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When the Cheney-Bush administration, aided by the government of Tony Blair, flipped off the United Nations and began their campaign of blood and torture in Iraq seven-and-a-half years ago, there were millions of Iraqis living in places where they don't live now. By 2008, one estimate put the number of exiles at 4.7 million, a couple million of them scattered in 10 nearby countries, mostly Jordan and Syria, and nearly 2.8 million IDPs, internally displaced persons. That's 17 percent of the entire Iraqi population. Such numbers are always shaky because wartime refugees are not easy to count and the statistics are filled with uncertainties about the agendas of the individual sources whose various tallies are combined to arrive at a total. But refugee groups agree the invasion and its aftermath brought about the greatest human displacement in the Middle East since 1948. That massive uprooting comprises a roster of individual stories, each its own disaster.  

Today, with the Iraq conflict entering a new, unpredictable phase, it's safe to say there are fewer exiles abroad and fewer IDPs in Iraq, but getting an exact number of how many have returned home is simply impossible. "Not nearly enough" is all that can be said for sure. And in a world that pours hundreds of billions into preparing for and carrying out wars, the few dollars set aside to provide relief for those dispersed by those wars is...criminally deficient.

Many Iraqis exiled outside the country are simply not going to return if they can avoid it. For one thing, despite the end of regular combat missions by U.S. troops, the insurgency that the invasion kindled continues, with at least 37 Iraqis killed today in car bombings.

Some observers doubt the capability of the Iraqi armed forces to deal on their own with the situation despite the fact that those forces were rebuilt and trained with $24 billion in U.S. reconstruction funds, nearly half the total spent for such purposes in Iraq. Those few who do trust the armed forces' ability to keep the lid on don't trust them to be impartial about it, with themselves as possible targets. The vast majority
are simply not returning
, at least not yet. Indeed, while some refugees have returned, others are still coming out, according to the Financial Times:

“They are coming with similar stories of fleeing violence, fleeing threats and having had members of their family either threatened or abducted,” says Imran Riza, head of UNHCR in Jordan. “It’s not a very high number, but it more or less equals the number that are being resettled out.” ...

But life in exile can also be tough. Refugees are mostly prohibited from working and families’ savings have often been wiped out. Many who returned to Iraq did so because they ran out of money.

Their situation may be dire and their savings gone as they dwell jobless and stateless in Syria and Jordan – perhaps a million and a half of them still – not as refugees but as "guests" of those countries because neither signed the 1951 Convention on Refugees [pdf]. But many such exiles would face not only an unstable security situation but also continued poverty, assault, kidnapping, renewed ethnic cleansing and murder if they went back where they came from. Thus do exiles without the money to have themselves smuggled into Europe or elsewhere, and unwilling to face the potential consequences of returning to Iraq, live in their various limbos. Nearly 30 percent of the Iraqi exiles in Jordan are middle-class professionals, and a few, especially doctors, have managed to carve themselves an economic niche in Amman. But most are just surviving and waiting, doing unauthorized work if they can find something, living in constant fear of deportation. In Syria, where the refugee influx consisted of mostly poor Iraqis, the situation is worse.

Haidar Hamza, himself one of the luckiest Iraqi refugees, having obtained a Fulbright Scholarship, wrote recently of his visit to relatives in Syria:

In my last weekend in Syria, a group of young Iraqi men suggested we go to a party at a night club on the outskirts of Damascus. One of my companions said to me: "Here you'll find the most beautiful Iraqi refugee women ... and they are very affordable."

As we walked in, the stage was packed with women wearing heavy make up and revealing clothes. An Iraqi singer was performing live and the surrounding tables were occupied mostly by Arab men from the wealthy Gulf States and surrounding countries. Alcohol was being served and smoking was permitted. ...

The two women were cousins: Ananas, a 34-year-old pharmacist, and Dunya, a 28-year-old poetess. Ananas first came to Syria in 2006 after her brother and father were shot dead by a U.S. military convoy while he was driving during curfew hours. "They were all I had. Once they were gone, my uncles were forcing me to marry my cousin. He was 21 years older than me and already married. I escaped two days before the wedding date, got on a bus and came to Syria," she said.

As for Dunya, she got married at the age of 16. "My husband was killed by armed militiamen in our front yard. I saw it ... I was looking from the kitchen window. They stormed into our house after and raped me. I didn't try to resist because I didn't want them to go upstairs and find my daughter and hurt her. She was only 9 at the time." Dunya then fled to Syria with her daughter in 2007 and united with her cousin Ananas, who had already found her way into the sex industry.

