Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lack of Compassion

Two columns on your op-ed page (Paul Krugman, Katrina all the Time, and Joseph Hoar, Abandoned at the Border, New York Times, September 31, 2007: A23) illustrate the depths to which we have sunk as a society. It is unconscionable that the President has not yet issued a waiver to local authorities in the Gulf Coast so that they do not have to contribute to the reconstruction funds. It is to be hoped that legislation pending in Congress will rectify that. But we are at fault for not demanding that he issue the waiver. In the case of the Gulf Coast, help delayed is help denied.

As for the Iraqi refugees, we should, at the outset of the war, have poured millions into the United Nations refugee agency to set up reception centers, hospitals and schools in the neighboring states of Jordan and Syria. We did not, so these countries, like our men and women in uniform, are bearing the brunt of the consequences of the Iraq war. Unlike the Vietnam war, these domino countries look very shaky and may fall into the anti-American camp unless there is a massive infusion of American aid to help the refugees. For these refugees, help delayed is help denied.

Those who work for the American in Iraq are in a "Catch-22." They cannot claim entry to the United States from Iraq -- they have to move to Jordan in order to apply. On the other hand the Unites States needs them to continue to work for us in Iraq as interpreters, laborers, and kitchen staff, so it is difficult for them to leave. In Iraq, we need to created protected enclaves where these people and their families can live. We need to change our policies so that these people can gain permits to enter the United States directly from Iraq without having to detour to Jordan. Once again, help delayed is help denied.

Sent to New York Times

No comments: