Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 27, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SAVING WHO WE CAN....Ah, the conundrum that is The New Republic. Today's essays from their "What To Do About Iraq" issue include two pieces, both by political science professors, that are diametrically opposed and yet still manage to contain not a single glimmer of intelligent thought between them. (Your choices: James Kurth suggests we obliterate the Sunnis because they've been such bastards, while Josef Joffe suggests we team up with the Sunnis in order to annoy Iran. Neither writer even remotely explains how we're supposed to accomplish either one of these goals.)

But then there's George Packer, who writes a genuinely thought provoking piece. Iraq is well and truly lost, he says, but a lot of Iraqis who worked with us and trusted us will die hideous deaths if we abandon them:

Those Iraqis who have had anything to do with the occupation and its promises of democracy will be among the first to be killed: the translators, the government officials, the embassy employees, the journalists, the organizers of women's and human rights groups.

....If the United States leaves Iraq, our last shred of honor and decency will require us to save as many of these Iraqis as possible. In June, a U.S. Embassy cable about the lives of the Iraqi staff was leaked to The Washington Post. Among many disturbing examples of intimidation and fear was this sentence: "In March, a few staff approached us to ask what provisions would we make for them if we evacuate." The cable gave no answer. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad does not issue visas.

....We should start issuing visas in Baghdad, as well as in the regional embassies in Mosul, Kirkuk, Hilla, and Basra. We should issue them liberally, which means that we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees. (Last year, it was fewer than 200.) We should prepare contingency plans for massive airlifts and ground escorts. We should be ready for desperate and angry crowds at the gates of the Green Zone and U.S. bases. We should not allow wishful thinking to put off these decisions until it's too late. We should not compound our betrayals of Iraqis who put their hopes in our hands.

On moral grounds, it's hard to conceive of any argument against Packer. The only question is: Is it practical? Can we actually do what he suggests? How would we address the obvious security problems inherent in a relocation program?

The only way to know is for people with experience to study the issue and create a plan. But what are the odds that anyone in the Bush administration will ever allow this to happen?

Kevin Drum 7:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (116)

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Comments

Heck of a job, Bushie. I'm sure he'll give post-departure planning as much thought as he gave post-invasion planning.

Posted by: K on November 27, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm for Packer's visas.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Well, one argument is that a massive influx of Iraqis of any stripe might complicate the cozy relationship of AIPAC to Capitol Hill--if Arab voters start havign real flex in states like Michigan and Ohio, we might see some interesting ripples in our Israeli policy. And so it should not be allowed! say the sensible men.

Posted by: CindyV on November 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

But what are the odds that anyone in the Bush administration will ever allow this to happen?

I'm guessing this next in Atrios's "Easy Answers" series . . .

Posted by: Brautigan on November 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

One day they will be hmong us.

Posted by: jerry on November 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Practicality be damned. Not a single thing about this damned war has been practical, and now, with even more lives at stake, is not the time to start.

As for housing the refugees, I suggest we start with the following locations:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Camp David
Dick Cheney's Undisclosed Locations #1 - 100
Crawford, TX
Kennebunkport, ME
And, of course, Don Rumsfeld's collection of palatial homes...

Posted by: Cap'n Phealy on November 27, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Packer has a point, but surely some of the "good iraqis" are not good at all. Risking your life to join the Iraqi police isn't heroic if your goal is to cleanse your neighborhood of Sunnis.

Do we really want to be defending war criminals from extradition ten years from now? Part of any withdrawl plan should be discussions with Iraq's neighbors that include exile deals.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on November 27, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps this is what they had in mind when they were wailing about teh terists following us home.

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

This really proves my thesis that Bush and Cheney are a sleeper Al Qaeda cell, sent here 40 years ago to destroy the US. This must be part of their plan. First, they create violent extremists where there were none before, then they get them shipped here with visas on US government planes!

It's mind-boggling in its genius.

Which is how I stumbled onto their nefarious plan. No actual Republican could come up with something this clever. No actual Republican could make breakfast without first blowing up the house next door.

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

God please help us, another Vietnam redux. We left so many behind . . . Remember the people crawling the ladder onto the last helicopter out of Saigon?

Posted by: Ronn Zealot on November 27, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

We really are reaping what we have sowed. I agree, there's a moral imperative to give these people safe harbor in the U.S. On the other hand, that really does raise a security concern, doesn't it? Yet another impossible choice that this stupid Iraq venture foists upon us.

Posted by: SS on November 27, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, this is all sooo Vietnamish.

And the sad part of it is that I'm not that surprised. I've been surrounded for so long by so many people who so convincingly convinced me that they had absolutely learned nothing from Vietnam.

Except how to wear a chips on their shoulders and pout.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on November 27, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

We should pull out of Iraq and give grants to the Iraqis as they need them for their reconstruction. We have already caused them enough damage and pulling out is the only chance they have for long-term unification. It would give them a chance to reduce the increased poverty and hunger levels and any real chance for development. It would be in line with the Millennium Development Goals, which the US have yet to address. The Borgen Project is working to encourage our leaders to be accountable to the world's poor. Giving grants to the Iraqis would be the first step to address the MDGs.

Posted by: ashley18 on November 27, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cool, Iraqi expat party at Cheney's house!

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, there are obvious security issues here. Really obvious. That's why it would take genuine study to figure out if it could be done.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on November 27, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is certainly the government to implement a sensible study and then abide by its conclusions. Yes sir.

Oh, and dimwit, Chicken Little said the sky was falling, when it wasn't. The sky has already fallen in Iraq. We're just arguing now about who cleans up the mess, and when.

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, If you look at the number and source of massive refugee immigration to America you will find that these mass migrations since WWII have come from places that our foreign policies have fucked.
Vietnamese, Hmong, Montagnards, Salvadorans, Korean, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Cuban, Iranian, so why not Iraqi now?

