The Exodus: Discussing Iraq’s Refugee Crisis

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nir rosen cover.JPG
My colleague Nir Rosen will have the cover story of the New York Times Magazine this Sunday in a major article titled “The Exodus: An Account of the Iraq Refugee Crisis.”
For interested folks in or around Washington, I will be hosting a brown bag lunch session with Nir Rosen this Monday, May 14 from 12:15 to 1:45 at the New America Foundation in Washington. The public is invited, but do let us know at Steve@TheWashingtonNote.com if you can join.
A couple of data points to consider. Nearly 2 million Iraqis have fled Iraq for neighboring countries and another 1.9 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, amounting to roughly 15% of the Iraqi population.
Most of the external refugees have made their way into Syria and Jordan, and according to new UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes — who I recently spoke to at length at a dinner hosted by the UN Foundation — this situation is creating serious hardships that are tough for Syria and Jordan to manage without considerable international support.
In contrast, the United States has granted only 466 visas during the Iraq War. According to both outgoing Asst. Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Barry Lowenkron and Asst. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey — who both attended the UN Foundation dinner — while the U.S. has made way for roughly 7,200 visa acceptances this next year — and more than 2,000 have been cleared through a UN High Commission for Refugees process that the State Department requires — not a single visa, not one from this group — has been cleared by the Department of Homeland Security.
Even people inside the Bush administration who recognize that fixing this problem of the US not opening to any refugees is fundamental in repairing America’s image in the world can’t do it because DHS is manically focused on building a “fortress America.” And that is actually undoing what America is and means for many in the world.
Read Nir Rosen’s article. There are bits of an interview he did with John Bolton that are remarkable. Bolton goes even further insisting that the United States has no further responsibilities for the situation in Iraq, for displaced persons, or for any other dilemma that may be connected to this war.
We will have a recording on the New America website of Nir Rosen’s presentation.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

32 comments on “The Exodus: Discussing Iraq’s Refugee Crisis

  1. MP says:

    Actually, that pretty much IS your message when you scrape away all the details. And it is your typical way of arguing. Associate this fact with that assertion; this assertion with that fact. Side comments thrown in to get folks “thinking.” Sort of the equivalent of making a stew. Start it off with an assertion about the Iraqi refugee problem; throw in a comparison “someone” made with the Palestinians of 1947 and how they had to flee; then move on to how good it was for Iraqi women pre-1991. Cook it until tender. Oh, and if someone doesn’t like the taste, you scream, “What? You don’t like meat? You don’t like potatoes? You don’t like carrots? Screw you!”
    No; I do like those things. It’s the way you put them together that tastes nasty.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    So life was good for all in Iraq and Palestine before the Americans and the Jews arrived respectively and made lots of trouble for the peace-loving Arabs. That’s your message.
    Posted by MP
    No. Thats your typical bit of horseshit, designed to misrepresent a another person’s comments. Go screw yourself.

    Reply

  3. MP says:

    Sure, not a problem.
    You say: “Saddam did not allow political dissent. Saddam did not allow radical Islamic doctrine to be practiced or preached in his country. In these areas, he was a brutal tyrant. But for the Iraqi society in general, Saddam managed to offer them a standard of living, and an environment of opportunity, that few Middle Easterners enjoyed.”
    You make it sound like political freedom–or even freedom from the dictator’s claws–is just one “area”–but the rest of society was pretty darn good. But in fact, this type of freedom is the whole ball of wax. It’s like saying Stalin sent a bunch of folks to the gulag, but hey, he let women become doctors. The state- ment is true, but its intent is misleading.
    You write: “I read the other day that this is the largest displacement of refugees in the Middle East since 1948, when the Palestinians fled Israel…http://electroniciraq.net/news/3065.shtml.”
    So here you conflate the carnage that is Iraq with the results of the 1947 war…as if the two events were in any way comparable. But the intended effect is to say that two events are similar or the same or comparable when, in fact, they are not in almost every way. Again misleading.
    Then you continue: “If one considers Iraq’s status and internal quality of life, prior to the wink and a nod we gave Saddam to invade Kuwait in 1991, one has to admit that we have murdered well over one million innocent Iraqis through sanctions and military aggression.”
    So life was good for all in Iraq and Palestine before the Americans and the Jews arrived respectively and made lots of trouble for the peace-loving Arabs. That’s your message.

