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November 16, 2007

Bush's shame on Iraqi refugees
Posted by Max Bergmann

Fred Kaplan calls out Bush on his failure to let more Iraqi asylum seekers

To save face—his face—Bush appears willing to sacrifice those Iraqis who served his cause at great risk and without whom American soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers would have wandered even more cluelessly in the dark. That is the deepest shame.


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It is a shame, but let's get real.

The US is at war with Iraq and has installed a puppet government under a false facade of 'Iraqi sovereignty'. Historically when an invaded country actively resists the brutal military occupation of another country there are no refugees from the former to the latter--they would jeopardize security. Collaborators with the occupying country are typically not treated kindly by occupation resistors and are abandoned by the occupiers. Refugees are 'collateral damage' and of no concern to the aggressor. These are just some of the 'niceties' of military imperialism and colonialism. Americans who go along with the idea of pre-emptive war (not Kaplan) have to accept the whole package of wrongs that comes with it.

Are there any precedents for Kaplan's "Let Them In" policy?

I agree with Don. Vietnamese refugees didn't start coming to this country until after the fall of Saigon, right? And those were almost all from South Vietnam, our former ally. In the case of Iraq, a large proportion of the refugees are Sunni Arabs, that is, they are from the very community that has been leading the guerilla war against the US occupation. Some are no doubt apolitical, but many regard themselves as our enemies. How do we tell the difference?

When that occupation ends, we can talk more about refugees. But these calls for more refugees right now still reflect the continuing confusions of liberal interventionists, who seem to have trouble distinguishing between a war and a humanitarian operation. The United States is the invader and occupier of Iraq, get it?

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