Posted by: angryspittle on November 27, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

The question we should all be terrified of at this point is: which one of these new Iraqi Exiles is going to play the part of Chalabi in 15 years when we have to do this shit all over again to take-out the evul terrorist Sadr government? (who will no doubt be threatening our close allies and bastions of democracy in the region; Israel and/or Saudi Arabia).

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on November 27, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, and I thought the idea of chickens coming home to roost was a metaphor. Who knew?

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

cluck, cluck, cluck

Posted by: angryspittle on November 27, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, there are obvious security issues here.

For whom? The ultimate irony will be the stories of Iraqi refugees detained and "interrogated" because they stepped out of line at the airport.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on November 27, 2006 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

One day they will be hmong us.

Too. Fucking. Funny.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

My concern would be letting terrorists into out country.
Posted by: Cheney on November 27, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. Like the MEK office next-door to the State Department. Or like terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

Posted by: impeach.remove.convict.punish.justice on November 27, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

One day they will be hmong us.

Yes, I was hoping that wasn't a typo. Nice one.

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

I'm real partial to the homegrown variety like McVeigh. The al-kaders snuck him in as an infant and machinated him washing out of special forces training. It was brilliant really and all very wag-the-dog worthy.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Will Ashcroft be crooning Happy Birthday at the festivities?

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

On the plus side, we can look forward to literally thousands and thousands of Iraqi restaurants opening throughout the US in the next few years....

Posted by: Stefan on November 27, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, it will be a problem Kevin. And some of the commenters here have pointed out some reasons why.

In the case of Vietnam, it was our elites rescuing some of the South Vietnamese elites. Not a very attractive scene.

Who gets rescued? Yep, a real human problem.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on November 27, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

And don't forget the motels. The pissed off Patel lobby is going to be phe-phucking-nomenal.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

...we can look forward to literally thousands and thousands of Iraqi restaurants opening throughout the US in the next few years....

I wonder if Iraqis have a dish called "Mensef", which I know is a Palestinian favorite. Don't shit your pants trolls, but Mensef means explosion.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on November 27, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's always the same groups that suffer when a body politic implodes: gays, intellectuals, writers, liberals, etc.

I think Packer's idea has merit - it will allow the conservatives to self-reflect (if they even have that ability) about their support of immigration quotas and how to balance what this country was founded on (the ability to start a new life) vs. their xenophobic tendencies....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 27, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

On the plus side, we can look forward to literally thousands and thousands of Iraqi restaurants opening throughout the US in the next few years....

You laugh, but I've eaten at an Iraqi restaurant and it was very good. All well-prepared Middle Eastern food is.

Anyway, can we slap silly the next troll who accuses us of Bush Derangement Syndrome? Is there really enough hatred in the world to be appropriately applied to the people who created this situation with their arrogance, lies and self-serving shortsightedness?

Posted by: shortstop on November 27, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this Perpetually Inquisitive person? He/she is busting me up.

Posted by: shortstop on November 27, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

We should tap into our vast reservoir of Christian missionaries, who will evangelize and convert them all to a religion of peace and pro-American consumerism.

Posted by: GoodGulf on November 27, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I apply the Yankee Doodle technique to Bush Derangement Syndrome. IT doesn't affect us. It affects those 30% who are so fucking deranged they think he's doing a good job and that Saddam brought down the towers and made it home in time for dinner. BDS now applies to the deranged foam-flecked followers, not us.

And as to the appropriate amount of hatred: that would be however much hatred it takes to propel these war criminals to The Hague. There is your appropriate amount.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all for it as long as it explicitly excludes Chalabi.

Posted by: pjcamp on November 27, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

There is no reason to assume that any such thing would happen, but for insurance, let's trade them 1 neo-con for every 100 Iraq civil servant immigrants. The quantity of resultant newspaper columns alone will confound their nefarious plans.

Posted by: Mike on November 27, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Chalabi, does anyone know where he is these days?

Is he in the Green Zone? Is he even in Iraq?

Posted by: Dwight on November 27, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

You laugh, but I've eaten at an Iraqi restaurant and it was very good. All well-prepared Middle Eastern food is.

No argument from me. Quite a lot of very good Yemeni, Syrian and Lebanese restaurants in my neighborhood.

And anyone who lives in Orange County can attest to the transforming effect losing a war and taking in tens of thousands of refugees can have on the local restaurant scene.....

Posted by: Stefan on November 27, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Chalabi is mostly in London these days, according to a NYT Magazine article of a few weeks ago, now for-pay-only:
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30916F6395B0C768CDDA80994DE404482

Posted by: cdc on November 27, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

Chalabi is mostly in London these days, according to a NYT Magazine article of a few weeks ago, now for-pay-only:

For-pay-only? Which one, Chalabi or the article?

Posted by: Stefan on November 27, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

"We should be ready for desperate and angry crowds at the gates of the Green Zone..."

Might be wise to be ready for desperate and angry crowds inside the gates of the Green Zone.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on November 27, 2006 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks CDC. (Here's the link for those who don't have Times Select. Gotta love that picture of Chalabi on top.)

And Chalabi still considers Paul Wolfowitz a friend. What a guy. With friends like that, who needs neocons...

Posted by: Dwight on November 27, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

oh man, they had to go all the way to germany to get a guy who would regurgitate the same nuggets of wisdom we could have gotten out of an editorial writer here. josef joffe is THE CW writer for Germany from his perch as the publisher/editor of Zeit. it helps his cause tremendously the world over that he's a genuine article german jew, but that doesn't make his insights any more profound. the guy is a walking distillation of what the european elite thinks and should probably, on that basis, be ignored. i know, i know, bad form, ad hominem. have you ever DEALT with the european intellectual elite? if you had, you'd sympathize. they're precisely as detached and incapable of diversifying their thoughts as our champions of elite discourse.