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  4. Pissed Off American says:

    Why do you cast this straw crap, MP? In your rebuttal, you didn’t discredit or disprove one single thing that was stated in the paragraph..
    “Pre 1991, Iraq had one of the most advanced civilizations in the Middle East as far as women’s rights and equal employment and educational opportunity for all sects and religions. Health care was at the top of the scale for Middle Eastern countries, and higher education was of quality and open to all”
    Instead, you just nattered a bunch of your usual bullshit. Read the original comment, and you will get the “point”. And if my links are “misleading”, or “don’t say what I say they say”, then point it out specifically, instead of just using implication and innuendo.
    Or better yet, just focus your crap at someone else for a while. I am tired of your constant horseshit.
    Interesting you don’t post on weekends. Is that your day off on the propaganda mill, or are you just posting on your employer’s dime?

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  5. MP says:

    Let me count the ways, POA.
    First of all, what is the POINT of the post? That Saddam may have gotten a FEW things right amidst a sea of horror? What’s the point of pointing out that women had equal rights if, when their fathers or brothers spoke out, they were likely to come home in the form of ground beef (literally).
    Your “apparently so,” shows your moral compass has gone haywire, which is precisely what happened to the left during Viet Nam. Suddenly, the North Vietnamese were “liberators.”
    Second, there are at least three countries in the Middle East I’d be willing to bet stack up pretty well against Iraq pre-1991 in terms of women’s rights, or human rights in general: Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey. Without having the “benefit” of having dictators and with more diverse populations (at least in Israel).
    Third, this is just another version of your ridiculous argument that Saddam was a “true leader.” Yes, of course, like Stalin, Hitler, Tito were “true leaders.” They kept a lid on things. They made the trains run on time. And the Soviet Union was renowned for its woman doctors.
    But again, since one certainly doesn’t need to paint a rosey picture of Iraq pre-1991 to be vehemently against the war and all that’s happened…I’m left wondering: What’s the point of the post? To be sure, you post a LOT of links, but many of them, I’ve found, don’t say what you say they say…or are misleading. So the fact that you’ve posted links doesn’t, in an of itself, mean very much.

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  6. Pissed Off American says:

    From the funnies: “Pre 1991, Iraq had one of the most advanced civilizations in the Middle East as far as women’s rights and equal employment and educational opportunity for all sects and religions. Health care was at the top of the scale for Middle Eastern countries, and higher education was of quality and open to all.”
    “Ha ha ha.”
    Posted by MP
    Great post, MP. I posted a number of links that buttress my commentary about pre ’91 Iraq, and will post many more if need be. But you? Your rebuttal is just more of the same ignorant shit that I have come to expect from you.
    “Ha ha ha”, my ass. Your going to have to do better than that. Define the part of my paragraph that you believe to be false, and I will defend it. And once again, you will end up either lying, or stuttering.

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  7. MP says:

    POA writes: “We created Saddam, we armed him with WMDs to be used against the Iranians, we then winked him into Kuwait to set up our actions for the last two decades. And in the process, we have murdered well over a million human beings, and caused the conditions that will undoubtedly result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more. Now, does your little personal anecdote in anyway justify such a monstrosity of policy?”
    True, but still, it was Saddam who did the murdering. Gliding over this fact–as, of course, you point a damning finger at Israel–is the constant illogic of the left in this country. We had it in Nam, where suddenly the NV became “saints.” It seems that a balanced view is beyond the abilities of progressives.

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  8. MP says:

    From the funnies: “Pre 1991, Iraq had one of the most advanced civilizations in the Middle East as far as women’s rights and equal employment and educational opportunity for all sects and religions. Health care was at the top of the scale for Middle Eastern countries, and higher education was of quality and open to all.”
    Ha ha ha.

