Friday, March 23, 2007

Iraq Refugees and US Policy

Of Iraq's 27 million prewar population, about 1 in 8—some 3.4 million people—have left their homes since the invasion, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (unhcr), and more than half of those have ended up abroad. Refugees International labels this the world's fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. Yet the Bush administration has refused to so much as acknowledge the refugees' plight, let alone help them get to safety or even provide basic humanitarian aid.

Link here to a Mother Jones piece about the dangers faced by Iraqis who have been most involved with the US mission. H/T Iraq Slogger.

I feel like a broken record. The fallout from the Iraq invasion continues to pile up and little is being done to ameliorate the problems. Am I alone concluding that if the situation in Iraq were improving these people would be trying to return, not leave?

All this talk about "winning" rings hollow to me as long as millions of people continue to flee their homeland. Add to that the official policy refusal to protect this population and I can only shake my head in disbelief.

A brief but hard-hitting assessment of the failure of US policy in Iraq has been released by a group of emminent political scientists. I got the link from Dan Nexon at Duck of Minerva.
Policy errors during the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq have created a situation in Iraq worse than it needed to be. Spurning the advice of Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, the Administration committed an inadequate number of troops to the occupation, leading to the continuing failure to establish security in Iraq. Ignoring prewar planning by the State Department and other US government agencies, it created a needless security vacuum by disbanding the Iraqi Army, and embarked on a poorly planned and ineffective reconstruction effort which to date has managed to spend only a fraction of the money earmarked for it. [5] As a result, Iraqi popular dismay at the lack of security, jobs or reliable electric power fuels much of the violent opposition to the U.S. military presence, while the war itself has drawn in terrorists from outside Iraq.

As I read these remarks I am left wondering if anyone in authority ever bothers to do any reading at all. These are not the words of nut-cases or conspiracy theorists, yet the whole lot of them will be dismissed entirely with a sweeping phrase like "liberal professors." Have they been wasting their time all these years studying politics and foreign policy?

I am reminded of people with good intentions who tell me about the food business. I wonder if I might have wasted the last thirty or forty years.


Daniel Nexon said...

We actually released this in 2004. I reposted it to provide some context to Patrick's discussion of his recent article outlining its failure, but also because I was struck by just how prescient the letter proved to be.

Hoots said...

Damn. It's worse than I thought. Here we are three years and thousands of dead and wounded later and still no one in charge seems to be getting it.
Actually, I think now the plan is to string things out and dump the war into the next - probably Democrat - administration. This is nothing like Vietnam. It's more transparently evil. Or more accurately, nakedly mercenary. Oil is far more valuable than rubber. said...

Google searched for blogs who were covering this, and yours is without a doubt the best out of all I've found so far. I've been aware of this problem for a while, and writing about it since then...this last episode with Cheney's interview following the UK sailors being released was the last straw for me.

He repeated the 'terrorists are entering Iraq across the Syrian border', yet NOBODY seems to take the flow of Iraqis going the other way nearly as serious. I'm going to post a link to Hootsbuddy's Place on my site. Maybe you could do the same?


My latest post on the refugee crisis is here:

Great job with this blog! Peace - DI

Hoots said...

Thanks. I have added your blog to the aggregator.