Where’s the Free French Model Among Europe’s Refugees?

Turkey may, similarly, be induced by European money to play a similar role in the near future.

The quotation above was part of a blog post late last year in which I suggested that maybe in the future Europeans would follow our example and hire Turkey to block the path of migrants to Europe, as we seem to have done with Mexico in connection with the Central Americans, if not the Cubans. That has come to pass.

The European prime ministers probably are not steady readers of our blogs and came to the hire-Turkey decision all on their own.

This deal to stem some of the flow of refugees from Syria and other nations reminded me of a World War II model regarding refugees that Europe (and the United States) seem to be ignoring.

When I moved to the DC suburbs in 1961 as a very junior member of the Kennedy administration, I had a neighbor, then in his late forties, who was a career employee of the Defense Department. He had been a midshipman in the Polish Navy when World War II broke out and, luckily for him, he was on the only ship in that little Navy that was in the Atlantic when Hitler invaded his home country in 1939.

He promptly joined the British Navy and served throughout the war.

Similarly, French refugees from Hitler played a major role in the Free French forces that helped the Allies ultimately defeat the Axis. They were led by Gen. Charles de Gaulle. I may be wrong about this, but my sense is that the Free French must have been largely, if not totally, funded by the United States and Britain, just as my Polish neighbor was paid by the Brits.

So why is there not a Western-funded refugee counterpart to the existing Free Syrian Army — the Syrian Refugee Army, say — consisting of young men in Europe who are opposed to the regime in Syria and/or to ISIS? As we can see on TV nightly there are many young men among the refugees who might well — particularly if their families were cared for — enlist in the fight against the forces that caused them to be refugees in the first place.

One of the missing ingredients this time around is the lack of a Charles de Gaulle, an enormously self-confident fellow who found himself in London at the Fall of France and quickly proclaimed that he was the ranking French officer (he was a brigadier general at the time) in the Free World. He turned out to be a pain to both FDR and Churchill, but his forces were highly useful in WWII.

The CIA could probably find (and help create) such a leader and quietly assist him to organize a Syrian Refugee Army (or perhaps the "Free Middle East Army," considering that most of the new "refugees" in Europe aren't Syrian) from among the refugee populations now in Europe.

As decisions are being made about who can stay in Europe, and who will be returned to Asia, one of the variables could be that if a young man enlisted in the Refugee Army, his immediate family, not his extended family, would be granted temporary refugee status as long as he stayed in the army. If he died in the war, the family's status would become permanent, as it would be when the war ends.

Does that sound like an indentured army? Well, maybe, but it would be not much worse than our H-1B program, where all the benefits of indenture go to big corporations and none to the nation.

Such a Refugee Army would cost some money, but presumably would be much, much less unpopular with the U.S. public than sending in U.S. troops again. Ms. Merkel might welcome such a system as well. And tens of thousands of more boots on the ground — Arabic speaking ones — could make a big difference in Syria.

A final point: As I noted in December, the Muslim states and statelets in Europe (Albania, Bosnia, and Kosovo) have not been reported as lifting a finger to help their fellow Muslims among the refugees — despite the way the West came to the rescue of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo a generation ago. I have seen nothing since to dispute that statement.

Why don't we ask Wesley Clark, the American general in charge of rescuing Kosovo, to pay a visit to those nations and press them to be helpful to the West? I am sure he would agree to such a mission.

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