Posted by: joe on November 27, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Ahmed, you fucked up. You trusted us!

/then we get in our helos and depart.

Posted by: klyde on November 27, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Quite a lot of very good Yemeni...

Dude, Bint-us-Sahn (Daughter of the Plate) is the best dessert ever.

Posted by: enozinho (wetorture.com) on November 27, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ethiopian is my favorite. Love me some tibis wat.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, you defeatist democrats are really getting annoying. It's funny how the troops who are over in Iraq don't think we've lost. Of course, I guess you freakin' armchair quarterbacks know more than they do.

Posted by: Jim C on November 27, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

What the fuck is your inside track?

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Nah, we'll just work out a refuge program with Turkey, or Jordan, or the Saudis, heck doesn't Kawait owes us, and at any rate, I don't know if Irag and the Green Zone will be another fall of Saigon, but for this to be happening, Bush didn't make ANY headway whatsoever with his cheap talk about "as they stand up, we'll stand down" bullshit.

I mean, WTF has Bush been doing in Iraq all this time? That SOB hasn't made ANY progess whatsoever, because it appears there was NO "stand up" policy, and the GOP clearly didn't care if Bush was making headway or not.

Jeebus, what a nightmare.


Posted by: Cheryl on November 27, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: How would we address the obvious security problems inherent in a relocation program?

If Iraq collapses (and there is no guarantee that this will yet happen) then it is too late for this question.

America must take them all because it is America who put them in danger and failed to build the solution they promised that would have guaranteed their safety. America took on that moral responsibility when they first invaded Iraq and then secondly employed them. Equivocating about security risks if it all goes pear shaped is unacceptable, that lesson was learned in Vietnam decades ago.

One fortunate thing is that Syria and Iran, rgardless of Dead-Eyed-Dick's position are engaging with the Iraqi government.

Regardless of their prior involvement with the insurgency, the poachers are turning game-keeper as they cannot afford to have Iraq dissolve into chaos on their doorstep. The impact on these states would be too great.


Posted by: Bad Rabbit on November 27, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

The forced return of the Hmong/Mong was staunchly opposed by many American conservatives and human rights activists.

This information on the Hmong people was brought to you by the good people at Wikipedia, who have substituted for Cheney's complete inability to think on his own since 2003.

Posted by: Wikipedia on November 27, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

The question is-- when are we going to learn? Apparently Vietnam and all the refugees from that conflict didn't teach us anything.

Oh, right. Taught SOME of us a whole bunch. Unfortunately, the ones in charge spent the war at fraternity parties whooping it up and didn't notice anything big going on.

Posted by: blast on November 27, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

The only way to know is for people with experience to study the issue and create a plan.

Not so. The only way to know is to carry out the plan.

That's how we know what would really happen if we remove Saddam Hussein from power; if we withdraw from S. Vietnam; what will happen if we nuke the Japanese and then write a constitution for them; and it's how we'll know, if we ever do, if we can favorably affect the events in Darfur.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on November 27, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

War plans are always perfect til the first shot is fired. Then all bets are off.

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

On moral grounds, it's hard to conceive of any argument against Packer. The only question is: Is it practical? Can we actually do what he suggests? How would we address the obvious security problems inherent in a relocation program?

In the moral universe, your question is not operable. Whether it is practical or not for us to try to save those who have helped us, it is imperative. If we're to salvage any shred of honor and self-respect from this brutal military adventure, we must try to honor our obligation to people who risked their lives and families to cooperate with us.

We can't save everyone, but to leave (and we will) without trying would be unconscionable.

Posted by: cattlelist on November 27, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, you defeatist democrats are really getting annoying.

Defeatist? Don't be silly. We're already looking forward to a wave of good restaurants. Remember, liberals are the ones who enjoy life. That's why we annoy you guys so much.

Posted by: craigie on November 27, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

"We should start issuing visas in Baghdad, as well as in the regional embassies in Mosul, Kirkuk, Hilla, and Basra. We should issue them liberally, which means that we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees."

importing a bunch of Iraqis after "liberally" issuing visas would be ultimate irony of 'fighting over there so we don't have to fight them over here'. The cult of republicanism is so amazingly F'ed-up its indescribable.
.

Posted by: zoot on November 27, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus, you defeatist democrats are really getting annoying.

Win one lousy election and we're suddenly defeatist. Would you all concern trolls kindly just blow it out your collective ass and STFU?

Posted by: Perpetually Inquisitive on November 27, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

No one could have anticipated that there would be refugees.

Posted by: condi on November 27, 2006 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

The US will leave. Iraqis collaborating with the US will have a good incentive to betray our soldiers before their collaboration can be retaliated against. It might save their lives.

Like after Viet Nam, the US will have to absorb collaborators, war profiteers and extremely corrupt bureaucrats after it leaves. This was easily predicted in 2003. If we had allied with the eventual winners in Iraq from the beginning, a lot less suffering and cost could have been avoided.

If we had allied with the eventual winners in China, Viet Nam, South Africa, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, etc, a lot less suffering and cost could have been avoided.

Posted by: Hostile on November 27, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Packer? TNR?

No thanks. They can suck it.

Posted by: luci on November 28, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

"War plans are perfect until the first shot, or arrow is fired"

Oh, how true, how true.

Posted by: Duchess of Fenwick on November 28, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Many of the South Vietnamese started restaurants in Orange County, CA.

Many of the Hmongs raise and sell flowers at Farmer's Markets in the Northwest.

Suggest Chester County, Pennsylvania for the Iraqis. Many fine three car garages could house them and rdw could be their spiritual leader.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 28, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

"One day they will be hmong us."

