5 Million Iraqi Refugees and our National Conscience

Little is being done to attend to the needs of what now amounts to nearly 5 million Iraqi refugees. Based on US actions, it appears the US government has not suffered moral compunctions.

Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May: “How many Iraqi refugees did the U.S. resettle in 2006? It settled 202. The State Department said it would resettle 7,000 this fiscal year. Halfway through, it has admitted 68. (...)”

Whether the U.S. resettles 70 or 7,000, it amounts to a drop in the ocean of Iraqi refugees -- 700,000 in Jordan; more than a 1,000,000 in Syria. Iraq's neighbors are inundated and they need meaningful international support to keep their borders open.

The U.S. has funded $18 million [toward refugee assistance], and "intends" to provide $100 million more.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is spending $2 billion per week to wage the war that directly or indirectly has caused well over four million Iraqis to be forced from their homes.

Supporters of the war and now the surge ought to be forced to defend their position by addressing these critical moral and strategic questions -- Is it not our moral obligation to attend to the plight of the millions of refugees we created through this war? And is it not our strategic interest to help resettle refugees to prevent our allied Arab states from buckling and collapsing under the weight of the flood of refugees?

We did this to Iraq. And it is time the U.S and the international community "step up" to the resulting humanitarian nightmare.

[Excerpt of an article by Sameer Lalwani, The Washington Note]

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