Ted Rall: Obama’s Crowdfunding for Syrian Refugees? Oh. My. God.

crowdfunding for syrian refugees
Written by Ted Rall

U.S. President Barack Obama’s got a plan for crowdfunding for Syrian refugees on Kickstarter. Lucky refugees will get a tent in the USA. Seriously? Here’s Ted Rall with more …

ted-rall-crowdfunding-for-syrian-refugeesaNewDomain — I pay taxes. You pay taxes. And some of those taxes pay for good things.

Some pay for bad things. Very bad things.

One of the good things on which taxes can be spent is taking care of war refugees. Especially when the refugee crisis was caused by your country in the first place.

So why is the United States government outsourcing basic care of refugees from the Syrian civil war to Kickstarter?

Yes, really. This is U.S. President Barack Obama’s big idea. And it’s not just wrong. It’s wrong, gross and tacky, too.

The New York Times reports:

At the request of officials from the White House Office of Digital Strategy, the crowdfunding website Kickstarter has begun its first social service campaign aimed at raising money for the United Nations refugee agency on behalf of Syrian refugees … Visitors to the site, which is better known for helping inventors and filmmakers, can contribute $15 to buy a sleeping bag, $70 for an emergency rescue kit, or $160, which the site says could pay for a refugee’s shelter in a ‘well-built group tent, complete with sleeping bag and mat.'”

ted rall crowdfunding for syrian refugees on kickstarterThis is so distasteful in so many ways that I don’t know quite where to start. 

There’s the fact that the U.S. won’t take in a respectable number of refugees. Europe has accepted almost 500,000. There are 1.9 million in Turkey. But at last report, the Obama Administration has taken in a paltry 1,500 Syrian refugees — equivalent to the population of a big California public high school. And why should Europe and Turkey take the bulk of the refugess? Neither Turkey nor Europe caused the Syrian civil war. The U.S. started it.

The U.S. started the Syrian civil war by funneling the arms and money that wound up in the hands of ISIS and other militant groups fighting to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad.

If you start the war, you’re responsible for cleaning up the mess. That includes taking in refugees. But no go.

And then there’s the incredible cheapness of it all.

There are millions and millions of vacant real actual houses all over the United States — the country that, you know, created the situation that caused so many Syrians to become refugess in the first place. Why should Syrian refugees have to make do with a tent, mat and sleeping bag in the U.S. as crowdfunded on Kickstarter?

crowdfunding for syrian refugeesIt’s not like these Syrian refugees would be a bother: In the post-industrial Midwest, where populations have declined in the wake of devastating NAFTA-caused job losses, cities like my hometown of Dayton have extended a warm welcome to immigrants. What is going on here?

And the last key question is this:

How dare President Obama imply that the U.S. government is too broke to fulfill its basic moral responsibilities to the world?

As long as taxpayers are shelling out tens of billions of dollars a year to the NSA and other intelligence agencies that can’t point to a single real terrorist plot they’ve managed to disrupt, I don’t want to hear that we can’t put a million Syrians displaced by Obama’s war into houses.

Again according to the Times report:

White House officials noted that in 1885, hundreds of thousands of Americans donated small sums to pay for a $2.5 million base for the Statue of Liberty … ‘Just like we banded together in 1885, we can join together to provide shelter, food and medical assistance to these people in need,’ one of Obama’s digital PR flaks wrote. ‘It’s the American thing to do.'”

Actually, the cost of the Statue of Liberty was $100,000 at the time. And that was a ton of money in 1885. And the U.S. wasn’t a rich country back then.

Recall, also, that 1885 was the third year of a deep economic depression.

Sure, crowdfunding seems like a prudent way to raise funds, and a good American thing to do when America is broke — or when raising money for a statue it didn’t have to have.

But you know who didn’t have to wait for Kickstarter to come through?

ISIS. Isis didn’t need Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding strategies to get going.

That’s because ISIS got its American weapons the old-fashioned way: free, directly from the United States government.

Disclosure: I have used Kickstarter to fund a trip to Afghanistan to do comics journalism.

For aNewDomain and the new SkewedNews.net, I’m Ted Rall.

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