Thursday, June 26, 2008

Books, Not Bombs

This op-ed piece raises an important question: what, besides fighting, is the US going to do for the Iraqis for whose freedom, it is purported, it invaded their country?

Some two million Iraqis have fled their homeland and are now sheltering in run-down neighborhoods in surrounding countries. These are the new Palestinians, the 21st-century Arab diaspora that threatens the region’s stability.

Bad enough as that statistic is (2 million out of an estimated population of 28 million, or 7%, which in the US would be 21 million displaced persons), this is worse: last year the United States took in only 1,608 Iraqis.

That is in contrast to: Iraqi refugees are hard to count but may now amount to 8 percent of Jordan’s population of six million.

8% of the US population of 300 million would be 24%, or more than the entire population of Iraq itself.

If we let the Iraqi refugee crisis drag on — and especially if we allow young refugees to miss an education so that they will never have a future — then we are sentencing ourselves to endure their wrath for decades to come. Educating Iraqis may not be as glamorous as bombing them, but it will do far more good.

Part of the legacy of the Bush-Cheney team.

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