When I asked about Dunya's daughter, she said, "Her name is Tamara. She is doing alright now. Oh, she is right there in fact," as she started waving at a young girl, now 11-years-old, with wavy hair and wearing make up.

Tamara was on the stage dancing and was occasionally joined by men to talk or dance with her. When I asked Dunya whether she worried about Tamara losing her innocence, her reply was: "Innocence? That is not something for our children. It may be for the children in America or Europe but not us. Tamara is going to grow up in a society that judges her, restricts her and takes advantage of her. Being innocent is only going to make it worse and turn her life harder."

In Iraq, the IDPs live with relatives, in squatters' camps or impoverished neighborhoods amid other Iraqis who were often none-too-pleased to see them arrive. Ten of Iraq's 18 provinces eventually closed the doors to more refugees. A trickle of IDPs, perhaps 10 percent of the total, have returned to their old homes, despite how risky it feels to many of them. For an NGO's look at the problems, see the International Rescue Committee's report, A Tough Road Home: Uprooted Iraqis in Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

For those who have made it out of the Middle East, the situation is also not so great. Sweden allowed in tens of thousands of refugees, but beginning in 2008, a backlash developed.

Many of those who got to America, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Ted Kennedy, after foot-dragging by the Cheney-Bush administration, have not fared so well either. For one thing, they only get $1800 to start out. As Alisa Roth and Hugh Eakin reported:

Bushra, a student of English literature from Baghdad, was sitting in her mostly empty living room in Phoenix, Arizona. She is unemployed. A thin woman in her thirties, she arrived in the United States in 2007, together with her husband. They were two of the approximately five thousand Iraqis that Arizona has agreed to accept as part of recent US commitments to take in more refugees from Iraq. She and her husband thought Phoenix would be the end of a life in limbo in Jordan, where they had fled from the violence. But the ordeal was not over.

Neither could find work. They became so anxious that they decided to return to Amman, where they had contacts in the Iraqi community. The situation in Jordan was still more bleak: “There was nothing,” she said, when we met last November. In the end, they came back to Phoenix, where at least they were safe. Now their only source of income was from her husband’s part-time job parking rental cars. ...

And as Bushra’s situation in Phoenix reveals, for many of those who have been accepted by the United States, the minimal refugee benefits—which assume rapid transition to regular employment and take no account of such conditions as post-traumatic stress—have been all too inadequate. Many refugees were sent to high-growth areas like Phoenix and Atlanta, but those cities have been hit especially hard by the recession. Iraqis we met in Phoenix said they depend on food stamps and food banks; in a reversal of typical migrant economics, some rely on wire transfers from family left behind in Iraq or other parts of the Middle East.

Robin Dunn Marcos, who heads the Phoenix office of the International Rescue Committee, said that the IRC has become something more akin to a welfare office. Without work the refugees “can’t survive. They can’t pay the rent or the utilities, never mind buy toothpaste and toilet paper.” Confronted with stories such as Bushra’s, Charles Shipman, Arizona’s refugee coordinator, has had to ask the refugee agencies to reduce the number of Iraqis they are agreeing to resettle in the state, despite the US’s pledge to take in another 17,000 in 2010. “And I know every other state is making the same request,” he said. “I’m not sure where those additional refugees will end up.”

The United States did a bang-up job of breaking Iraq, destroying lives, generating a resilient insurgency, letting loose sectarian slaughter and putting millions of exiles out of their homes. We're nowhere near paying restitution for that crime.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:14 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Their own fault for believing a Compulsive Liar (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    Past a certain point, the victims only have themselves to blame. Iraqis already had the British Empire as a template. What made them think America would be different?

  •  Hard to understand how some politicians of (10+ / 0-)

    … either party can continue to insist Iraqis are better off / should be grateful / should shoulder more of the burden, etc. etc.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:22:31 PM PDT

  •  I still cannot fathom (15+ / 0-)

    that my country perpetrated these atrocities on the people of Iraq. And on top of it all, too many here could not care less about the continued suffering of the Iraqi people.

    Paying restitution? I dare a majority of Americans think they owe us for "liberating" them.

    •  You still cannot fathom??? (0+ / 0-)

      It must be nice living a privileged life in the U.S. of America?

      I mean, common, the USA has been in some kind of unjust war, since forever! Having aided and started a couple or three of them. (Just/unjust wars.)