As long as we de-Laos them on the way in, we'll be fine.

Posted by: K on November 28, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Or they could emulate Garden Grove and have a Ky to the City presented.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 28, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

No collaborator left behind. Bugler sound retreat.

Posted by: trublu on November 28, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

I refuse to register at TNR, but I think from the exceprt that for once I agree in principle with George Packer. And right after I wrote The New Yorker to tell them Packer is a delusional schmuck. That guy drives me nuts.

As to the other question: let's see ... save the Iraqis who were unfortunate enough to believe our bullshit from certain slaughter, or leave them to their fate because a few baddies might sneak in with them and hurt a few Americans, who have spent the war driving SUVs and not enlisitng, like nothing was going on and it was their birthright to cheer for war and watch the soliders on the teevee while burning all that lovely oil like it still came from Texas. Gee, let me think about it ... Dear God, my countrymen make me nuts.

[You heard it here first - we're going to leave 'our' Iraqis to be slaughtered.]

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Posted by: 手机图片 on November 28, 2006 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

"We should start issuing visas in Baghdad, as well as in the regional embassies in Mosul, Kirkuk, Hilla, and Basra. We should issue them liberally, which means that we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees."

Uh, as soon as you do this there will be a mass exoduc of Iraqi staffers and officials. I guess it's fair to assume many of them already had enough and don't want to run the risk of waiting too long to get themselves and their families to a secure place. Everybody knows of the chaos that spread during the last days of Saigon. Nobody wants to be left behind at the gate of the embassy.

Posted by: Gray on November 28, 2006 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

This also happened in VietNam when we pulled out.
Several VietNamese I had worked with were exicuted by the VietCong. Whole familys were lined up and shot in the head , simply because they worked for us.

Posted by: james a phillips on November 28, 2006 at 7:04 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, three points about refugee resettlement:

First, it's not "immigration". Immigrants are people we WANT. Refugees (and asylees) are people we won't turn away.

Second, refugee resettlement is always a foreign policy issue, e.g., we take some so other countries will also take some. (When we turn away Haitians, Nigeria turns away Sierra Leonians.) It's Never Again, Squared: the commitment of the world is that never again will we send people back to be murdered (as in the Holocaust), but also, never again will we let whole peoples grow up in 'temporary' camps (as in the rise of the Palestinians).

(Although it is also true that when we re-settle substantial #s of folks, it is ONLY because they have some domestic constituency, e.g., Central Europeans during the Cold War, Cubans after Castro, the boat people after Vietnam, Soviet Jews, etc. What's the domestic constituency for Iraqis?)

Finally, the security issue means that each refugee and his or her family will have to be screened, which given the volume will take years. It also makes for precisely the delay between the mob at the gates scene that is so horrifying, and the actually getting to the U.S. which is what will prompt people to charge the gates.

So it's one more test of the Bush administration's character, not to mention the Congress.

A sensible thing for Democrats in Congress to DO, then, would be to provisionally authorize a substantial number of refugee visas for Iraq, with a Bush okay necessary, and for both temporary shelter AND a screening mechanism, and leave it to Bush to choose what to do.

I doubt the Baker Commission will propose that, though, for fear of generating the mob at the gates. Anybody disagree?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 28, 2006 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

Minor point, well maybe a major one. I do think that this is not controlled violence (as per GWBs statement today). Even AQ could not stage manage the blood lust sweeping the birth place of civilization. I feel that if the current trends continue, the military will find itself having only two (in theory) options left. Massively escalate or get out.

It is pretty damned certain that we can not do the former. If the bottom drops out sooner than later, how do we evacuate?

The bulk of our troops are deep in country, with what one highway south to Kuwait a thin line that was compromised several times during the initial invasion.

I fear the ultimate irony of payback. That same highway was used by US troops as a killing field during Saddams retreat in 91.

Under such conditions, I doubt that we will take much of the war material we have there. It would slow up departure way too much.

With in months, every militant group who wants to spill blood (whether that blood be Arab, African, European or American, and especially Israeli) will have a whole new collection of toys to use.

Yet another gift to Osama from George.

Posted by: Keith G on November 28, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure that after the initial relish of an extended family of 15 or so showing up on Michael Ladeen's front porch--or better yet, Simone's (Daddy!!)--is diminished by the thought that said refugees have suffered enough betrayals.

As one poster noted, they'll probably show up in large numbers here in Michigan--Dearborn is one of the largest Iraqi immigrant centers in the US, and they seem to prefer the term Chaldean, and who wouldn't. Bring 'em on. You're probably talking about the cream of the crop, and there's nothing wrong with more smart people who work hard and vote often.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on November 28, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

There are some simple, clear-headed principles that policy makers need to understand in order to extricate America from the Bush quagmire with some degree of self-respect:

1. The only way to end the nightmare that the civilian population is currently experiencing [and that it will continue to experience if the civil war continues unabated] is a massive troop presence, soldiers with weapons on every street corner. At this time it may take as many as 1-1.5 million soldiers taking aggressive action to disarm the militias. That is what will work. That is what has always worked throughout history.
2. America's troops cannot be a part of the occupation army that will end the violence in Iraq. One rather obvious reason is because it would require a military draft and we can be confident that the American people would not consent to such a desperate measure. Even if we did so, we would soon find that we only succeeded in uniting the Sunni and Shia factions in a combined effort to make us pay for our attacks on them. (During the past couple of years, American troops have tried to stay out of the limelight, providing only 'support' for Iraqi security forces. This gave the Sunni/Shia militias the freedom to organize themselves and spend their time on attacking each other. If we were to again try to disarm them, they would simply unite again against their common enemy---America. This is why American troops cannot be a part of the solution.)
3. If we want to (A) save Iraq's civilian population from the mess we've created, while (B) withdrawing ourselves from the mess we've created, we need to arrange for some other countries' troops to replace us. These troops will only succeed where we failed if they show up in very large numbers.
4. Few countries in the U.N. that opposed our invasion would be willing to sacrifice their own youth in order to clean up the mess that America created. That leaves us with the only solution that makes any sense: Invite a coalition of Muslim nations to take over the security problem in Iraq.

