Posted by: Kevin | August 29, 2007

Down with Xenophobia!

The American Left has long billed itself as progressive, tolerant and inclusive.  Those are qualities I find admirable, if not always prudent.  So it always comes as a bit of a shock when someone on the left demonstrates the same kind of ugly xenophobia that I find so repulsive from the right. 

In article in today’s New York Times details the struggles faced by Iraqis trying to get into the US, especially those who worked for the US and would be targets for retribution once the US pulled out.

“…the administration has set up a special program for a small number of Iraqis, which gives preferential treatment to full-time employees of the American Embassy, about 125 in Baghdad, and to 500 interpreters by allowing them to skip the lengthy United Nations refugee process once they leave Iraq…

…In all, 69,000 Iraqis work on contracts with the Department of Defense through Iraqi and foreign companies, according to the American military. They are cleaners, construction workers, drivers and security guards, to name a few, and though they face the same reprisals as anyone working more directly with the American government they do not fall into the special category.”

Can we absorb 69,000 Iraqis into the US without any problems?  Of course not.  Do we owe them that much?  Absolutely.  We went into their country and promised to deliver a better life.  Many of those Iraqis took us at our word.

Whatever you think of the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation, and I think they were ill conceived, poorly executed and a generally dishonest enterprise, we owe those people.  Maybe we don’t need to rescue all 69,000 but that number better be a hell of a lot bigger than 625. 

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