Photo credit: Refugees International.
I've been beating the drums about the Iraqi diaspora for several months now in posts here, here, here, and here. Most Americans have simply no idea that 2 million Iraqis have fled the chaos and violence of the civil war engulfing that country, and that another 2 million have been displaced internally. The administration and neoconservative war advocates studiously avoid discussing the topic. When cornered, they will blame Saddam Hussein. (That's right, Saddam. You can't make this stuff up folks.)
Now, it appears that the pressure on the administration is finally making some headway as reported by the Associated Press:
The United States will soon begin admitting a bigger trickle of the more than 2 million refugees who have fled Iraq, acknowledging for the first time the country may never be safe for some who have helped the U.S. there.
After months of agonizing delays and withering criticism from advocacy groups and lawmakers, the Bush administration has finalized new guidelines to screen Iraqi refugees, including those seeking asylum because helping the Americans has put them at huge risk.
The 2 million-plus people -- the fastest growing refugee population in the world -- have left Iraq, but Washington has balked at allowing them into the United States for security reasons.
Security for Homeland Insecurity Michael Chertoff explains why we can't accept more Iraqis:
"America's tradition of welcoming international refugees and responding to humanitarian emergencies is unrivaled," he said in a statement. "Yet we also must be mindful of the security risks associated with admitting refugees from war-torn countries -- especially countries infiltrated by large numbers of terrorists."
I see. We invade Iraq and allow extremists, fanatics, and terrorists from throughout the Muslim world to swarm into the country and set up operations. We fail miserably to establish any semblance of law and order or a sovereign, representative, functioning government. The place collapses into a civil war, sending millions of people desperately seeking refuge throughout the Middle East, but we can't accept them give them refuge in America because the country is "infiltrated by large numbers of terrorists". A nice tidy bit of neoconservative circular logic isn't it?
So I guess the answer is we just dump the refugees on the surrounding countries and let them deal with it right? After all, they are used to dealing with the millions of Palestinians who've fled Israel and the Palestinian territories over the last 50 years. What's a few million Iraqis on top of that? And besides, there's always the Swedes (who, embarrassingly, take in more Iraqi refugees than we do).
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