one former Marine has offered a viewpoint on the issue based on his first-hand experience while deployed in Iraq.
Jeff Edwards witnessed the plight of Iraqis, who are included in Trump’s order, while serving in Iraq in 2003. He acknowledged his desire, shared by many veterans, to save some of the people he encountered on deployment, but qualified it with the harsh reality.
Edwards opened his piece, titled “What GWOT Veterans Really Think About Syrian Refugees,” recalling when he and his unit were handing out candy to Iraqi children while on patrol. A young girl, eight or nine years old by his account, came up to pick up some of the candy, but was struck by a 14-year-old boy who proceeded to steal it from her. The other boys laughed as nearby adults did nothing.
Edwards noted, “my squad was about ready to commit a war crime because we were freaking pissed.”
“There is not a single Marine I knew who wouldn’t have picked up that little girl and brought her to America that very moment,” noted Edwards.
Edwards also affectionately recalled an Iraqi city hall guard the Marines called “MoFo,” due to the man’s penchant for English profanities they taught to him. He acknowledges that good people like MoFo, the various interpreters and others who helped U.S. forces, undoubtedly should be welcomed to America.
But of course, the situation is not that simple. As Edwards explained, veterans are not “minions of homogenous (sic) thought.”
“So it bothers me when a Veteran is attacked for expressing hesitancy at taking in 10,000 refugees from the war-torn region,” said Edwards. “The average Veteran of the GWOT (Global War on Terrorism) wars have met more potential refugees than you and have felt more compassion at the plight we observed with our own eyes. The only problem is that we know the rest of the people who inhabit that region and there is more than meets the eye.”
As Edwards explained, he wouldn’t want the adult version of that 14-year-old who slapped the girl coming to the America. The refugees being allowed into the U.S. could be the young girl or MoFo, or they could be the insurgents who killed U.S. forces while praying “Allahu Akbar.”
“Do you really trust government bureaucrats to tell the difference between the two?” asked Edwards, rhetorically.
Instead, Edwards argued for some sobriety on the refugee issue.
“For all the various camps which have developed about this particular issue, I fall into the camp of whoa, I mean just whoa,” said Edwards. “Ease up compassion dog because you might not be certain who you are dragging into the gates of America.”
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