Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Emptying of Iraq

If and when Bush’s surge ever pacifies Baghdad, who will be left to enjoy the fruits of democracy our troops are bringing with them?

As an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Iraqis flee for their lives every month to swell the total of 2.3 million who have left, the UN estimates almost another 2 million are homeless inside their own country.

Imagine New York City without half its population or Los Angeles with deserted freeways and empty, looted houses.

Imagine the best-educated, professional and idealistic people forced out, leaving the poor, the old and the helpless at the mercy of street gangs.

Imagine Westchester County and northern California overwhelmed with refugees.

Imagine all that when Republicans talk about “victory” and Democrats try to set timetables for withdrawal. If it were happening here, would Washington refuse to talk to New Jersey, Connecticut, Arizona and Nevada about region-wide solutions? Would the rest of the U.S. keep shopping and try not to think about what is happening? Would we tolerate a President who believes diplomacy is weakness?

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