Tuesday, August 28, 2007



A few weeks ago I posted a story called What Will Bush-- Or Hillary-- Do With The Iraqi Quislings? and I want to bring up a thoughtful comment that was left by an anonymous reader:
I used to be an admirer of this blog. I would guess you just hate and fear Arabs and oppose their immigration.

I've been to Iraq and know some of the people you call "quislings." Of course, by using this term you equate the US to Nazis and the murderous Iraqi insurgency, composed of murderous Baathist ex- secret police, Al Qaeda units which kill barbers for shaving people and drive bombs into markets crowded with civilians and other religious fanatic killers, to the Allies and Norwegian resistance.

The Iraqis who work with us a largely secular intellectuals who believe in things like the electoral democracy we imposed on the country. Many are people who opposed Saddam's fascist regime. Whatever you think about the war, their motives are mostly patriotic.

I neither hate nor fear groups of people-- not races nor nationalities nor ethnicities. If I hated Arabs I don't think I would have travelled to Morocco a dozen times since 1969. The third proposition, though, is one worth talking about: opposing their immigration to this country.

Today's NY Times ran a story, Obstacles Keep Iraqi Refugees From US, and when I opened it I was thinking, "OMG, did Bush actually do something right for a change?" That was unkind of me, as well as incorrect. The Bush Regime seems more than willing to take in thousands of Iraqi refugees as that country crumbles further into an all out civil war entirely of of their (the Bush Regime's) making. But like with most everything the U.S. has stuck its nose in there, even that is failing.
Despite a stepped-up commitment from the United States to take in Iraqis who are in danger because they worked for the American government and military, very few are signing up to go, resettlement officials say.

The reason, Iraqis say, is that they are not allowed to apply in Iraq, requiring them to make a costly and uncertain journey to countries like Syria or Jordan, where they may be turned away by border officials already overwhelmed by fleeing Iraqis.

Americans of all political stripes who have come to know Iraqis due to this most horrible of circumstances-- the invasion, brutal occupation and complete breakdown of civil society-- are advocating bringing Iraqis who worked for the Bush Regime efforts there, over to America to keep them from being killed as traitors. Raise your hand if you think the people of this country favor importing thousands of Arabs to America.

The culture clash-- as demonstrated all over Europe-- isn't one that's going to work out. The idea of assimilation isn't something they're looking for. I listened to an interview today on KCRW with Lucette Lagnado about her highly acclaimed new book The Man in the Sharskin Suit and you can too. Her father was a wealthy Egyptian Jew who came, reluctantly, to the U.S. to escape persecution after Nasser took over and Jews became unwelcome in Cairo. From the interview I got the impression that her father was a religionist fanatic, albeit a peaceful one, who didn't fit in and was miserable in America. Something tells me his America is like a picnic compared to what it will be for a bunch of Iraqis-- who are less peaceful and, at least in some cases-- maybe even in cases not yet born-- just as fanatically religionist.

Do we have enough problems here without importing the misery of the Middle East? Ask the English if they'd like to do it over again. This is a problem that should not be dictated by the asshats inside the Beltway before it is thoroughly debated by the American people.

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At 12:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Complex post. Not sure my comment will address all of it appropriately, or in context.

The Brits (not the English) were long term occupants, as a Colonial Power, in India and other regions. Not the same as the US in Iraq.

I can't remember details enough to cite chapter and verse, but I was living in the UK (1976-1986) when it was becoming clear that Britain was finally having to pay its dues for the promises it made during Colonial times. Promises made, because that was part of exploiting the value in export from India and so forth. Trading Companies that derived benefit for the Brits.

Yes, payback. Overdue but it is not the same history or context or situation re: Iraqi's coming to the US.

I am not questioning your general premise, but to compare this with with the Brits is just not convincing.


At 4:57 AM, Blogger Caoimhin Laochdha said...

I'm not sure whether we are making any legitimate effort to relocated Iraqi refugees.
Democracy Now did a piece on this last week that highlighted the fact that there are at least five million Iraqi refugees, internally and in neighboring countries.
We are responsible for causing each one of them to become a refugee. The Bush administration, and the United States, has an obligation to take in or resettle any Iraqi who needs to be taken in or resettled. It is that simple.

We as a country owe that to them, and if it costs us a $100billion, well that is a small price compared to the toll we have immorally and illegally exacted on these innocent people. The pain of resettling or taking them in is part of the price we owe as a country for bringing war on them.

At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Caoimhin Laochdha, you might be right. Maybe we do have a moral obligation to help them. But re-settling them here? Are you insane? Sorry if it's politically incorrect to say but if we settled millions like you suggest (or even a few hundred thousand) it would be a nightmare of unprecedented proportions. Their culture is not exactly attuned to ours. Look at all the problems in England with Muslims born there (born! not emigrated). I don't want to live with nor even accommodate any more religious fanatics in this country...we have enough of them (I can already imagine the nightmare of the Islamists aligning themselves with the Christian Right once they figure out they have the same goals...Jeeeesus Christ [no pun intended] what a fucking nightmare!!!)

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should we let in more fanatic religionists?

On the one hand, this country is already full of those wackos, so what's a few more? On the other hand, look at all the trouble they cause!