    Reply

  9. jojo says:

    By the way–Israel was created by the west to have a foothold in the oil rich M.E.
    The unknown and very little untold history is that Germany had the same idea as the west–send poor Jews into Palestine and over whelm the Arabs. $millions of cash was used to fund and arm the Jews in Palestine to kill the Arabs.. Sad part–It failed and we the victors got our j ews in control.

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  10. jojo says:

    To my dear follow Americans, Saddam and his Sunnie followers were purposely put into place and created by USA/UK.To implode into the future when needed.
    Saddam was trained,funded,helped by M16 to assassinate the ruler of Iraq.
    The Uk created Iraq of three religions and acquired the area by lying to the Arabs–help us rid Turkey-ottoman empire and we will set you free. Big Bullsh!t liars. Uk killed millions afterwards and was in it for the oil. Not only UK got into the killing but many European countries. Itylians were the first to use chemical mustard bombs by air bombing.
    And that idiot that says we should send Iranians back—little does he know how much the middle-east has suffered from the greedy west.
    By the way, no arabs did 911 unless you consider Israelies as such. I don’t !

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  11. Pissed Off American says:

    I see the AIPAC website is still running a LIE as its lead article, even though the IAEA has come forward with the truth.
    How long will we tolerate this organization’s propaganda, aimed at an American audience?
    Funny, I don’t see any blatant lies on Al Jazeera’s home page.

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  12. worldly mother says:

    Thinking of Iraqi mother’s too…
    I came across this website chronicaling what I believe to be the beginning of the end in Iraq.
    http://forums.muslimvillage.net/lofiversion/index.php/t897.html
    When I think of this Mother’s Day and feel the love of my children, I can’t help think of the horrendous damage we’ve done to the already impoverished mothers and families in Iraq.
    But, more importantly, I can’t help but think about what we’ve done to the minds of those Iraqi children surrounded by nightmarish violence 24 hours a day.
    Just as Israel is and will be perpetually plagued by their violent Palestinian and Lebonese step-children, so too will the U.S. now be forever plagued with another new crop of traumatized children turned violent.
    Only this time they’re ‘over there’. Waiting.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    Any American with an ounce of humanity MUST be ashamed of what we have done in Iraq.
    Our actions there are indefensible on ANY level.

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  14. Pissed Off American says:

    The US hunts in vain for a military solution
    Iraq’s women under pressure
    The lives of many Iraqi women have become appreciably harsher following international sanctions and the US-led invasion. Although pleased to see Saddam toppled, some look back on the prosperity and social liberation of the Ba’athist years with nostalgia
    By Nadje Sadig Al-Ali
    Iraqi women sometimes remember that they have lived in a multi-ethnic, multicultural national entity with a prospering economy and rapid modernisation; at other times they recall repression, discrimination, declining living conditions and sectarian tensions.
    continues at…..
    http://mondediplo.com/2007/05/05iraqwomen

    Reply

  15. Matthew says:

    I repeat my challenge: What would be saying if Russia had done to Iraq what we have done?

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    May 2007
    First Victims of Freedom
    An interview with Iraqi feminist Yanar Mohammed
    For someone who faces death threats, swaps apartments regularly and hides the location of her organization from authorities, Yanar Mohammed, one of Iraq’s leading feminists, hasn’t lost her sense of humor. Even during a recent conversation about the demise of women’s rights and safety in post-war Iraq, her wry perspective asserted itself in small ways, revealing her humanity and suggesting a certain defiance. She laughed at her English on the rare occasions that it proved faulty, and poked fun at Islamist attire as worn by women in Baghdad’s fundamentalist neighborhoods, likening the all-black, body-concealing uniform to radioactive protective gear.
    In 2003, Mohammed founded the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), which shelters Iraqi women targeted in honor killings and sectarian violence (both on the rise since the war and occupation). It also monitors women in jail and assists formerly detained women, such as prostitutes. And, most visibly, OWFI speaks out loudly and insistently for women’s legal rights and secular law in opposition to Iraq’s growing Islamism. Her demands shed light on the precarious position of women under radical Islamism but, perhaps more to the question at hand, they confirm the disastrous consequences of the Iraq war and the political repercussions of occupation, which, according to Mohammed, has unleashed militant fundamentalism that is proving impossible to subdue.
    Mohammed asserts unequivocally that war and occupation have cost Iraqi women their legal standing and their everyday freedoms of dress and movement—a topic that has received surprisingly scant news coverage beyond scattered reports on sectarian violence and infamous prison abuses. “The first losers in all of this were women,” Mohammed says of post-invasion Iraqi society.
    continues at…..
    http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/326/the_black_glove/