If we put up the funding (our penance for messing things up so badly) to pay a lion's share of the cost of maintaining a Muslim Coalition Army, we just might be able to get nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, etc., to contribute the troops needed to carry out the mission. If they are not willing, we should probably approach Egypt to bear most of the burden.

There are a number of reasons why we might prefer to have troops from non-bordering Muslim nations to take over the security mission. I'm optimistic we could put together such a coalition because I suspect they'd prefer it to the only other alternative available, which is to allow Syria, Turkey, and Iran to basically carve up Iraq between themselves.

This final option---abandoning Iraq to Iran, Syria, and Turkey---would effectively end the Iraq Experiment that the British set up many decades ago. Would it be an outcome that we just couldn't tolerate? Of course not. It would achieve the two most important goals that we, as a nation, have at this time: (1) get American troops out of the quagmire, (2) spare the lives of perhaps millions of civilians Iraqis. We'd stop paying the price in blood and we would not have turned our backs on the civilian population of the region.

We can't even begin to hope for a better Escape From Iraq than that.

Lasting Peace in the Middle East

Posted by: James Kroeger on November 28, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

So we should provide sanctuary for a bunch of (in their countrymen's eyes) quislings?

They chose their own path, as far as I'm concerned. We keep getting assured that those who sympathize with Bush's Iraq policy make up the "overwhelming majority of Iraqis."

If this is the case, I think they'll be able to defend themselves. If, however (as I suspect), they actually make up a small minority, then [shrug].

Posted by: chuck on November 28, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

And James Kroeger, that whole idea about millions of Muslim troops coming into Iraq?

Ain't gonna happen.

No one is going to come bailing Junior out of this one, I'm afraid, least of all millions of Muslims who hate what he has done to Iraq and whose governments have enough problems on their hands without becoming bogged down in a rapidly escalating foreign civil war.

Put down the crack pipe and clue into reality. The least worst option - withdrawal - will leave a power vacuum and there will be a lot of killing, but now that's unavoidable at this point, isn't it. Probably should have thought about that before starting this war.

Posted by: chuck on November 28, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Someone name of James Kroeger>

If we put up the funding (our penance for messing things up so badly) to pay a lion's share of the cost of maintaining a Muslim Coalition Army, we just might be able to get nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, etc., to contribute the troops needed to carry out the mission. If they are not willing, we should probably approach Egypt to bear most of the burden.

Captain Sensible notices you have attempted to think through these issues, and that is commendable. However, the notion that a Pakistani, Malaysian or Indonesian soldier is going to accomplish anything inside of Iraq is ludicrous beyond belief. Do you know that, aside from the cultural and language barriers, you might as well send Uruguayan commandos on llamas into Iraq for all the good that it would do? The operative term inside of Iraq is mayhem; the killing of Muslims does not matter to the purveyors of mayhem. Sorry, but that is a wrongheaded notion that isn't going to accomplish anything. Iraq must be solved politically, not militarily.

There are a number of reasons why we might prefer to have troops from non-bordering Muslim nations to take over the security mission. I'm optimistic we could put together such a coalition because I suspect they'd prefer it to the only other alternative available, which is to allow Syria, Turkey, and Iran to basically carve up Iraq between themselves.

They already have decided to carve up Iraq, which is why the United States should align itself with the creation of a free, independent Kurdistan and champion the Kurds as an ethnic minority that deserves statehood. First and foremost, the support of an independent Kurdistan gives these people their own place and identity, sorely lacking because of a century of colonialism. Secondly, it gives us an ally in the region. Third, it gives the US credibility vis a vis Israel, since guaranteeing the existence of Kurdistan shows that the US is committed to supporting oppressed people, no matter who they are.

This final option---abandoning Iraq to Iran, Syria, and Turkey---would effectively end the Iraq Experiment that the British set up many decades ago. Would it be an outcome that we just couldn't tolerate? Of course not. It would achieve the two most important goals that we, as a nation, have at this time: (1) get American troops out of the quagmire, (2) spare the lives of perhaps millions of civilians Iraqis. We'd stop paying the price in blood and we would not have turned our backs on the civilian population of the region.

The Iraq experiment was more a matter of colonial practicality. There are no Iraqis; there are now three distinct parties and they cannot coexist now that the identity that Saddam Hussein forced upon his people has been stripped away. Any attempt to force the country to stay united as is will continue to kill Iraqi citizens. The greatest threat to peace and prosperity is not the US occupation--it is the civilian militia that abducts and murders hundreds of Iraqis each week and performs 'ethnic cleansing' in the areas around Baghdad that are mixed.

The Americans won't be turning their backs on the Iraqis; that happened long ago, when the policy of disbanding the Iraqi government--the "de-Baath-ification" policy--was enacted.

Iraq is an example of what happens when you foolishly strip away the institutions that hold a society together. When you remove the judges and courts, the police and the Army, the ministry officials and the bureaucrats, all other aspects of the society are then vulnerable to the predations of the mob that rushes in to fill the power vacuum. That mob was the Baath party, not so much al Qaeda. They're not going to go quietly now, after three years of fighting.

Understand why that power vacuum happened in the first place, and you can put the Humpty Dumpty back together, but Captain Sensible doubts there are enough pieces left to do so.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

As I said, I have no problem studying it, but we are certainly not to the point of implementing it yet -- George Packer does not think the whole of "Iraq is well and truly lost" either -- the sky has not fallen in Iraq.

