A central goal of neoconservatives embittered by the miserable debacle in Iraq and the American people's wholesale rejection of their worldview is to rewrite the history of the last 5 years of our involvement in Iraq so as to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of our (optional) decision to go to war to remove Saddam Hussein. A key objective in their campaign is the denial of the existence of the massive humanitarian crisis created by the dislocation of almost four million Iraqis from their homes over the last five year.
The "denial of reality" crowd employs fatuous arguments like "If there's so many refugees, then where are the refugee camps? Huh?" (see picture to the left). Such people remain wholly ignorant of the fact that many of Iraq's refugees have crowded into towns and cities in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon where they can (with some difficulty) find apartments or homes to live in rather than pitch a tent in the desert.
The administration does it's level best to promote this level of ignorance among some Americans by strenuously avoiding any discussion of the Iraqi refugee crisis. And now, in an effort to hide the problem from the American people they are backtracking on promisesto let more Iraqi refugees from entering the country.
U.S. admissions of Iraqi refugees are nose-diving amid bureaucratic in-fighting, despite the Bush administration's pledge to boost them to roughly 1,000 per month, according to State Department statistics obtained by The Associated Press.
For the third straight month since the United States said it would improve processing and resettle 12,000 Iraqis by the end of the current budget year on Sept. 30., the number admitted has actually slid, the figures show.
The steady decline -- from 450 in October to 362 in November and 245 in December -- means the administration will have to allow in 10,943 Iraqis over the next nine months, or roughly 1,215 per month, to meet the target it has set for itself.
This is pathetic and it's an embarrassment to our country. You may buy the administration's excuses for why the flow of Iraqi refugees has dwindled but I don't. I think it's a deliberate attempt to downplay the problem and divert the attention of the American people.
After all, if thousands (out of the 4 million) of Iraqi refugees started arriving in this country every month then the average American might wake up and realize the extent of the humanitarian disaster that has been created by Bush's war for oil in Iraq. They might realize the extent of human suffering that has been triggered by the greatest foreign policy disaster for the United States in the last 50 years.
Refugee aid organizations like Refugees International are attempting to raise the public's awareness of the magnitude of this crisis:
In addition to appealing for action to immediately boost U.S. admissions, Refugees International and 17 other advocacy groups have urged President Bush to use his trip to the Middle East that begins next week to press leaders there for financial assistance to ease the plight of Iraqis who have fled their homes.
"This displacement crisis has grave humanitarian implications as well as potential negative ramifications for regional security," they said in a letter to Bush sent on New Year's Eve. "At a time when you have expressed optimism about the prospect of regional dialogue as a way forward to an era of peace and prosperity, it is vital that your administration engage proactively to deal with the impacts of Iraqi displacement."
"We believe that it is imperative that you use this visit to the region to highlight the importance of a robust international response to the humanitarian needs of displaced Iraqis," they said.
If Bush fails to publicly discuss the Iraq refugee crisis while he's in the Middle East it will be a crime. But again, it will be just one of many.
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