This week’s episode of TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee takes a look at the divisive language around the Syrian refugee crisis—and the group pundits are pitting against refugees fleeing war: American veterans. They pontificate that America is choosing to aid refugees at the expense of its veterans. To investigate, Full Frontal correspondent Allana Harkin turned to none other than Human Rights First’s Veterans for American Ideals to set the record straight.
“Taking money from the refugee resettlement program would not give money to Veterans Affairs,” said VFAI leader Mac McEachin. “To make it seem like by refugees not coming in, suddenly veteran’s problems will be fixed, it’s very inaccurate,” added VFAI leader Jess Bell. So why then, are veterans and refugees being pitted against one another?
“People like to use veterans as political props, often for issues that are not representative of our values or what we care about,” explains VFAI’s Phil Klay. “It’s absolutely important to take care of veterans. It’s also pretty important to take care of refugees.”
To Harkin’s surprise, the VFAI leaders had a lot to say about refugees. “As veterans, we lived among the population and we saw the struggle they faced, we saw the violence they faced,” said VFAI leader Ibrahim Hashi, a Somali-American Marine combat veteran.
“This seems really basic… what’s the problem?” Harkin asks the veterans. Klay’s turned the conversation to the national ideals that every veteran makes a conscious commitment to uphold. “Ronald Reagan thought of America as the shining city on a hill. You don’t get to be the shining city on a hill by cowering in fear and putting your head in the sand when things are difficult.” Klay goes on, “If we want to be the kind of nation that people around the world will respect, we have to actually live those ideals. It’s not just something that’s only up to vets to try and push forward, I think that’s an obligation common to citizenship.”
Sep 21, 2020he persecution, ethnic cleansing, and attempted genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is an affront to the rule of law, a well-documented atrocity and, according to a top international lawyer, a moral stain on “our collective conscience and humanity”. So why are the killings and other horrors continuing while known perpetrators go unpunished? It’s a […]
Sep 01, 2020