Wow, thanks for the encouragement, Cheney. Pretty far fucking short of the "Mission Accomplished" days where you gloated about how glorious Junior's crusade was, how we'd all been proven wrong, etc.

But since, according to Cheney, the sky has not fallen in Iraq (only 3,000 dead civilians in 20 days), then let's not think about any possible future negative scenarios. Heck, not thinking about what could go wrong is what got us this far in the first place, right?

Idiot.

Posted by: chuck on November 28, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

This whole 'Oh, goody, more neat funky ethic restaurants for us boho elites.' thing...please tell me you're being self-parodic.

Otherwise it's about a idiotic as it can be.

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Today's essays from their "What To Do About Iraq" issue include two pieces, both by political science professors, that are diametrically opposed and yet still manage to contain not a single glimmer of intelligent thought between them.

Political "science" is one of the biggest oxymorons going. A political science degree is an excellent qualification for cleaning toilets, or perhaps, for the more diligent, serving french fries. Paul fucking Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney are two products of political science curricula.

Posted by: sglover on November 28, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

We could set up a refugee camp at Guantanamo...

Posted by: Wombat on November 28, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Moving past my loathing for political "science", we don't have any choice but to offer safe haven to Iraqis who've collaborated (yeah, I know it's a loaded term; it's also apt) with us. But since few people in the States really truly give a damn about Iraqis, I expect that we'll leave a lot of people high and dry when we finally do scuttle away -- after we've pissed away at least a trillion dollars and 8-10 thousand dead grunts.

Posted by: sglover on November 28, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Packer is right on. I think we can use the analogy of the bull in the china shop. If our bull destroys the china shop, we are morally responsible to clean up the mess afterwards and not just walk away.

Bush and company have made a horrible cleanup job. The least we can do is make an effort with our European and Middle Eastern allies and the well-intentioned people in Iraq to stabilize the state and stop the bloodbath. We cannot just walk away and pretend it is someone else's problem.

We also should forget about looking for "success" in this debacle. Our government must acknowledge the disgusting failure for what it is.

Posted by: CandideinNC on November 28, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

If omens mean anything, the fact that Bush has stated today that the US will not leave Iraq before the mission is complete means that the US will be leaving Iraq shortly.

Captain Sensible would be shocked if the man had a passing acquaintance with the notion of telling the truth.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

This whole 'Oh, goody, more neat funky ethic restaurants for us boho elites.' thing...please tell me you're being self-parodic.

Were we too subtle?

Posted by: shortstop on November 28, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

We could set up a refugee camp at Guantanamo...

I hear Bush has been clearing out space for them all at a ranch near Crawford Texas.

Posted by: GoodGulf on November 28, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Were we too subtle?
Posted by: shortstop

Hey. I said, 'Please.'


'The elite now send other peoples children off to fight and die in wars that are unwinnable. On the home front, a two-tiered economy has been put in place in which a small percentage of the population does extremely well while a majority of working Americans are in an all-but-permanent state of anxiety about job security, pensions, the economic impact of globalization, the cost of health care, college tuition, and so on.' - Bob Herbert

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and it turns out I was mistaken about one of my local falafel dispensaries - several of the guys turn out to be Jordanian.

It's the owner who's Syrian. Now I know what all the snickering is about.

It's pretty good falafel. But the kibbee ain't anywhere up to the standard of the nice Lebanese lady at my corner grocery in Lake Charles. 'Mizz Anna' made the best kibbee in the known universe.

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Wrong:

The least we can do is make an effort with our European and Middle Eastern allies and the well-intentioned people in Iraq to stabilize the state and stop the bloodbath. We cannot just walk away and pretend it is someone else's problem.

News flash, puppies... We ain't walking outa there, nope. As I alluded to earlier, the US military is going to have to fight its way out of central Iraq. Blood will be flowing freely and it will be the single ugliest mess that the US military will have ever faced.

So let's stop being deluded that we can do anything to make this morally more appealing. Given the logistics of what we will have to do, we will be lucky if we get our own asses out of there, let alone any other's.

Discuss.

Posted by: Keith G on November 28, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The marines have long since coined the word to describe this: FUBAR

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible writes:

They already have decided to carve up Iraq, which is why the United States should align itself with the creation of a free, independent Kurdistan and champion the Kurds as an ethnic minority that deserves statehood.

LOL! That's a good one!

So we create this Kurdistan over the objections of . . . let's see . . . our NATO ally Turkey (pretty critical player in the Iraq region), Syria and Iran (all of which have their own Kurdish problem), and that's just for starters. Did I mention that Turkey has stated flatly that it would consider such a Kurdistan a serious threat to its security? Would we be willing to fight Turkey over the Kurds.

C'mon Captain Sensible: it's time to get some sleep and call us back in the morning.

Posted by: Chuck on November 28, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

So we create this Kurdistan over the objections of . . . let's see . . . our NATO ally Turkey (pretty critical player in the Iraq region), Syria and Iran (all of which have their own Kurdish problem), and that's just for starters.

Captain Sensible says absolutely, yes, it is a reflection of reality; there already is a Kurdistan, thanks to the millions of Kurds who live in the region. The fact that the Kurds are technically a stateless people is an opportunity to achieve some good in the region. Perhaps if the US supports the creation of a Kurdistan, it will then be consistent for the US to support the creation of a state for the Palestinians. How much good might come of that?

Iran and Syria have their own interests in the region, and perhaps creating an ally AGAINST them is better than leaving Iraq for them to carve up on their own. Unless you think kissing their backside is a good strategy, I would think creating an ally in the region might be a good start. We're a bit short of these allies, you know, what with the insistence on destroying our own credibility and abandoning our efforts to bring stability to the region.