  •  Riverbend is in Syria (21+ / 0-)

    The blogger of Baghdad Burning fame has not surfaced in 3 years.

    I once got an email from her after re-publishing and diaring about one of her blogs.

    I hope she is alright. I'd like to hear from her again.; an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:23:01 PM PDT

  •  We let in refugees after VN and Somalia (3+ / 0-)

    But that's not going to happen this time, I'm pretty sure.

    "All politics is national."

    by Auriandra on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:28:10 PM PDT

    •  The mindset in America is almost as bad (8+ / 0-)

      As it was in 1939, when the American public wouldn't relax the quotas to let European Jews flee for their lives to come here, when the German liner St. Louis filled with Jewish refugees was turned back at Miami harbor and forced to return to Germany, when so much of the American public went nuts when liberals in Congress led by Senator Robert Wagner of New York, supported by Eleanor Roosevelt, tried to admit 20,000 German Jewish orphans into the United States - the bill went down to defeat.  The stakes may not be quite as high, but the attitude nowadays seems to be much the same.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:50:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heart-wrenchingly sad -- and so many (7+ / 0-)

    places in the world have similar circumstances for women and young girls as with Ananas and her 11 year old daughter in the sex industry.  Her daughter's innocence will only hinder her survival, she says.

    Mourning and gnashing of teeth, here.

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:28:15 PM PDT

    •  That line broke my heart (0+ / 0-)

      To think that having a childhood is a privilege, and yet to much of the world, it is exactly that.  Reminds me of Dickens' England and child slavery.  The things that women have had to endure for the sake of their children over the centuries.... sigh

      The Price of Apathy towards public affairs is to be Ruled by Evil Men. ~ Plato

      by smrichmond on Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 10:39:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure Phoenix is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Matt Z, divineorder

    the wisest choice for relocating Iraqis. Right after 9/11 some idiot up there shot a Sikh because he was wearing a turban and the shooter thought he was probably a Mooslim terrorist.

    •  Perspective , Agence France-Presse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, OLinda, Matt Z

      in Taiwan News

      A U.S. 'legacy of waste' in Iraq
      With U.S. combat operations officially over, Iraqis complain U.S. is leaving little behind to show for an investment
      By Liz Sly
      Agence France-Presse

      The shell of a prison that will never be used rises from the desert on the edge of this dusty town north of Baghdad, a hulking monument to the wasted promise of America's massive, US$53 billion reconstruction effort in Iraq.

      Construction began in May 2004 at a time when U.S. money was pouring into the country. It quickly ran into huge cost overruns. Violence erupted in the area, and a manager was shot dead in his office. The Iraqi government said it didn't want or need the prison. In 2007 the project was abandoned, but only after US$40 million of U.S. taxpayer money had been spent.

      The prison is just one of the more vivid examples of what is likely to be "a significant legacy of waste" in the reconstruction program, said Stuart Bowen, the head of the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which audited the project as well as many others littering the battered Iraqi landscape. snp

      You should see the picture of this prison. $40 Million Dollars--breathtaking waste on our nickel, and a smear on the Iraqi landscape forever.

  •  The position of the Right is that Iraq should pay (8+ / 0-)

    the US for its liberation.

    Listen here.

    While we're at it, maybe the Philippines should pay us for their "liberation" from the Spanish...

    No public option. Well, at least we are no longer in Iraq or Afghanistan...

    by Pierro Sraffa on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:39:26 PM PDT

  •  I heard a radio story the other day (9+ / 0-)

    about an Iraqi engineer, I think he was. Highly skilled professional, spoke perfect English. I think the story said he'd been a translator in Iraq for the U.S. forces. He can't get a job here in his profession because the employers all ask if he has experience in the U.S.

    Well, no. Catch-22.

    So to provide for his family, he enlisted in the U.S. Army to be sent to . . . Iraq.

    I can't begin to describe how much is wrong with that scenario.

    Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?--Mary Oliver, "Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?"

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:44:17 PM PDT

  •  War damage can never be undone. (4+ / 0-)

    There's no way to erase all the suffering.  Unfortunately, some people don't realize what war does to the survivors.  War should really be illegal, and anyone starting a war should be locked up for life.  We have to find other ways to solve our problems.

    •  Doris Lessing had a line, I think in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Matt Z, divineorder

      "The Four-Gated City" about how every community on earth was traumatized by World War II. It's not a far exaggeration, because there was a lot of viciousness unleashed in Africa and Asia as part of that. Men drafted into Armies was already a disruption to everyone.