The result of bringing those people in could be an exacerbation of the serious nutjob problem we already have. Or the fact that they are islamist rather than christian could work to calm down both sides, since neither would have the absolute and unopposed voices they currently enjoy.

What would be the result? I don't know, but I favor erring in the side of openness. I put my money on the position that - over time - the two camps will cause each other to see some of the errors of their ways.

Unfortunately, they will also begin to see their similarities too, which might tend to promote religiosity in general. Maybe. But at least at that point, I predict that they, both sides, will become less violent. That's likely to happen when you're not quite so sure about the absolute truths of the universe.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What would be the result? I don't know, but I favor erring in the side of openness. I put my money on the position that - over time - the two camps will cause each other to see some of the errors of their ways."

So you see the extreme Religiosity of Muslims causing havoc all over Europe as it clashes with Western, secular values and that's not enough to convince you. You want to play Russian roulette with our democracy. Interesting...how about You "err on the side of openness" on your own time and not ruin my country. Thanks. (And before you bring up the Christian Right, I've already said that they're here, nothing we can do about them and quite frankly, the Muslim extremists make the Christian Right seem like hippies. Plus, even though the Christian Right is kept in check by the Constitution, look at all the resources we spend fighting them...you wanna add another bunch of religious fanatics to the fight for a secular America? Why? So they can swamp our legal system together and get their way?? Sorry, but as a bisexual man who loves living in the almost European state of Massachussets, the Muslim fanatics scare me a hell of a lot more than the Chrstians do.)

Just on a purely selfish level, I wanna point out that I like my porn, my booze and my freedom from kneeling and praying to some non-existent being in the sky. I'd like to keep it that way. If the Muslims must come here en mass, at least put them in the Bible Belt and leave my Northeast corner alone.

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the evidence that a significant (or any) number of the refugees are "extremists"?

Several of the previous comments have more than a whiff of xenophobia about them.

Down with Tyranny. If you say so.

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the record, the majority, perhaps 67% of Arab-Americans are Christians. But even the Muslims aren't behaving as they do in Europe. They're as upwardly mobile as anyone else, and just like the Jews before them, have firmly grasped the economic ladder provided by our society.

Isn't this the same fear that caused the internment of the loyal Japanese citizens on the West Coast during WWII? We locked up 100,000 people on the chance that one or two might be disloyal!

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If the Muslims must come here en mass, at least put them in the Bible Belt"

At least we'd find out whose god is more powerful.

At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For the record, the majority, perhaps 67% of Arab-Americans are Christians. But even the Muslims aren't behaving as they do in Europe. They're as upwardly mobile as anyone else, and just like the Jews before them, have firmly grasped the economic ladder provided by our society."

I don't know who your source is but I know the number of Christians in Iraq is about 1%, so we would be accepting a huge in-flux of Muslims to the U.S. That, in on itself, is not a problem were they willing to assimilate instead of imposing their belief systems on their newly adopted land...but if we were to look over the Atlantic, we see they won't assimilate; they are looking towards an Islamist Europe and will tell you so bluntly, on or off the record. We are just asking for trouble by letting in hundreds of thousands who think us vulgar and morally bankrupt. Again, think of the nightmare of fending off both Christian and Muslim fanatics. Let's not go crazy in the name of political correctness and allow in those who who despise our way of life because we feel sorry for them. We should give them aid, rebuild their country and do everything in our power to arrest, try and execute Bush, Cheney and their cronies in crime so the poor Iraqi's get some justice. Then we should rebuild Fortress America and keep all the Islamists at bay til they work out their own shit. If this means they kill each other, well, not to sound cold but it's not our concern. Our concern as good Americans should first and foremost be to bring our troops home now(!) so they're not shooting targets in a brutal civil war. We should never, ever, no matter what the circumstance, allow anyone in who doesn't fully want to live under our constitution, our laws, who in fact find it repulsive. Doing so is suicide for our culture (which is indeed corrupt and sinful...and I say thank you God for that!)

Denmark, by the way, has the right idea...they screen all who emigrate to their country to make sure they abide by Danish rules and laws, right down to asking them whether they tolerate homosexuality or not. If they don't, no visa, no citizenship.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger tpsmithster said...

As a frequent reader here, this is a disappointing post. You and your supporters on this issue just sound racist to me.

There are two million displaced Iraqis outside of Iraq. Another two million inside of Iraq. This is an illegal and immoral war. Our leaders should be tried as war criminals in an international court.

But to hang those Iraqis who worked with our military to supplant Saddam's regime is just as immoral. To characterize Arabs as rabble and radicals is nonsense. Every group has malcontents. The Middle East is a region of woe. But Arabs have assimilated very well into our country. There is a marked difference here from the ghettoizing of Arabs that has gone on in Europe. As many good things that are going on in Europe, this segregation is one that is not positive.

There have been little more than 100 Iraqis allowed into America who have worked for us. Thousands would be eligible. We brought in over 100,000 Vietnamese in less than a year when that war went against us. One of the few good things President Ford did.

I am very much against these Resource and Colonial Wars. But I an not for condemning to death foreign nationals that foolishly helped us.


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