The Bush administration has caved in to pressure on Iraq refugees. Well, not really...
The Bush administration agreed Wednesday to greatly expand the number of Iraqi refugees allowed into the country and to pay more to help"Greatly expand"? That sounds good, doesn't it? So what sort of figures are we talking about here?
Iraq's Arab neighbors cope with the human tide fleeing increasing violence and economic hardship in their country.
Well, to date the figures have been utterly piss weak. Last year the USA allowed a meagre 202 Iraqis in. The total since the start of the war is only 600. This year they are going to "greatly expand" that figure and allow a whopping 7,000 Iraqis in.
Let's put that in perspective. Sure, it's an increase of over 1000% on this year's figure. But the United Nations estimates that 3,800,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the war began. In that context, seven thousand refugee visas is just a PR stunt.
The problem for the USA, of course, is that most Iraqis have now learned to hate Americans, and most support violent attacks on US forces in their country, so how do you let people like that across your border? How do you screen them for attitude?
But then again, whose fault is that? Maybe if the administration had shown some genuine concern for the well-being of ordinary Iraqi citizens from Day One, instead of securing the Oil Ministry and oil wells, things would not have reached this point.
In other news, the United Nations is also seeking $60 million for a worldwide resettlement and relief program. The USA, which is primarily resposible for the Iraqi refugee problem, is offering to pay less than a third of that. Where do they expect the rest of the money to come from? Iran?