      In any case, the every generation-or-two trauma inflicted on almost all populations certainly compounds as time goes on, and as healthy customs get destroyed along with communities.

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:32:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This (what you say) is true, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but as long as Americans have only minor suffered a couple of times under war, then went on to win against the invaders, we feel invincible. Especially after WW I & II where we were only another part of the allied forces, yet we parade ourselves as the ONLY true victors of those campaigns.
      If that were true, so what happened to all the other wars we've unilaterally waged/engaged in since?
      Did we win, lose or tie? Include these last two if you don't mind. We watch movies of Rambo and Pearl Harbor, etc witch make us feel very good about ourselves. Being as patriotic as the next person I feel good about myself, but I will never lie to myself and send my daughter or son off to a war that most could tell was a lie from the very beginning.

      God Bless America, land that I love...

      PS. May all our God fearing Americans pray for Her and all that reside in her boarders!

    •  In the nuclear age, war is obsolete. (0+ / 0-)

      We can no longer war and survive.

      In order to survive, we must build a world Beyond War.

      We are one on this planet:

         * The mother welcoming her newborn in Baghdad breathes the same air as all young mothers, whether they be in Baltimore, Berlin or Beijing.
         * Scientific experts on climate change predict rising waters could radically alter the lives of islanders on New Guinea, Galapagos, Madagascar and Manhattan.
         * And meanwhile, traces of radiation from a nuclear accident in Russia are discovered embedded in the teeth of little children living in South America, North America, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe.

      From these examples and many more, we know our earth has one unique, fragile, life-support system. All of us depend upon it. None of us can live without it. We are bound, beyond ideologies and religions, by an overwhelming number of universal biological and physiological needs. But this understanding was not always common knowledge.

      It was just forty years ago that the view of earth from space made a profound imprint on the human psyche. But earlier than that, in 1948, the noted British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle predicted that "Once a photograph of the earth, taken from space is available ... an idea as powerful as any in history will let loose." Hoyle’s prophecy was realized as we looked back and saw the earth, our home, from the new perspective of space:

             "What strikes me, is not only the beauty of the continents ... but their closeness to one another ... their essential unity."
             ---Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

             "From where you see it, the thing is a whole, and it is so beautiful."
             ---American astronaut Russell Schweickart

      Science confirms it and we can peer all the way around the whole globe, or simply look deep into our own hearts, to know we are one, interdependent human family -- and all war is civil war.

      Our species has been on a journey for thousands of years. It’s the destiny of our generation to make a global shift of momentous proportions. The opportunity we now have to fully grasp the implications of "we are one on this planet" goes way beyond arms control. It’s a call to a new level of understanding: a higher, more compassionate plane of human maturity.

  •  The President's rebranding of our mission (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P, geomoo, theplaintrutho1

    there with his talk of turning the page and the end of combat operations is....

    How do those millions of displaced persons feel   about the United States?

    Finally, now that combat is 'over' there's  the proposal for a new State Department army to protect those sent to 'help' the Iraqis:
    State Dept Planning to Field an Army

    Thousands of civilians dead, thousands more displaced. How do we ever make for this?

    But we must do our best to "look forward."

    •  Everyone has forgotten that Negroponte (3+ / 0-)

      visited Iraq and soon after there were hit squads, as predicted

      THE Pentagon is considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago.

      Shortly after he left we had, hey! remember this?, the Wolf Brigade. This was another gift we gave Iraq, setting up and protecting the first true ethnic cleansers in the area, which led to the civl war.

      Take my advice: get elected to office. Then you can get away with anything, it seems. The worse the thing, the better the price you'll get on the book about yourself.

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:47:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am so grateful (6+ / 0-)

    for the assistance of groups like the IRC.

    Donate here.

    But, of course, as was so typical of EVERYTHING sliming forward from the incubus that was the Bush-Cheney Administration, none of this should be necessary.

    My assistant is a wonderful young woman who was born and raised in Baghdad.  Both her father and brother were kidnapped.  She has no idea what happened to them, but she does know, of course, that they are dead.

    She got to the United States as a refugee and with a Fulbright Scholarship.  She has been here for several years.  But she still walks furtively, talks softly . . . . Her English is near letter perfect and she is now learning Spanish as well.

    I am so grateful to know her.

    I am so profoundly sorry for all those in Iraq (and exiled elsewhere) who were not as "fortunate."

    Thank you, MB.

    Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

    by noweasels on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 05:59:52 PM PDT

  •  how much can this resemble the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    post-Shah immigration of Iranians into the US, especially given the complexity of Homeland Security and the usual 'bagger racism?

    "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni), AND........."I don't vote for a Teabagger God"

    by annieli on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:00:19 PM PDT

  •  Hell, we haven't even gotten the power back on. (6+ / 0-)

    I work for a utility. That's one hell of an outage we caused, there.

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:01:55 PM PDT

    •  And in the summer in Iraq (7+ / 0-)

      Temperatures can reach 120 degrees.  Food spoils.  Gasoline-fueled generators are a way of life in Iraq, now, because electricity is otherwise so scarce.  Though it is true that electricity was a hit-or-miss affair in the South before the invasion, that was NOT TRUE in Baghdad, which had regular, uninterrupted service.  Not now.

      Our shore birds; our turtles and fish. Please consider a donation to the National Wildlife Federation to help them.

      by noweasels on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:05:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  $5 billion from U.S. to rebuild the grid... (8+ / 0-) $6 billion from Iraq. Part of the problem is that Baghdad used have 20-22 hours of electricity under Saddam and the rest of the country got four hours. Now, there's some equality, with most areas getting 5-6 hours, including Baghdad. People buy their own generators and burn fuel oil, natural gas being exported for the foreign exchange, or by buying electricity at high cost from individuals or small companies that have larger generators and set up shop right on the street with a tangle of wires heading off into residences.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:16:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It borders on evil to speak gllibly of US success (8+ / 0-)

    in Iraq.  It is stunning the ability of the mind to keep alive concepts which are an insult to reality.

    boy in rubble

    In order to think clearly about this matter, one must relieve oneself of a prejudice toward the U.S. as a force for good in the world.  Our behavior there has been anti-democratic and the opposite of Christian, perhaps the two strongest justifications we gave for invading.  As mentioned, many of the refugees have been middle and upper class, educated, just the sorts of people who used to hope for modernization and democratization for their country.  Those hopes and wishes are long dead, along with illusions concerning the decency of the U.S.

    Pax Americana is the same in kind as was Pax Romana in the ancient world--it speaks of a peace based on ruthless subjugation.  Imagining a homegrown Iraqi security structure which would satisfy the U.S. is insanity for the simple reason that our interests and Iraqi interests are not the same.  We have not fought for, nor have we encouraged, Iraqi self-governance according to their own principles.  When our government speaks of an effective Iraqi security force, what they actually imagine is a force which continues to protect our interests in the region with virtually no concern for any other aspect.

    Deep gratitude to MB for highlighting this important story.  Here at home, it is less important that we solve the mess we have created than that we become honest with ourselves about what our country is, about how we behave in the world.  Our most daunting task is fixing ourselves, not others.  I received this message loud and clear from the three Iraqi refugees who took part in an internet discussion last year.  I diaried the experience here.  Here are some quotes from those refugees.  Thinking Americans will be shamed and stunned by this reflection to us of who we are, what we have done.

    When asked by Americans, what can we do, Maki said bitterly, "What more can you do?"

    They liberated us with bombs on our houses.

    When asked about the viability of the current government, Maki said, "They can only kill for the Americans."  She felt there were capable people available to run the country if only it would be returned to Iraqi hands.

    When asked when we should withdraw, Rana said bitterly, "Two weeks would be soon enough."  She added:

    Will you leave the Iraqi oil for the Iraqis?  Will the corporations withdraw along with the military?

    Asked about rebuilding:

    After the first bombardment [First Gulf War], we had completely rebuilt in six months.  When Iraqis talk about culture, we are talking about 10,000 years, not just 200.  We can rebuild ourselves.

    The following quotes speak for themselves:

    We have heard a lot of promises.  We need to see changes on the ground.

    Americans need to ask if they still live in a democracy.

    For 47 years I have been a fool thinking America is a good country.

    Americans are famous in Iraq for their corruption.

    It is difficult for us to feel hope.

    Don't believe everything you think.

    by geomoo on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:13:26 PM PDT

  •  Leaving Public Office is a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Matt Z, divineorder

    card, for life, for any politician in the United States, then?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:26:01 PM PDT

  •  Speak of the devil! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm actually researching the Iraqi refugee situation in the US for a research project at my firm.  I'm particularly interested in what agencies there are to help Iraqi refugees by state and what the obligations of these agencies are to those they serve, how successful they have been in meeting that goal, and the avenues for redress refugees can take if they have not been served well by the agencies. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:32:54 PM PDT

  •  The Stryker Brigade crossing into Kuwait (3+ / 0-)

    ... did not end the Iraqis' problems.

