If you watch or listen to Glen Beck, a kind of crazy but right-on-the-mark talk show host, he often says this issue or that issue “will make blood shoot from your eyes.” Well, this is one of those issues for me. Every day (all day!) there are stories from every corner about Iraqi refugees. Stories are generated by the United Nations, the volags (voluntary agencies), Washington DC think tanks, Senators such as Ted Kennedy, concerned Christian groups, DC conservative pro-Muslim insiders(yes!) and of course, the mainstream media. Most of them say we are very bad for not bringing a million or so here now. Other stories give bits and pieces of “facts” that make anyone trying to follow this want to tear one’s hair out (while blood is shooting from one’s eyes).
Just yesterday the Washington Post featured yet another frontpage story entitled “Iraqis with ties to US cross borders into despair” which laments that 100,000 Iraqis who worked for the US government (or anyone obliquely connected to the US) at one time or another are trying to get into the US and describes the pace of resettlement as “glacial”. The article focuses on well-educated, once prosperous Iraqis. But, just a week ago the Post reported on the first Iraqis arriving in cities like Phoenix, Arizona indicating that those educated Iraqis are not too happy.
Before they arrived here, the refugees said they were told by U.N. representatives that they could get jobs based on their professional qualifications. But they said they have now been told that they should work as hotel housekeepers, an occupation many of them have refused because they deem it degrading.
Then we have the Associated Press reporting that in the month of October 46,000 Iraqis returned home as the violence subsides in their homeland. One of my questions is, are we going to bring thousands and thousands of the best and brightest Iraqis to America to clean motels when it might be better for them and Iraq to be taken care of (by us if necessary) where they are until they return to rebuild Iraq?
I cite the above to illustrate the confusion generated by an apparent lack of government policy on this very critical issue.
Bottomline, we have no leadership in the Bush Administration on this, which allows all these special interests with their own sets of facts to wage a monstrous public relations battle in search of public consensus. No, I take that back, it won’t be public consensus, in this leadership vacuum the winner of the debate will be the biggest and loudest bully on the subject. The Bush Administration should send a balanced fact-finding mission to look for the truth on the ground in the Middle East and convene a conferance on the Iraqi Refugee situation by bringing the best and brightest (without an agenda) together in a public forum to craft a coherant strategy.
If you have the fortitude, read through our entire Iraqi refugee coverage here and you will understand why this is a “blood shooting from the eyes” subject.