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  17. Pissed Off American says:

    I could continue with link after link after link. History cannot be denied, even though Americans would prefer to hide from the truth.
    Our actions, in regards to Iraq, are despicable beyond description.
    Saddam did not allow political dissent. Saddam did not allow radical Islamic doctrine to be practiced or preached in his country. In these areas, he was a brutal tyrant. But for the Iraqi society in general, Saddam managed to offer them a standard of living, and an environment of opportunity, that few Middle Easterners enjoyed.
    And people like “john somer” can deny it until hell freezes over, but the fact will still remain that in 16 years we have made a wasteland out of what was once a reasonably prosperous and anti-terrorist Middle Eastern nation.
    Ask the million dead Iraqis what they think of what we have done to Iraq.
    And we aren’t done yet.

    Reply

  18. Pissed Off American says:

    Impunity,” Remarks of Sister Sherine, OP
    Jan. 23, 2003
    Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena, Mosul, Iraq
    In order to set the scene for you I’d like to briefly explain what were the conditions in Iraq before the sanctions and the Gulf War. As you may know from your history, Iraq is an ancient civilization. It is the traditional birthplace of Abraham, who is the common ancestor of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
    Before the current aggression began, Iraq was a developed and prosperous nation. It offered and stills offers universal free education through the university level. It once had the highest women’s literacy rate in the Middle East.
    Universal free healthcare and qualified medical professionals made it a the premier medical center in the region.
    It was an ethnically and culturally diverse nation, relatively open and tolerant society, generally respectful of religious and cultural diversity.
    It had a quite adequate infrastructure including sophisticated water treatment and sanitation facilities and decent electrical and communication grids.
    continues at……
    http://www.un.op.org/docs/statement.php?id=166

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  19. Pissed Off American says:

    Eyewitness
    By Kim Ghattas
    in Baghdad
    In the days before the Gulf War, people in the Arab world mocked big spenders by telling them to stop being such Baghdadis.
    But since 1991, life in Iraq has changed dramatically – the country’s GDP has dropped from US$3,000 to $715 and doctors have had to learn anew how to treat diseases that had disappeared from Iraq in the 1980s such as cholera and diphtheria.
    For the past 12 years, the country has been struggling under UN-imposed sanctions, which have greatly affected the life of the Iraqis but done little to undermine the power of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
    Saddam Hussein has kept a tight griip on power since UN imposed sanctions
    Iraq’s middle class has been almost completely wiped out while poverty is spreading and people with close ties to the regime are becoming richer.
    The Ibrahimi family was once part of the middle class.
    Today, the father’s salary is about $6 a month compared to about $300 before 1991. With four children to feed, the Ibrahimis suddenly found themselves having to follow a strict budget after 1991.
    “We sold everything we had: our car, my jewellery, vases, paintings, everything,” says the mother, Fardos.
    She used to work before the Gulf War and often bought ready-made meals for her family when she was too busy.
    Now the family relies heavily on the government’s food rations and meat is rare on the family’s table.
    continues at……
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1949205.stm

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  20. Pissed Off American says:

    Iraq still stands: Returning to Iraq as part of a delegation to document the impact of sanctions leads to the troubling discovery that everyone living there is affected – including members of her own family – social conditions in Iraq
    March, 2002 by Farah Laith Nosh
    My two khales (aunts) and I didn’t have to search for long for the cab that would take us across Baghdad. Cabs are numerous in this ancient city. For many Iraqi professionals it has become a secondary income. Living under a decade of history’s most brutal sanctions, creating alternative ways to make money has meant survival in Iraq.
    There is a brief discussion of the cost to take us to Hay Al-khadhrah, a district about 40 minutes from central Baghdad. The cab driver states a price. As we get into the cab, khale Lamaan agrees to the ride and tells the driver his price is too little. Bartering up is rare in any corner of the world. In Iraq, however, during a time when neither party has much, the driver is offering to make less and the two sisters are offering to give more. This compassionate bartering is a comforting contrast to the street begging now common in Baghdad’s dusty streets.
    A cab price is set, and as we drive across the city the conversation evolves into a discussion of how times have changed so drastically in the last 11 years. As the sisters speak of the need for women to travel in pairs as a result of heightened crime, there is a tone of disbelief in what this life has become. Then there is silence. Amidst subtle words of prayer, khale Hilale stares out the window and whispers in Arabic, “this isn’t life, this is just a test.”
    Iraqis share the hope that life will one day return to what it was before the Gulf War. Eleven years ago, before the compounding effects of war and sanctions, Iraqis enjoyed most of the luxuries that the Western world does today. Pre-Gulf War was a time of economic freedom, and all Iraqis had free and advanced healthcare and education, and were able to buy or fix their cars and homes. It was a time when everything that Iraqis needed was accessible, when all mothers were able to put food into the mouths of their children.
    continues at…….
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JQV/is_2_31/ai_84165777

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  21. Pissed Off American says:

    Iraqi Health Care: Hostage to War
    By Terry J. Allen
    Reddit Newsvine Zainab may be one of the 655,000 Iraqis who would be alive today if the Bush administration hadn’t launched its criminally conceived and executed war. Violence caused most of the excess deaths. But 54,000 people died from non-violent causes, such as heart disease, cancer and chronic illness. They were victims of a health care system eviscerated by mismanagement, ill-placed priorities, corruption and civil war.
    The body count does not come from the U.S. government—which either does not bother to track, or won’t release, the Iraqi death toll—but from a survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Baghdad’s Al Mustansiriya University, published in The Lancet.
    Four years ago, just before the invasion, Zainab, age 10, sat small and dignified on a hard plastic chair in a featureless room in a Baghdad hospital. An IV dripped poison into her outstretched arm. Her leukemia was going into remission and she was pink-cheeked and doing well. Despite the shortage of medicine and care created by combined efforts of Saddam and U.S. sanctions, the medical system still functioned.
    Pre-Gulf War Iraq was “believed to have the best health care system in the Mideast, so it had enough altitude that it could fall some and still survive,” says Gilbert Burnham, principal author of the Johns Hopkins survey.
    Today, the country’s health care is in free fall. Most of the $1 billion that Washington transfused into the medical system has bled out through the open wounds of wars. Of the 34,000 doctors in Iraq at the time of the invasion, more than half are gone. Most fled the country; 2,000 were murdered.
    continues at……..
    http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2967/

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  22. Pissed Off American says:

    “”Pissed-off American” paints a rosy picture of pre-1991 Iraq thatd does not correspond to the truth. When I tried in 1986 to get information about the son of an Iraqi who had disappeared and thought of getting in touch with a group of monks living in the area, one European diplomat who had served in Baghdad became quite agitated and told me that my letter would be read by Iraqi intelligence and would probably entail these monks being arrested, questioned under torture and most probably also “disappeared”. I thought then he was paranoiac but later realized he knew Iraq well.”
    Actually, all one needs do is a little internet research, and one finds that my comment is spot on. Care to tell me what part of my comment is false? I doubt it.
    Was Saddam a monster? Apparently so, in many respects. But what does your comment have to do with my general representation of Iraqi society in regards to women’s rights and employment/educational opportunity, health care, etc.?
    Now, you wanna see some real bullshit, read the AIPAC website claims about Iran, (above). Of course, I suspect, twenty years from now, you will still be claiming its the truth, just as you are now trying to reframe history in regards to Iraq.
    We created Saddam, we armed him with WMDs to be used against the Iranians, we then winked him into Kuwait to set up our actions for the last two decades. And in the process, we have murdered well over a million human beings, and caused the conditions that will undoubtedly result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more. Now, does your little personal anecdote in anyway justify such a monstrosity of policy?
    Are you denying that the Iraqis, in general, enjoyed a higher standard of living, pre ’91, than the majority of the Arab world did? If so, you are seeking to misrepresent history.