        (Photo by: Ahmad Al-Rubaye)
    An Iraqi  girl is helped across spilled oil in Baghdad on Wednesday.

    An Iraqi girl gingerly makes her way through oil spilled on a Baghdad street.


  •  Ironically, Odierno's Interview in Yesterday's (5+ / 0-)

    Wall St. Journal "How the Surge Was Won" made no mention of this problem.

    and conveniently, the general stated "I think Saddam Hussein could have been a real danger down the road".

    Huh? sooo.. like many of us thought, and as the IAEA stated, and as the U.S. State Department indicated-- Hussein was not an immediate threat-- the invasion and occupation of Iraq, from a U.S. security point of view, was totally unneccesary and unwarranted.

    of course the good General can't go there, instead he stated: "The fact that al Qaeda was targeting Irag to be the center of their caliphate in order to carry forward terrorism around the world..."

    what a load of crap.

    anyone who knows anything knows Hussein's henchmen kept al Qaeda OUT of Iraq

    "The U.S. isn't withdrawing from Iraq at all, it's rebranding the occupation". Seumus Milne

    by Superpole on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:45:13 PM PDT

  •  We never paid Viet Nam back either, (0+ / 0-)

    but, 10 or 20 years from now, once the Iraqi economy is back on its feet, we'll do business with them.

  •  Great dairy Meteor Blades. (0+ / 0-)

    The thing I can't understand is why so many of my fellow Americans, especially on the left, can not understand the transformation our nation is having.
    Our nation's Left-Wing would like to move progressively forward, while our Right-Wing would like to move us "Teabag Backwards". There is importance to be learned on both sides.
    The Left can never outreach the move forward as long as the Right out Prays us to God. "God answers all prays", "so be careful what you pray for".

    It is time to get our collective shit together and include God into our RIGHTOUS-SIDE or let them (Right-Wing.) have all the power that was given to all men/women from the beginning of time. They do not have an monopoly on the SPIRIT-OF-GOD, nor the power of Satan.

  •  MB - thank YOU for posting this!! (0+ / 0-)

    It's a story not told enough!!!  There are millions of Iraqis in dire straits indeed and we are not doing enough to help them OR the countries in which they are residing to assist them.  Thanks again for bringing this to the attention of the DKos community.
    OxFam is doing a great job helping them, as is the Red Cross, the American Friends Service Committee, CARE and Doctors without Borders.  Please donate!!!

  •  Miss me yet? (0+ / 0-)

    Sure you do.  Please look for my memoirs which will be out soon, where I dish in detail how I almost singlehandedly smote Iraq, er Saddam, and freed its people from the tyranny of tyranny.  History is looking kinder and gentler upon me, even as I write.  Buy my book and you can even come to adulation/signing events.  Please be advised footwear is not permitted.

    "There's been a little complication with my complication"

    by dash888 on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 08:19:11 PM PDT

  •  This is a must listen to Interview, I think. (1+ / 0-)

    This is the interview Amy Goodman broadcasted this morning in her "War and Peace" report:

    Iraqi Refugee Describes Torture, Imprisonment of Husband Who Returned to Iraq to Free Jailed Son

    It's very hard to listen to this interview. I think it's appropriate to point to it here, one more example of situations that can evolve to Iraqi exiles.

    Iraqi Refugee Describes Torture, Imprisonment of Husband Who Returned to Iraq to Free Jailed Son
    Rabiha al Qassab, a British Iraqi woman who lives in London, describes the harrowing story of her husband, Ramze Shihab Ahmed. Having fled in 1998 after being accused of trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Ramze returned to Iraq last year to get his son out of prison. He, too, was arrested and was tortured. Like 30,000 other Iraqis, he and his son are being held without charge.

    Just listen to it. I couldn't cry, I just had a terrible urge in my mind to kill the torturers, I am sorry to say. How do you deal with torturer that forces children to rape or kill their partent at gunpoint or forces parents to rape or kill their children? I can't deal with it.

    In addition one should listen to her piece:
    New Order, Same Abuse: Amnesty International Condemns Iraq for Holding 30,000 Prisoners without Trial".

    From these 30 000 prisoners, 10 000 were prisoners in US custody, which were then transferred into Iraq custody.

    Amnesty's Report is here: Iraq: New Order, Same Abuses: Unlawful Detentions and Torture in Iraq"

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