Did I mention that Turkey has stated flatly that it would consider such a Kurdistan a serious threat to its security? Would we be willing to fight Turkey over the Kurds.

Fight Turkey? No, we wouldn't end up doing that. Since the collapse of the Former Soviet Union, Turkey's strategic profile has declined and it has now resorted to trying to join the EU. Don't forget that it was the Turks who blocked the deployment of the 4th Infantry Division through their territory, simply because they didn't want to deal with any fallout. Don't forget that Turkish commando units have regularly operated in Northern Iraq, and not in our interests. If any good is to come out of this folly in Iraq, perhaps ending Turkey's persecution of the Kurds would achieve something; we've already stopped Saddam Hussein's persecution of them, as you well know.

Do you really Turkey they will turn to Iran and Syria for common cause? Something that would certainly jeopardize their membership in the EU, their relationships with Europe as a whole and the billions that it promises? Why not give the Turks the opportunity to be rid of their Kurdish problem by giving ethnic Kurds in Turkey the opportunity to relocate to northern Iraq?

This failure to think of the possibilities is what troubles Captain Sensible. There already is a Kurdish people who are creating their own state, whether anyone in the region wants to believe it or not. There already is a dearth of allies in the region. Why not be pragmatic and consistent on this notion of supporting the creation of nation/states for displaced minorities?

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

>>Why not be pragmatic and consistent on this notion of supporting the creation of nation/states for displaced minorities?
Posted by: Captain Sensible

Kashmir?

>>Why not give the Turks the opportunity to be rid of their Kurdish problem by giving ethnic Kurds in Turkey the opportunity to relocate to northern Iraq?

Oh, like that's gonna happen.


Next.

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Secular Animist asks: What's the domestic constituency for Iraqis?

Besides guilt-ridden "humanitarian intervention" supporters like George Packer? The substantial, mostly Shiite Iraqi-American community in southeast Michigan, many of whom arrived after the 1991 Gulf War and the Shiite uprising and Ba'ath slaughter and repression that immediately followed.

In considering Packer's proposal and the case he makes for it, I think it's important to be honest about the number of Iraqis who've already been killed because they work with the invaders/occupiers. It's quite large, yet there's been no call for increased refugee/immigration permits. And U.S. troops have not been providing any significant protection for them.

We've killed thousands of Iraqi civilians with no connection to the occupation in checkpoint shootings and as "collateral damage" of shelling and bombing Sunni cities, while refusing to take responsibility or even be honest about the scale of civilian casualties. Yet calls for an immediate or even quick end to our occupation have been met with protests from the Packer element that this would lead to greater slaughter.

This resettlement proposal is not a morally serious one; it's an effort to mitigate U.S. guilt.

Posted by: Nell on November 28, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Check Decent Interval out from your library now. There's going to be a waiting list soon.

Posted by: aretino on November 28, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, Nell -- remind me never to be in a lifeboat with you: "the attempt to save the people in this boat is not a morally serious one; it's merely an effort to mitigate our guilt cuz the boat sunk."

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 28, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Someone name of CFShep said>

Kashmir?

Point? Kashmir is a dispute that has Muslims inside of Hindu India when the intention was to separate Muslim from Hindu and create Pakistan. The Kurds were left standing without a chair when the music played by the colonial powers stopped. You might want to pay a visit to this site and read a bit on the notion of what is an intractable conflict; then you can lecture Captain Sensible on what his views should be. Ongoing regional conflicts are destabilizing; resolving them gives credibility (which is badly needed right now) to the parties that help resolve them; typically, they cannot be resolved until some long-standing grievance is addressed in a substantive manner.

To do nothing is your choice? Sorry, there already is a Kurdistan and we might want to become an ally of it before we become an enemy of it.

Captain Sensible asked>

>>Why not give the Turks the opportunity to be rid of their Kurdish problem by giving ethnic Kurds in Turkey the opportunity to relocate to northern Iraq?

CFShep said>

Oh, like that's gonna happen.

Just because you say so? Currently, there is peace in the Balkans. Ask yourself how that came about. Perhaps it was because the Serbs were prevented from killing the Kosovar Albanians, the Croats and the Bosnians and perhaps the fact that those ethnic minorities now have the beginnings of their own nation/states is the reason. If there continues to be peace, hopefully it is because each ethnic minority has its own political process and its own nation/state apparatus through which to address political differences. If you want to guarantee an insurgency, strife, conflict, war and terrorism, simply take an ethnic minority and put them under the heel of your boot.

Failing to allow yourself to consider alternatives will not solve anything; please tell us how you think the conflict can be resolved.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's wasted on the likes of Cap'n, but there is another Vietnam parallel to keep in mind -- unlike Miami Cubans, Vietnamese-Americans have generally favored stronger ties with the country they were forced to flee, despite its government, and are arguably a major force in freeing its economy.

So there COULD be a significant constituency in the U.S. for resettling Iraqi refugees, and perhaps even a silk purse in the long run from this sow's ear.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 28, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's wasted on the likes of Cap'n, but there is another Vietnam parallel to keep in mind -- unlike Miami Cubans, Vietnamese-Americans have generally favored stronger ties with the country they were forced to flee, despite its government, and are arguably a major force in freeing its economy.

Polite discourse is wasted upon you, so-called Americanist. Trading in stereotypes now?

So there COULD be a significant constituency in the U.S. for resettling Iraqi refugees, and perhaps even a silk purse in the long run from this sow's ear.

By all means, let them into the country. What's a few IEDs among neighbors? The fact that the insurgency has infiltrated the Green Zone, virtually all of the government ministries and the Iraqi police might be a tip-off that we had better be careful as to who we allow to come to this country.

