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May 15, 2007

Nir Rosen on Iraq's Refugees

By Jonathan Schwarz

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?

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- via A Tiny Revolution

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."

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Submitter: Michael Leon

Submitters Website: http://malcontends.blogspot.com/

Submitters Bio:
Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at maleon64@yahoo.com.

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