Iraqis Back in Exile: From war to poverty in just five easy years

A new report from the International Rescue Committee paints a fairly dark picture for Iraqi refugees living in America. Most of the Iraqi refugees arriving in the U.S. get a $900 stipend from the federal government, and then…Well, they get $900! What’s there to complain about? Read the report here.

Our recent history with Iraqi refugees is embarrassing, though it’s getting better. In 2006, as violence started to hit its peak in the war, we accepted 202 Iraqis in the U.S. In 2007, the State Dept. got its way and the quota was lifted to allow 7,000 Iraqis in(though only1,608 entered the country.) Now we’ve opened the flood gates, sort of, resettling 9,851 Iraqis in the first seven months of the fiscal year, with the possibility of allowing up to 17,000.

The problem is, according to the report, it’s tough for the refugees to get jobs, healthcare, make their rent on time, etc. The report even warns that many face the possibility of becoming homeless.

Obviously, we have a moral responsibility to assist these families get back on their feet. But I just want to point out a few things.

1) It’s always bugged me that some of the biggest war supporters acted shocked when the Bush Administration didn’t act fast enough to help out Iraqis who worked for the Americans, and who were some of the first refugees. (You know who you are, guys. Read my earlier post if you want a hint.) Did these Humvee liberals believe that an administration that was willing to bomb and invade a country preemptively, that was willing to kill thousands of Iraqis(and set up circumstances that lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands) was really going to care about Ahmed the Translator not getting a visa? This was shocking? It would seem the moral outrage should have come a few years sooner.

2) Wasn’t one of the goals of the war to “fight them over there” so they couldn’t get here? Result of the war: we’re going to legally bring in 17,000 potential terrorists, a lot of them homeless and pissed off. A sleeper army of unemployed Iraqi Muslims running around the streets, voting Obama, and plotting terror attacks with their relatives who’ve been moved to the homeland from Gitmo.

3) The point above is somewhat faectious. But it yet again proves that the logic of the war(fight terrorism) and the logic of continuing the war(we have to keep fighting terrorism over there) is in a never-ending state of collapse.

4) And if the goal is to build a democracy in Iraq but the Iraqis who are best suited to build a demoracy no longer live in Iraq because it’s not safe for them…and so it goes…

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About michaelhastings

Journalist
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