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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 10:03 pm

Slamming the door

Why won’t let Iraqi refugees come to the land of free?

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Untitled Document George W. Bush keeps talking about America’s moral responsibility to Iraqis. So why is he slamming America’s door in their faces? There’s an ugly story about the war that the Bush administration hopes you and I don’t notice. It’s that their incompetence and arrogance have made the Iraqi people’s lives a succession of miseries. There are the daily killings and maimings, of course — a gruesome reality that, since the start of Bush’s highly touted surge strategy, has spread throughout the country. But let’s look at the undead. Unemployment is rampant. Even in the capital city of Baghdad, electricity is at best an occasional luxury. Two of three Iraqis have no regular access to clean water. Children are malnourished, with many dying from preventable diseases. The country’s health-care system is near collapse. Two-thirds of Iraqi children are not in school. Meanwhile, in a nation of 28 million people, 4 million have been forced to flee their homes by this raging civil war. Half of these are homeless in their own land; the other half has fled Iraq. This is where the door-slamming comes in. Since the war began four years ago, how many of these displaced civilians would you guess the Bushites have allowed to seek refuge in our Land of the Free? About 500. That’s it. Well, surely the compassionate conservatives in the White House have made other arrangements for Iraq’s growing number of war refugees. In fact, Bush sat on his hands while two of his wealthiest war allies in the region — Kuwait and Saudi Arabia — also shut their doors to their Iraqi neighbors.  
To learn what America can and should do about Iraq’s desperate refugees, contact the International Rescue Committee: www.theirc.org.  

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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