According to NBC News, since April 2003, when the initial U.S. military action was over, the United States has taken in a scant 535 Iraqi refugees. In contrast, European countries, many of which opposed the Bush administrations invasion, have taken in 18,000. One commentator noted that taking any more Iraqis would be an implicit admission by the administration that the war was not going well.
Well, guess what, the war isnt going welland this dirty little secret has been out for some time now. The U.S. government has a long tradition of remaining secretive about embarrassing facts that have long been obvious to everyonesometimes with disastrous consequences. For example, in the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, President John F. Kennedy didnt allow the invading Cuban exiles, as they hit the beach, to have the support of their own air power or that of the United States, because that would have indicated that the invasion had outside helpread the United Statesand was not merely an indigenous uprising. No matter that the United States had a long history of overthrowing governments in Latin America, and American newspapers had already run articles exposing the U.S. training of the Cuban exile invasion force in Central America. Because Cuban leader Fidel Castro could read, he readied a much larger force, which was waiting for and defeated the invaders when they finally landed.
Similarly, no one any longer believes rosy Bush administration pronouncements on Iraq. Although even Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, still has trouble mouthing the L word, people with any common sense, including stalwart Republican supporters of the administration, has had that sinking feeling in their stomachs for a while now that the cause in Iraq has been lost.
Politicians dont like to tell the American public what they dont want to hear, but at least the administration could quietly begin to open the floodgates for Iraqi refugees. Many of these people helped the United States in Iraq and could be in grave danger once U.S. forces are reduced or withdrawn.
Alas, however, the United States, the melting pot of immigrants, has a surprisingly poor record of opening its borders to wartime refugees. A couple of examples are illustrative. The United States left far too many of its friends to a grim fate after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. In addition, prior to and during World War II, the United States had a disgraceful record of taking in Jews being openly and viciously persecuted by Adolf Hitler. The United States could have saved many innocent lives if the puny number of Jewish refugees taken in had been significantly hiked. This abysmal record was one of Franklin Delano Roosevelts greatest failings.
The United States must do better in the Iraq case. Much of the violence in Iraq has been caused directly or indirectly by U.S. policy. The Iraq invasion was a war of choice against a former ally that had never instigated hostilities against the United States and was little threat to U.S. security. The United States chose to depose an authoritarian regime that was the only thing holding together a fractious country, which already had had its social fabric torn by numerous wars and grinding international economic sanctions. The United States, with insufficient military strength to provide security for the country, then disbanded the only other forces capable of helping bring orderthe Iraqi security forces.
With so much to answer for in Iraq, the Bush administration needs to own up to its colossal failure and help save Iraqis that have already sacrificed much to help the United States in its quixotic quest to bring democracy to that divided nation. Unfortunately for these Iraqis, in similar past situations, the United States has a very poor record, and the Bush administration is not good at even implicitly making mistakes.
[Editor's Note: What kind of "help?" If these people came at their own expense and didn't immediately plug into the vast welfare state, I'd have no objection beyond wondering just how in the world they'd ever assimilate, given their radical religion.
The only logical solution is to stop making war all over the planet, creating ever more of these refugees - but that doesn't solve the current problem. Who is responsible for these people? All American taxpayers? Why? Let the warmongers take that responsibility, and come up with the money without theft or extortion.]
Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, Evaluator-in-Charge (national security and intelligence) for the U.S. General Accounting Office, and Investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Full Biography and Recent Publications
Jonathan J. Bean is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the forthcoming book, Race and Liberty: The Classical Liberal Tradition of Civil Rights.
Gregory is a Research Analyst at The Independent Institute. He earned
his bachelor's degree in American history from the University of California
at Berkeley and gave the undergraduate history commencement speech in
2003. In addition to his work with the Independent Institute, he regularly
writes for numerous news and commentary web sites, including LewRockwell.com,
Future of Freedom Foundation, and the Rational Review.
Dominick T. Armentano is professor emeritus in economics at the University of Hartford (Connecticut) and a research fellow at The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. He is author of Antitrust & Monopoly (Independent Institute, 1998).
Alvaro Vargas Llosa is director of The Center on Global Prosperity at The Independent Institute. He is a native of Peru and received his B.S.C. in international history from the London School of Economics. He is widely published and has lectured on world economic and political issues including at the Mont Pelerin Society, Naumann Foundation (Germany), FAES Foundation (Spain), Brazilian Institute of Business Studies, Fundación Libertad (Argentina), CEDICE Foundation (Venezuela), Florida International University, and the Ecuadorian Chamber of Commerce. He is the author of the Independent Institute books The Che Guevara Myth and Liberty for Latin America. Full biography and recent publications.
Gabriel Roth is a transport and privatization consultant and a research fellow at the Independent Institute, where he is editing a book on private-sector roles in the provision of roads, Street Smart: Competition, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Roads.
Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at The Independent Institute,
author of Against Leviathan and Crisis and Leviathan, and editor of the
scholarly quarterly journal, The Independent Review. Click
here for a bio on Dr. Higgs, the noted economist and historian.
William Marina is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., and Professor Emeritus of History at Florida Atlantic University.
T. Beito is a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, Associate
Professor of History at the University of Alabama, and co-editor of
the book, The
Voluntary City: Choice, Community and Civil Society.
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