Friday, July 25, 2008

u.s. expanding program to admit iraqis who worked for the u.s.

this is really good news. one of the many shameful things about the way the u.s. has conducted the iraq war is it's treatment of iraqi refugees. the american invasion created one of the biggest refugee crises in the world, and yet for years the bush administration refused to permit any but a small handful of iraqi refugees into the united states. the bush administration resisted taking in iraqi refugees, i think, because they didn't want to admit the scope of the crisis they created.

but the administration's resistance was even more inexcusable when you consider the case of iraqis who assist the american effort. thousands of iraqis help americans in iraq every day, many working as translators. the u.s. depends upon them and those iraqis often risk their lives and the lives of their families just by doing their job. a lot of them have been forced to flee the country because of their connection to the u.s. and, until this announcement, the u.s. has largely turned these iraqi allies away.

the current reversal is not perfect. the program is capped at 5,000 "iraqi ally" refugees a year (although the number counts the iraqis who worked for the u.s. the refugee visa would allow them to bring their families. which means that the 5,000 number could result in a much higher in terms of the number of people). it's not clear to me why we have to turn away any iraqi who has worked for the u.s. government or american contractors working in iraq, and who has to flee the country because of that work. if they stick their neck out for this country, the least we can do is try to protect them. and i say that as a person who doesn't approve of a lot of stuff the u.s. is currently doing in iraq. i still think we owe it to them.

anyway, i might as well take this opportunity to plug the list project. long time readers of this blog might remember kirk, who is both the founder and director of the list project. TLP has appeared in my "plugs" links on the right for several months now. but if you're a blogger (or use any social networking site like facebook or myspace), you can joint the netroots section of the list project to help support their efforts.