The New, Terrible Face of the Refugee Crisis

Lost in the mass coverage of the American tragedy in Roanoke last week, one of the largest humanitarian crises of the last century has been unfolding in Europe. As a direct result of the Obama Administration’s fecklessness in the Middle East, and their complete inability to check the rampage of ISIS across Iraq and Syria, millions of innocent people have fled across the Middle East towards Europe, which is completely unable to handle the massive surge of humanity.

At times like this, human traffickers and other kinds of evil people capitalize on misery and suffering, without regard (generally speaking) for the safety or well being of their human cargo. We covered last week the story of 71 Syrian refugees who were found dead in the back of a truck in Austria, abandoned by their driver to rot in the sun. Yet even this horrifying story was barely able to crack the wall-to-wall Roanoke coverage (which, frankly, wasn’t even coverage but was instead gun control advocacy from the word “go”).

Now, another story has finally caused the media to pay attention to what is, on the merits, the biggest story happening in the globe right now. About a dozen probable Syrian refugees drowned yesterday off the coast of the Turkish town Bodrum. As with so many stories, a compelling picture is finally causing folks to sit up and take notice, and the picture in question is this one, taken of one of the drowning victims in question.

horror

The first time I saw this picture earlier today, it hit me in the gut like a punch. I immediately wished I had not seen it and in fact was sort of angry with CNN for showing it to me. But on reflection, this is a picture that needs to be seen. If this is what our policy has wrought, we should be willing to face it. If this is what it takes to get people to again care about what a dearth of American leadership means for the entire world, then I am for everyone seeing it and confronting it.

If we are going to again turn our back on everything that happens beyond our borders and hope it works out for the best, we should be willing to accept the early returns of how that approach is going so far – and contemplate how many much worse images might be around the corner very soon.