Iraq's Refugee Crisis, Nobody Spared

| Mon Mar. 12, 2007 3:30 PM EDT

The refugee crisis in Iraq is dire and affects everyone, as is evident from Elizabeth's post below and this feature in our current issue. Newsweek reports today that the mass flight of Iraqis from their homeland has dwindled the educated class as well. "The exodus has...hollowed out Iraq's most skilled classes—doctors, engineers, managers and bureaucrats," the article reads. This is not entirely new news but has obvious future adverse effects for the rebuilding of a nation. Back in January, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that according to the U.N., 40 percent of Iraq's middle class had fled its country. "Most [were] fleeing systematic persecution and have no desire to return," the article read.

What's most interesting is that this statement regarding the middle class' desire never to return directly contradicts what the U.N. has been claiming most recently; that most refugees want to return to their homeland once the fighting stops. But of course, as I wrote here, many believe the U.N. only uses this as an excuse for the U.S.'s "miserly" asylum quota. And, miserly, it is. Regardless of the escalating crisis in the country, the United States continues to more or less ignore it, placating the situation with negligible assistance. A Refugees International rep., interviewed for the Newsweek article, echoed what I, and many others, have been saying for the past few months. The United States will continue to downplay this crisis, because in order to deal with it on the appropriate scale, it would have to admit how bad the situation actually is; that people in Iraq are dying to leaving their country because it is so unsafe for them. And admitting this would mean admitting the Iraq war has been lost -- something this administration, believe it or not, is still not willing to do.