Democracy Arsenal

« Gerson and Petraeus - Birds of a Feather . . . | Main | Prisoners of Uncertainty »

September 12, 2007

Obama and the Humanitarian Option
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Obama's speech on Iraq today was great.  My personal favorite part is the emphasis on the humanitarian aspect.  I've written before about how important it is for opponents of the war to make clear that they will live up to America's moral obligation to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people.  However, that simply does not mean leaving 168,000 troops in Iraq.  As far as I know, Obama is the first candidate to finally address this issue in a real way.  I hope the others will follow.

The President would have us believe there are two choices: keep all of our troops in Iraq or abandon these Iraqis. I reject that choice. We cannot continue to put this burden on our troops alone. I’m tired of this notion that we either fight foolish wars or retreat from the world. We are better than that as a nation.

There’s no military solution that can reunite a family or resettle an orphaned child. It’s time to form an international working group with the countries in the region, our European and Asian friends, and the United Nations. The State Department says it has invested $183 million on displaced Iraqis this year -- but that is not nearly enough.  We can and must do more. We should up our share to at least $2 billion to support this effort; to expand access to social services for refugees in neighboring countries; and to ensure that Iraqis displaced inside their own country can find safe-haven. 

We must also keep faith with Iraqis who kept faith with us. One tragic outcome of this war is that the Iraqis who stood with America – the interpreters, embassy workers, and subcontractors – are being targeted for assassination. An Iraqi named Laith who worked for an American organization told a journalist, “Sometimes I feel like we’re standing in line for a ticket, waiting to die.” And yet our doors are shut. In April, we admitted exactly one Iraqi refugee – just one!

That is not how we treat our friends. That is not how we take responsibility for our own actions. That is not who we are as Americans. It’s time to at least fill the 7,000 slots that we pledged to Iraqi refugees and to be open to accepting even more Iraqis at risk. It’s also time to go to our friends and allies – and all the members of our original coalition in Iraq – to find homes for the many Iraqis who are in desperate need of asylum.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Obama and the Humanitarian Option:


Well, thank you Sen. Obama for speaking out in favor of admitting more Iraqi refugees to the U.S. Our performance thus far is absolutely disgraceful.

Those who rage against the "shameful" way we "abandoned our Vietnamese allies" (e.g. Bush, in his absurd speech comparing a pullout from Iraq to our pullout from Vietnam) are the same ones who will oppose, either openly or through inaction, admitting more Iraqi refugees to the U.S. The Vietnam example, it seems, is only useful as a way of prolonging the war, and not as a lesson for how we should treat the people victimized by war.

Aside from being morally reprehensible, our failure to admit more Iraqi refugees is against our self interest. The ONLY good thing to come out of the US war on Vietnam was the tens of thousands of Vietnamese immigrants our country was blessed with after it ended. No such benefit will come to us from Iraq. The U.S. has apparently decided to pay all the costs of empire, while refusing to reap any of the benefits.

It is about time that someone articulated the point that criticizing the 'surge' does not equate to shirking our responsibilities to the region. For too long, proponents of this war have gotten away with ill-formed policies based on their ability to create straw-dogs whenever someone levies a critique -- They accuse everyone with doubts or misgivings of being "cynical" or "negative." Kudos to Obama for not letting them get away with it.

This is the worst refugee crisis in the Middle East since 1948 and one of the least well known. The international community, including the United State and Iraq, has been slow to recognize and respond to the crisis. Nearly eight million people are in need of assistance. More awareness and support is needed to help resettle the most vulnerable Iraqis in third countries, provide help to those inside Iraq and most importantly to work toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict.It's time for the United States to stand down its military and the rest of the world to step up it diplomacy and humanitarian assistance. As Barack Obama said in his speech in Iowa today, It's time to make this less about what America can do FOR Iraq, and more about what the world can do WITH Iraq. is organizing an international petition urging for more international action - on the humanitarian and diplomatic front. They have some great figures too.

And they are calling for France to lead the diplomatic peace process. Kouchner to the rescue???

Dear friends,

Iraq is a global humanitarian disaster – it's time for the world to step in and negotiate an end to the war. Tell France to kickstart a new plan at the UN next week

Take Action Now
With hundreds of thousands killed, 4 million homeless, and massive ethnic cleansing, Iraq is not just a political disaster-- it is now the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world. But this week, incredibly, US President Bush and General Petraeus will claim their approach is working, and refuse to change their devastating course. It's time for the world to step in.

Over 100,000 of us have already signed the "NEW Plan" for Iraq – calling for a UN-brokered diplomatic solution and a full US withdrawal, but we need a major power to support the plan. Of all the world powers, France has led opposition to the war. It could be the strongest voice to call for international action as most world leaders converge on the UN next week for its annual summit. Click below to sign our petition for a new plan for Iraq, and we'll deliver it to French President Sarkozy and notify the French media:

As warring parties with blood on their hands, neither the US nor Iraq's government have any hope of mediating peace talks to end the war. It's time for the international community to stop playing 'we told you so', and launch a diplomatic initiative to save Iraq. Let's begin by raising a massive global outcry for France and other powers to step up at the UN:

With hope,

Paul, Ricken, Graziela and the rest of the Avaaz Team.

Welcome to our game world, my friend asks me to buy some 12sky gold . I do not know how to use the twelvesky Gold ; my friend tells me how to use. I will thank for my friends bringing me in this world. I am not regret to buy 12Sky Silver Coins . We all love game, if you want to play it, please buy 12 sky gold and join us. Please do not hesitate to have game.

Therefore, I should Buy Perfect World Gold with the spare money.
I gain some pw Gold from other players.

You can buy Atlantica online Gold in the game king world to attract a lot of MM still a lot of places because cheap Atlantica online Gold.

Besides, my friends usually give me some 2moon dil. I usually buy 2moons dil through Internet and advice from my friends.

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use