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WILL: One of the questions here is, is this our fault because of what happened in Syria? I don't think we started the Syrian war, civil war. I don't think we have a recipe for ending it.
The real problem is Syria -- is Libya. A lot of refugees from Syria come overland into Europe or in a much safer trip, by water to Greece. The really dangerous trip is across the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya. In August 22nd, 27th rather, two boats carrying 500 people from Libya sank. In April, 800 people drowned trying to get from Libya.
Now, what happened to Libya? That is our fault. We went in, in a country that posed no conceivable threat to the United States, and in an eight-month protracted assassination attempt, decapitated their government, creating the failed state that today is producing all this. And some presidential candidates, both the former secretary of state and some Republicans who were enthusiasts for the Libyan intervention, are going to have to answer for this.
One further point, some estimates are that as many as half a million refugees are now besieging Europe in the first eight months of this year. That's 1/20th, actually less than 1/20th, than the number of human beings that Donald Trump proposes to deport.
WALLACE: I have to wrap my mind around that for a minute. Are you saying you think the U.S. should be more proactive in bringing in refugees to this country, that we did it in the case of Vietnam and we can do it here?
WILL: Vietnam, we clearly had a particularly intense obligation, because we had fought a war, sought allies, and lost. But it is part of our national heritage to do our duty.
COSTA: I'm not sure there's a political appetite for that. I was just in Mobile, Alabama with Trump, covering Trump in Iowa. The people who are supporting the Republican front-runner don't seem to be in that mind-set. So it's going to be hard for a lot of these Republican contenders, even if they see the human condition here, but they also have to -- they are trying to win a primary. I don't see the voters pushing for this in the GOP.
PATTERSON: The president needs to step up. He's in office right now. He needs to talk about what he can do in terms of letting in migrants, of international aid, of even using the sixth fleet to stem this tragedy at sea that we have going on. We also need the Arab Gulf states to come in, we need a coordinated response from Europe, led by Germany. You know, this is something which can't wait on politics. People need to step up now.
PAGE: You want to fuel terrorism, don't do anything about this refugee crisis. If you're worried about terrorists, just let the situation continue to fester.
WALLACE: There's another aspect to that, and that is, and George alluded to it, in addition to talking about Libya, which is Syria. Syria is a failed state, and it is bleeding its problems all across Europe. And we now hear the Russians may be coming into Syria. That the slaughter of one ethnic religious group of another continues. So as long as that continues, isn't there going to be just a never-ending supply of these migrants around Europe and conceivably the United States, George?
WILL: Yes, there will. And if we had any way to stop the fighting in Syria, we should do it. But I don't think we do. Remember, at the end of the second world war, there were about 15 million displaced people in Europe. Ten years later, there were essentially none. We've handled crises like this before.
Now, this is different. The Europeans were displaced, Europeans in Europe. And Europe doesn't have our tradition of assimilation of people from around the world. Europeans may have to learn a lesson from their transatlantic cousins -- us -- about how you do this.
WALLACE: And there's another aspect of this, Susan, because to the degree -- I'm not saying that the U.S. and Europe should shut the door -- but to the degree that the U.S. and Europe open the door, doesn't that simply ensure that more refugees, more migrants, will leave Syria, will leave Turkey, which is a country that they go to right across the border, and will follow in their footsteps?
PAGE: We don't have a moral obligation to take everybody who wants to come to the United States. We do have a moral obligation to take people who are facing this kind of situation.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. Up next, our power player of the week. The head of the National Institutes of Health. A man of science and faith.
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