Tuesday, January 02, 2007

NYT: "Few Iraqis Are Gaining U.S. Sancturary"

With thousands of Iraqis desperately fleeing this country every day, advocates for refugees, and even some American officials, say there is an urgent need to allow more Iraqi refugees into the United States.
Until recently the Bush administration had planned to resettle just 500 Iraqis this year, a mere fraction of the tens of thousands of Iraqis who are now believed to be fleeing their country each month. State Department officials say they are open to admitting larger numbers, but are limited by a cumbersome and poorly financed United Nations referral system.
"We're not even meeting our basic obligation to the Iraqis who've been imperiled because they worked for the U.S. government," said Kirk W. Johnson, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development in Falluja in 2005. "We could not have functioned without their hard work, and it's shameful that we've nothing to offer them in their bleakest hour."

The above is from Sabrina Tavernise and Robert F. Worth's "Few Iraqis Are Gaining U.S. Sanctuary" in this morning's New York Times. It's the point Robert Fisk has long been making so those who've heard him speak or caught him on Flashpoints will be well familiar with the figures and the argument.

Meanwhile, the US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Jan. 1." And they also announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Dec. 31 as a result of an explosion while conducting operations in Diyala Province." The announcements bring the number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 3,003.

Martha notes Ann Scott Tyson and Josh White's "With Iraq War Come Layers of Loss" (Washington Post):

Like an emotional manifestation of the laws of physics, the casualties have rippled across the American psyche -- those close to the events have been profoundly moved, while those at some distance, the majority of Americans, have been largely unaffected. Concentric circles of loss spread outward, starting with grieving parents, spouses and children -- many so young they will not remember the father or mother who was killed in war. Families of the severely wounded face a future they never planned for and financial hardships they never imagined. In small towns, which supply much of the nation's fighting force, one death can send an entire community into mourning. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops continue to brave the war zone, while their friends, families and sweethearts worry at home.

Get real is the community response. The media has been able to shine a light on South Africa during apartheid, on Rawanda to motivate people, go down the list. The media emphasizes what it wants and telegraphs the realities from far away. If Americans are not being 'touched by the war,' it's an issue of and criticism of the media. One of the points Ruth was making in her report yesterday. So if true, and that's an "if," it goes to the media which has treated Iraq -- big and small media -- as a topic that can be dropped and picked up at will which hardly conveys a sense of urgency.

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