Do you think with that brain Americanist, or does it come with a warning label and an escape hatch? Perhaps a little button that causes the propeller on top of your beanie to spin wildly whenever you start to get worked up over nothing...

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Take it up with Chris Hitchens why don't ya?

>>A similar chaos and misery gave the upper hand to Mullah Omar's forces in Afghanistan, who were able to present Talibanism in the 1990s as providing a measure of stability and who currently hope to repeat the same strategy with (as before) a little help from a Pakistan that needs an Afghan colony for "strategic depth" in its campaign for Kashmir.

http://www.slate.com/id/2154504/nav/tap1/

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

LOL -- I first heard that analysis of U.S.-Vietnamese relations at a meeting of the Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce in Orange County, California, shortly before the first round of normal trade relations with Vietnam was authorized.

Which, naturally, sounds like a "stereotype" to the Cap'n.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 28, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Take it up with Chris Hitchens why don't ya?

I disavow any knowledge of what that drunken swine would advocate; if that's your way of ducking out after dropping a few pithy comments, so be it.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Captain Sensible wonders if Americanist is a drinking buddy of poor Chris Hitchens...

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

The self-styled Captain must be enrolled in the Wishful Thinking School of Foreign Affairs.

Posted by: CFShep on November 28, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

The self-styled Captain must be enrolled in the Wishful Thinking School of Foreign Affairs.

No, just the school of thought where reality exists. Seems to be a smaller and smaller school of thought on blog threads such as this. Wishful thinking is bad? Captain Sensible wishes all the strife in the world could be ended so the human species can move on to more important matters. But, until then, there is a school of thought that says that creating three separate states out of what is now Iraq might be one way to solve the problem.

Pragmatically ending a conflict by recognizing fledgling nation/states actually has a track record, unlike dropping pithy comments into a blog thread in order to have a titter and a laugh.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 28, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"..die hideous deaths if we abandon them: "

Whenever Freepers go to war, they generally lose and NYC ends up with a thousands more taxi drivers.

Posted by: Matt on November 28, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

How would we address the obvious security problems inherent in a relocation program?

We went through this drill once before when Saddam (temporarily) overrran part of the Kurdish no-fly zone back in the mid-'90s. The short answer is we: we can't and we won't. Very few Kurdish refugees were let into the US back then, and even fewer Iraqi "boat people" will be let in now. If they're lucky, they might make it into Jordan. That seems to be where most westernized Iraqis are living already.

If Packer wants to wail about the cruelty and dishonor of it all, he should first reflect upon his own small role in bringing this nightmare to pass.

Posted by: PeterP on November 28, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Honest, it really DOES help if you learn something about a subject before you form opinions.

First -- as noted, refugee resettlement is primarily about foreign policy: we take some, so other countries will also take some. (And when we refuse, so will they.)

Second -- there are what, 27 million Iraqis? Not counting Kurds, maybe 5 million Sunni? Not all of 'em will be forced to flee, just as not all Shi'ites nor Kurds will be safe, but it helps to have a sense of scale.

So a reasonable guess is that we are talking about perhaps half a million total: that's a # the world's resources ought to be able to handle. Bear in mind, as in most refugee situations, very few will NEVER be able to return, so only a few will be permanently re-settled. (Although, of course, a high percentage of those who come here will stay.)

To get the cooperation of Kuwait, Jordan, Syria,Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran to temporarily house 500k-1 million would probably require the US to take fewer than 50k over maybe 3 years.

Even with extensive screening, that's not impossible.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 28, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

What to do about Iraq:

Stop getting our kids killed & get the f*@# out.

.

Posted by: KG on November 28, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I do find it rather sad how many Americans feel guilt for things they did not create. Yes, the US invaded Iraq - but did the United States create hatred between Sunni and Shiites? The only thing keeping these two Islamic religious factions at one another's throats was a repressive dictatorship which threatened them with levels of violence that they feared.

Americans need not apologize for this conflict. Islam should.

Posted by: Spock on November 28, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Before he so wholeheartedly embraced the "humanitarian intervention" ploy and endorsed Saddam's removal, Packer should have given a hell of lot more thought to the post-invasion consequences that he enumerated in "Assassins...". He's still trying to live down his early position on invasion, and this business about spiriting out "our Iraqis" is yet another cri de coeur from someone who finds it difficult to accept (intellectual) accountability.

Posted by: barrisj on November 28, 2006 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

"By all means, let them into the country. What's a few IEDs among neighbors? The fact that the insurgency has infiltrated the Green Zone, virtually all of the government ministries and the Iraqi police might be a tip-off that we had better be careful as to who we allow to come to this country."
____________________

Wait a minute, haven't we been assured that all the fighting is because we are in Iraq? If we pull out and take a few hundred thousand Iraqis with us, there should be no reason to fear them. The heat will be off and all will be right with the world. The ones planting IEDs aren't likely to want to come, anyway.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 29, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

The ones planting IEDs aren't likely to want to come, anyway.

The ones planting IEDs are also working with us; their dual loyalty is well documented.

However, Captain Sensible notices that when something is "well documented," the one name of trashhauler works more dilligently against it.

Posted by: Captain Sensible on November 29, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, Americanist : I didn't support blowing a hole in the ship. George Packer did, and still expects a pass because his intentions were noble. He still expresses contempt for those who advocated not firing on the ship.

We owe massive reparations to the Iraqi people, for the hundreds of thousands who've been killed -- directly by U.S. military, indirectly by the sectarian civil war. A war we unleashed, did nothing to prevent or control, did much to intensify, and stood by while it deepened pretending that it wasn't happening.

What privileges Iraqis who worked with the invaders/occupiers over those who didn't? All Iraqis are victims of forces we unleashed and have done nothing but intensify for three and a half years.

Posted by: Nell on November 29, 2006 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

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