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  23. john somer says:

    “Pissed-off American” paints a rosy picture of pre-1991 Iraq thatd does not correspond to the truth. When I tried in 1986 to get information about the son of an Iraqi who had disappeared and thought of getting in touch with a group of monks living in the area, one European diplomat who had served in Baghdad became quite agitated and told me that my letter would be read by Iraqi intelligence and would probably entail these monks being arrested, questioned under torture and most probably also “disappeared”. I thought then he was paranoiac but later realized he knew Iraq well.

    Reply

  24. Pissed Off American says:

    BTW, heres the AIPAC website, lying through its teeth again….
    Iran Blocks U.N. Nuclear Inspectors From Underground Site
    Iran is stonewalling U.N. inspections of a key nuclear site.
    Despite a pledge to allow nuclear inspections, Iran has blocked U.N. atomic experts trying to mount a first unannounced test inspection of an underground center for uranium enrichment — a key step toward producing nuclear weapons, Agence France Presse reported. The watchdog International Atomic Engergy Agency had in March told Iran to allow inspectors to install surveillance cameras at the Natanz nuclear facility, but Tehran refused and agreed to allow frequent, unannounced visits. Iran has rebuffed the U.N. Security Council’s multiple demands to halt its illicit nuclear program and faces further sanctions if its non-compliance continues.
    http://www.aipac.org/
    UN watchdog denies Iran blocked nuke visit
    The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has denied a report that Iran blocked its inspectors from visiting a nuclear facility where it is enriching uranium.
    “There is no truth to media reports claiming that the IAEA was not able to get access to Natanz,” said International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesman Marc Vidricaire.
    “We have not been denied access at any time, including in the past few weeks. Normally we do not comment on such reports but this time we felt we had to clarify the matter,” he said.
    “If we had a problem like that we would have to report to the (35-nation IAEA governing) board … That has not happened because this alleged event did not take place.”
    Ccontinues at…..
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200705/s1921160.htm
    Gee, think AIPAC will post a retraction on their website? When pigs fly.

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  25. Matthew says:

    Smash up their country and then tell them to drop dead. Compassionate conservatism in action. And I thought they they hated us for our freedom….
    P.S. Try this hypothetical: Imagine Russia had invaded Iraq in 2003 and Iraq was also in its current shape. Would we be praising the Russians? (You know even Putin would have painted a few schools.)

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  26. ckrantz says:

    Europe will be hit hardest. Even my remote part of Europe expect to recive 50-60000 refuges this year.

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  27. Mackie says:

    Mort Kondracke writes about Plan B, Winning Dirty:
    “The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.
    No one has publicly advocated this Plan B, and I know of only one Member of Congress who backs it – and he wants to stay anonymous. But he argues persuasively that it’s the best alternative available if Bush’s surge fails. Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows.
    On the other hand, as Bush’s critics point out, bloody civil war is the reality in Iraq right now. U.S. troops are standing in the middle of it and so far cannot stop either Shiites from killing Sunnis or Sunnis from killing Shiites.
    Winning dirty would involve taking sides in the civil war – backing the Shiite-dominated elected government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and ensuring that he and his allies prevail over both the Sunni insurgency and his Shiite adversary Muqtada al-Sadr, who’s now Iran’s candidate to rule Iraq.”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/05/plan_b_for_iraq_winning_dirty.html

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  28. Carroll says:

    The default opinion of many is to believe we’re too large, too diverse, too strong and too attached to solid Constitutional underpinnings to suffer permanantly for one presidential administration. I think people throw their hat in this ring for the alternative is too painful to contemplate. What say you Steve? Are we forever (or at least for a generation or two) changed for the worse?
    Posted by steve duncan at May 12, 2007 10:36 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Steve will have a better answer but I have to comment.
    We have bowed down to our “diversity” so long we we are “divided”. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The United States is anything but united.
    And I don’t know how “strong” we are since we are effectively broke and 90% of the world considers us assholes.
    Barring some huge upset in the politics and policy here, or some huge act of rectification toward the world on our part..then yes we are damaged for a long time, maybe forever…maybe we will never be what we were.
    The first constitutional edict this adm broke was way,way back in 2001 when Bush moved money from one congressional appropation to another purpose without congressional knowledge or approval and no one did anything about it then..so what’s changed? No one in congress is up holding the constitution or any of our laws. I would list all the examples but I don’t’ want to take up all the space here.
    I don’t see any would be leader getting down to the nitty gritty and stopping the mudslide…so put me down as pessimistic on diversity and strenght and the constitution saving us.
    I think we will have to rely on the old 20/80 rule if we are to survive.

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  29. JohnStuart says:

    Jim De Rosa: “Can we trade? Let’s send all the Iranians back who came here since 1979 and we’ll fill their places with Iraqi refugees.”
    Jim, what a mean thing to say about America’s very talented and productive Iranian immigrant community – much of it now 2nd/3rd generation.
    Yes, we owe Iraqis who helped us at least as much refugee support as we gave our Hmong allies in Laos. But, No, we should not be punishing other refugee populations who have received shelter and welcome in the United States.

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  30. Pissed Off American says:

    Its wonderful reading the comments of racists like DeRosa, isn’t it? Makes ya just ticklin’ proud to be an American, by golly.
    I read the other day that this is the largest displacement of refugees in the Middle East since 1948, when the Palestinians fled Israel…
    http://electroniciraq.net/news/3065.shtml
    If one considers Iraq’s status and internal quality of life, prior to the wink and a nod we gave Saddam to invade Kuwait in 1991, one has to admit that we have murdered well over one million innocent Iraqis through sanctions and military aggression.
    Pre 1991, Iraq had one of the most advanced civilizations in the Middle East as far as women’s rights and equal employment and educational opportunity for all sects and religions. Health care was at the top of the scale for Middle Eastern countries, and higher education was of quality and open to all.
    When our actions in Iraq are viewed without the propaganda filters through which the media has strained them, our actions are despicable, criminal, and monstrous. We have dismantled and destroyed an entire soveriegn nation, killed well over a million of its citizens, devastated the physical infrastructure, diminished the quality of life to below third world standards, caused the infant mortality rate to soar, polluted the environment with tons of radioactive and carcinogenic DU dust, and caused a brain drain of human resources of epic proportions.
    And these sins and crimes are compounded by the severe damage that has been done to both our credibility within the world community, as well as the undeniable damage that has been done to our actual security.
    Sadly, history, if written honestly, will consign the actions of the United States to the same chapter it devotes to Hitler when discussing holocausts, and the attempted extermination of people of certain races or religious beliefs. And Israel will be portrayed as the Igor to the American monster. Or, perhaps, vice versa.

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  31. Jim DeRosa says:

    Can we trade? Let’s send all the Iranians back who came here since 1979 and we’ll fill their places with Iraqi refugees.

    Reply

  32. steve duncan says:

    Is this nation sufficiently resilient to survive intact the last 6 years of Bush? Will we emerge somehow better for it, akin to a cancer survivor more keenly aware the value of life? Or has irreparable damage been done to our laws and traditions, to our image and standing in the international community? The default opinion of many is to believe we’re too large, too diverse, too strong and too attached to solid Constitutional underpinnings to suffer permanantly for one presidential administration. I think people throw their hat in this ring for the alternative is too painful to contemplate. What say you Steve? Are we forever (or at least for a generation or two) changed for the worse?

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