Iraqi Refugees

The past few weeks have been very busy, from the death of President Gerald Ford, to the hanging of Saddam Hussein, to crossing the 3000 mark in the number of deaths of U.S. servicemen in Iraq.

Now comes word, according to the New York Times, that Iraqis are having a very difficult time getting refugee status.

Many Iraqis who worked for Americans have already fled the capital or the country, and many plead for help or asylum on a daily basis. Of some 40 nationalities seeking asylum in European countries in the first half of 2006, Iraqis ranked first with more than 8,100 applications, according to the United Nations.

Remarkably few apply for refugee status in the United States, mainly because most Iraqis, even those who have worked for the United States government here, simply assume that getting American status is all but impossible. Iraqis cannot apply directly for refugee status in the American Embassy in Baghdad.

Another interpreter, Amar, who did not want his full name used, went to at least 10 embassies during a trip to Jordan last fall, but found only blank faces. He counts his sacrifice for America in bones and skin. He is missing a finger, an eye and part of his skull, after a large bomb exploded next to his Humvee last year. He has received two threats to his life. Two bodyguards accompany him everywhere. He stays in three different houses to confuse potential attackers.

So many things about this war have been mismanaged. It only seems to get worse.

Happy New Year.


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