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May 13, 2007

Nir Rosen On Iraq's Refugees

Don't miss the NY Times Magazine cover story by Nir Rosen, aka World's Bravest Person, on the gigantic Iraq refugee crisis. As the article reports, about four million Iraqis have fled their homes. That's 15% of Iraq's population; the equivalent in the US would be 45 million people.

It's really something to live in a country so powerful we can rip another nation to shreds like this and barely notice. Hey, what time is the Golden State-Jazz game on?

Of course, at the top of the US government it's not ignorance. It's total indifference:

“What I find most disturbing,” [Kenneth] Bacon [president of Refugees International] went on to say, “is that there seems to be no recognition of the problem by the president or top White House officials.” But John Bolton, who was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security in the Bush administration, and later ambassador to the United Nations, offers one explanation for this lack of recognition: it is not a crisis, and it was not triggered by American action. The refugees, he said, have “absolutely nothing to do with our overthrow of Saddam.

“Our obligation,” he told me this month at his office in the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, “was to give them new institutions and provide security. We have fulfilled that obligation. I don’t think we have an obligation to compensate for the hardships of war"...

When I read John Bolton’s comments to Paula Dobriansky — the undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs — and her colleague Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, they mainly agreed with him.

Or as George Bush put it in January, "I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude."

Posted at May 13, 2007 11:22 AM | TrackBack

I used to call for the Bush Gang to get fair trials, and then the punishment prescribed by U.S. law.

But now I say - let them be tried at the Hague, even though the Europeans have abolished the death penalty.

It's unlikely to happen, I realize - but if you no have a dream, you no have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 13, 2007 12:32 PM

Well they do owe us big and they don't need to thank us, just give us back OUR OIL. It's ALL the thanks we will ever need. (or want)
mistah charley: Exile to the green zone, for life, with FULL BODY ARMOR AND LOADED WEAPON to be worn and carried at ALL times. ( They love the green zone, let them spend the rest of their days there defending their fort)(they could live in Saddam/Bush's Palace)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 13, 2007 12:51 PM

Wow, Jonathan. That's two posts in a row that inspire genuine jaw-dropping for me: Tenet inspires with staggering ignorance inappropriate for an official of the highest level and Bolton inspires with an unbelievable display of disregard for life (from an official of the highest level). My stomach hurts.

Posted by: n8nyc at May 13, 2007 02:20 PM

I loved this quote from Sauerbrey:

“We take the responsibility of being a compassionate nation seriously.”

As I went to each new page in the article I could not help but notice the little dancing figures in the ad atop each page. Little animated figures of George Washington and Lincoln doing a little tap dance hawking mortgage rates next to “I want a 510,000 mortgage for under 1,498 a month!” Good God, you really gotta love this country -- a nice ironic juxtaposition for an article about people who have lost their homes and everything else because of us.

Americans want this, Americans want that, kind of a nice little encapsulation of what this country is all about.

Posted by: rob payne at May 13, 2007 05:01 PM

A nation that is powerful because its citizens submit to perceived powerlessness...what an irony.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at May 14, 2007 12:36 AM

And Castro/Chavez are the alleged "Bastards of the West"?...

I guess sending doctors to Nicaragua and engineers to Grenada is somehow morally equivalent if not comparable to a brutal military occupation 4,ooo miles away. I guess everyone dancing in Miami could care less about their moral/living actual equivalents in Iraq. Funny...

Anti-Castro Americans are funny; And hopelessly hypocritical to boot.

Posted by: at May 14, 2007 10:37 AM

Yeah right sure the Iraqis should be thanking us for destroying their country, their homes, their civilian infrastructure, their way of life. Yeah they really should thank us for committing numerous war crimes against them. No doubt they'll be as ungrateful as those Jews who never thanked Hitler for all he did for them though.

Posted by: Terrible at May 14, 2007 12:00 PM

Things are much simpler than it seems:
- The US went into Iraq to free iraqis. And to fight terrorists.
- The US are still in Iraq because they would be followed by terrorists if they withdraw.
- Iraqis are leaving because there are terrorists.

And facts are ridiculous: There weren't no WMD, there weren't no terrorists prior to the US invasion, and most of the insurgency is made of iraqis. Those facts have nothing to do with the overthrow of S Hussein.

That is why nobody cares. Because facts don't fit with the situation. It would be difficult for US citizens to hear that they were lied to, that they are responsible of the death of hundred of thousands of iraqis, and that they actually spend much more oil that they will obtain.

In fact, oil and terrorism have nothing to do with the overthrow of S Hussein.

Posted by: bert at May 14, 2007 04:37 PM

That's absolutely correct bert. You hit the nail right on the friggin' head. This whole thing is just another example of why there is no justice inside the mortal coil.

I mean, the entire world eats shit, while a group of narcisissts run the world and go scot-free? What a joke! Bill Hicks wasn't kiddin' with the whole "it's just a ride, who cares?" thesis.

Posted by: at May 14, 2007 05:01 PM

What's staggering is that this is apparently one of the largest refugee movements in history. And it gets no play. Add it to George's list of accomplishments.

And the galling thing is that these Republican leaders would probably be happy to incite such a refugee crisis in the US to lock in their governance. 15% would represent a decisive shift in the polls.

Posted by: Mike Huben at May 15, 2007 05:15 AM

I wonder who will be QUEEN OF MESOPOTAMIA. (George or Deadeye)(when WE invade Iran WE'LL own it all)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 15, 2007 01:03 PM

Mike I know your a smart guy and a good poster but the MSMs' notion du Jour of invading Iran is just baseless saber-rattling. Iran is not Iraq. Unlike Iraq, it has a well mobilized, diverse, elite military that will give us more shit for-our-buck than we've seen since the Yalu River in 52'.

Iran also has great relations with most of the neighboring conutries, now includung Iraq, which was the opposite for many years thanks to Husseins' regime. (The natural gas mecca of the world, they got some oil and it's all rigged to be blown in case of an invasion, too BTW). Throw in our unpopularity throughout the region as well as the world and you're possibly looking at WWIII.

Now, I am not saying invading Iran is not possible, on the contrary. I am just saying that it would be too expensive; even compared to Iraq, even for these asses.

I also apologize for seemingly trying to
upstage/discredit your far more previous, useful and funny post :)

Posted by: at May 16, 2007 09:19 AM