Shorter Bush Administration

4 comments April 18th, 2007at 11:40pm Posted by Eli

“You fucked up – you trusted us!”

We debate how the surge looks today or how oil will be distributed tomorrow on the banks of a swelling river of human misery: two million Iraqis who couldn’t bear to live in Iraq anymore, and another two million displaced internally but too poor to flee.

…The world is asking what George W. Bush, who started the war in Iraq and presides over the country that historically accepts more refugees than any other, will do for these desperate people.

Many of them will most likely be denied refuge in the United States because, under the Patriot and Real ID Acts, they are tarred with having provided material support to terrorists — in the form of ransoms paid to kidnappers to secure a family member’s release. Last month, Congress tried to create a waiver for those who provided material support “under duress.” Lamentably, it was killed by Senator Jon Kyl, who said he’d respond with legislation to “provide relief from terrorism-related immigration bars to … groups that do not pose a threat to the United States.”

Are we so imprecise in our fifth year of this war that our government cannot distinguish between those who worked and ate alongside us and a member of Al Qaeda?

Consider Rita, an Iraqi Christian woman who worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority and helped manage the TIPS Hotline, which Iraqis can call to share critical information about wanted terrorists or pending attacks on the United States military. Her supervisor, Bernard Kerik, wrote in a recommendation letter that her “courage to support the coalition forces has sent an irrefutable message: that terror will not rule, that liberty will triumph, and that the seeds of freedom will be planted into the great citizens of Iraq.”

But Rita’s courage was repaid by insurgents who abducted her 16-year-old son at gunpoint on his way to school one August morning. Terrorists demanded $600,000 for his release. She doesn’t know how much her husband ultimately paid the kidnappers because he divorced her, blaming her work for the American government for the calamity that had befallen the family. He took her traumatized son and daughter to Syria, and she hasn’t seen or heard from them since. When the death threats became unbearable, she fled to Jordan.

Appallingly, Rita’s family cannot be resettled in the United States because of the material support bar. Unless the secretary of homeland security himself applies a waiver for her, she’ll never reach American soil. Does this woman, who lost everything because she worked for the Americans, who had a security clearance from our government to work in its embassy, pose a threat to the United States? If she does, then who doesn’t?


Five years before we invaded Iraq, one senator had the remarkable foresight to speak about our responsibility to any Iraqis who might help the United States: “If we would have people in Iraq, or elsewhere in the world, trust us and work with us, then we need to take care that the United States maintains a reputation for trustworthiness and for taking care of its friends.” He was even more direct about what was at stake: “The world will be watching and judging how America treats people who are seen to be on our side. We cannot afford to foster a perception of unfairness that will make it more difficult for the United States to recruit supporters in the future.” So spoke Senator Kyl in 1998.


In her Jan. 16 testimony to the Senate, the assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration, Ellen Sauerbrey, said that the plight of Iraq’s refugees was the bureau’s “very top priority.” More than two months later, she reported to the House that it could take six months (and likely longer) before our Iraqi friends might find refuge here.What kind of superpower can’t convert its “very top priority” into a program that starts saving its allies’ lives before their visas expire and they are forced to return to Iraq? …. Those who paid ransoms for their lives or those of their loved ones are scared to explain in their asylum applications the chief reason they fled their country, because they worry it will disqualify them — a perverse indication of the extent to which our government has lost its way since we invaded.

This is not an issue President Bush can delegate anymore. His bureaucracies are moving perilously slowly. They need the leadership of an American president. How will the United States help those whose belief in us cost them their country? We need to honor the sacrifice of these Iraqis — and start recovering the moral credibility our country forfeits each day they go without our help.

This is actually not the first time this has come up. Just another sad example of how basic human decency is now subordinate to the War Against Terror At All Costs OMG! Or rather, subordinate to the need to the Administration’s need to appear tough on terror.

Also, Special Bonus Shorter Bush Administration: All our e-mails are belong to us.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Republicans


  • 1. PoliShifter  |  April 19th, 2007 at 1:47 am

    I am really dumbstruck that we are still in Iraq, that the American People have not risen up and demanded that we leave, that Iraq has not plunged even deeper into violence (which it likley will as the months/years drag on).

    It’s really a bizarre circumstance. The right wing rhetoric tells us Muslims are terrorists and Islam is a violent religion; that the only thing we can do is fight’em over there or else they will come kill us here at home.

    Yet, right wingers are all too proud to carry guns and if they had their way they could protect us from mentally unstable students. Yet they are afraid of terrorists.

    Right wing logic places no value on Muslim Lives; Iraqi Lives.

    Yet when Americans cry for our withdrawl from Iraq the right wing seemingly grows a heart and cries “but what about the Iraqis! They’ll slaughter each other!”

    The only reason for invading and occupying Iraq was/is the oil and to establish a military footprint in the middle east. That’s why we stay and why BushCo does not want us to leave.

    More Iraqis have died since the invasion than at the hands of Saddam. That in itself should tell us something…

  • 2. virgotex  |  April 19th, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Misery,the number one US export.

  • 3. Eli  |  April 19th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I am really dumbstruck that we are still in Iraq, that the American People have not risen up and demanded that we leave, that Iraq has not plunged even deeper into violence (which it likley will as the months/years drag on).

    I think they’re either waiting to see what the Democrats can do, or else they just don’t think protest is going to change much of anything (it’s not like Dubya or his inner circle will care in the slightest, and the media will just spin the protests as a small parade of Crazy Hippies, beating up and spitting on any war veterans in their way).

    Very interesting point about the contradiction between “Just let us carry guns and we’ll take care of the evildoers ourselves” and “OMG scary terrorists will come to kill us!” – I hadn’t thought of that.

    I *am* a bit bemused by the contradiction between “The students should have had guns so they could take out the shooter” and “The students are pussies because they didn’t take out the shooter even though they *didn’t* have guns.”

  • 4. Eli  |  April 19th, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Misery,the number one US export.

    Gotta stick to our strengths. Besides, it’s not like we have a shortage…

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