Syrian Refugee Camps: “Really Quite Nice” or Brutal Hellhole? Ben Carson Explains.

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I don’t think I’d bother with this if I had something better to write about, but when life hands you lemons, you write a blog post with them anyway. Here is Ben Carson this morning:

Carson last week visited Jordan to tour Syrian refugee camps in an effort to bolster his foreign affairs credentials, something he has been criticized for lacking. Carson called the camps “really quite nice” and suggested they should serve as a long-term solution. On TODAY, he called the Jordanians “very generous people” who have set up camps and hospitals “that work very well” but just lack to the resources to support the efforts.

And here is Carson writing about Syrian refugees on the same day:

Many are now housed in refugee camps, such as the one I visited, the Azraq refugee camp. The Azraq camp is located in a bleak and deserted stretch of desert that was built to house Iraqis and Kuwaiti Gulf war refugees.

….Here is a picture of life in Azraq: The camp is a bleak expanse of row after row of white sheet metal shelters. There is no electricity or air conditioning or heat against the scalding desert summer temperatures or cold winds of winter. Lack of electricity adds further hardship, as people are forced to choose between having light to see their way to the bathroom at night (six shelters share one bathroom) and charging their cellphones, which connects them to family and the outside world.

Seriously, WTF? There was never any question that Carson’s photo-op trip to Jordan might provide him with some actual insight that would change his perspective. He’s obviously a guy who doesn’t do that once he’s made up his mind. But can he really not get his story any straighter than this? Which is it, Ben? Are these camps really quite nice or are they a bleak hellhole of freezing desert? Inquiring minds want to know.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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