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Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.

By Angelina Jolie
Thursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this humanitarian crisis has not improved. However, during the last week, the United States, UNHCR and the Iraqi government have begun to work together in new and important ways.

We still don't know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they've all gone, or how they're managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country -- without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water. Ethnic cleansing and other acts of unspeakable violence have driven them into a vast and very dangerous no-man's land. Many of the survivors huddle in mosques, in abandoned buildings with no electricity, in tents or in one-room huts made of straw and mud. Fifty-eight percent of these internally displaced people are younger than 12 years old.

An additional 2.5 million Iraqis have sought refuge outside Iraq, mainly in Syria and Jordan. But those host countries have reached their limits. Overwhelmed by the refugees they already have, these countries have essentially closed their borders until the international community provides support.

I'm not a security expert, but it doesn't take one to see that Syria and Jordan are carrying an unsustainable burden. They have been excellent hosts, but we can't expect them to care for millions of poor Iraqis indefinitely and without assistance from the U.S. or others. One-sixth of Jordan's population today is Iraqi refugees. The large burden is already causing tension internally.

The Iraqi families I've met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don't want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes -- or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.

In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR's need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis "to the maximum extent possible" -- which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.

UNHCR is certainly committed to that. Last week while in Iraq, High Commissioner António Guterres pledged to increase UNHCR's presence there and to work closely with the Iraqi government, both in assessing the conditions required for return and in providing humanitarian relief.

During my trip I also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has announced the creation of a new committee to oversee issues related to internally displaced people, and a pledge of $40 million to support the effort.

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- and the potential consequences for our national security -- are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money -- but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Angelina Jolie, an actor, is a UNHCR goodwill ambassador.
 

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I can't even handle the thought of Angelina being an actor. Lord. SHE sounds like she has a brain too.
 

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It is what it is and if defeatists could see it for what it is without the jaded negativism we could very well obtain a victorious exit with stability and long term security as the benefits of a great struggle.

Angelina Jolie...Who would have thunk.. Tup: I might even appreciate BeoWolf a tad bit more this weekend... :mrgreen:
 

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The best thing that Angelina could do for the general health of this country is take off her shirt and give me a LAP DANCE!!!!!
 

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I well remember some of the Righties on this site poo pooing my posts on the fact that there was folk who had fled the fighting and been told to leave their homes and living in a tented city outside Baghdad.

Now a dolly bird says it then it must be true.

I for one am glad that she is being listened to.

I also hope that more folk can move back to their homes and start their lives all over again. Without the ordinary Joe's you do not have a stable country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SJ, the whole point of the article is that the surge must be allowed to continue and if we were to pull out like Mrs Clinton or Mr Obama have proposed that they will, this will be catastrophic to the country and region.

Your posts get poo pooed by the righties all the time, not just the ones about refugees. :D
 

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We need a whole lot more Angelina and a whole lot less Oprah in the media if you ask me. I'm pretty sick of all the Oprah worship.
 

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DB I am still backing the surge. Just how many Righties are backing it now that they are talking to the Sunnis and paying them not to cause trouble.

Come next January there maybe no need to pull out the troops as a lot of them will be home and the Dems can see that given another year they will all be home. They can then say 'We bought home the troops as promised'.

FS I do not hear her a lot but when ever she is on her voice goes right thro me. She has got one of those screechy voices.
 

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"I well remember some of the Righties on this site poo pooing my posts on the fact that there was folk who had fled the fighting and been told to leave their homes and living in a tented city outside Baghdad. "


Please post this atrocity. I beleive you claimed some astronomical number and it was tied to tyour contention that some half million Iraqis had been killed as well.
 

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Hey THICKEY, yes you TK you know as well as I do that we cannot pull up our old posts from the old site. You are the thickest person on here. If you don't remember me posting the links. But being thick you would not remember that.

If you had looked at my links instead of ignoring them then you would have seen it was true. Hell you did not even bother to read what DB had posted as you would have seen it mentioned there. But all you want to do is cause trouble on the site. I have been following your recent postings on the site and I am sure that others have been doing the same.

Bet you are one of the Righties who I had just mentioned.
 

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No proof shows you did not read all I wrote.

Thickey go read DB's post again and then come back and apologise.

Like I said you are just on here to stir things up and I have not seen a positive posting from you.
 

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I am not on massive ammounts of medication like you so could you please explain this?

"Thickey go read DB's post again and then come back and apologise."
 

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You never cease to amaze me with your seemingly obliviousness to awareness over here. Do you really think, Sir Silly, that Americans have no idea about the number of Iraqi refugees in Jordan, Syria, Iran and points everywhere over there? I understand even the insular Saudis have some on hand.
I hope they can all go home soon. I'm sure their current landlords feel the same. Hell I would like to se the Palestinians, after dropping their genocidal posture, be able to go home to. The are self banished as far as I am concerned. A 1948 hangover that has lasted long enough.

Sssshh He likes the Toff title, Sir. And I guess if they can knight Elton John anyone is fair game.
 

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Again he has not re-read the post

So I will make it easy for him. Even posting in red so that even he cannot miss it. :lol:

We still don't know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they've all gone, or how they're managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country -- without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water

Yes Jabba there are folk in those countries and also in Iraq but Thickey seems to ignore the fact that there are also refugees in Iraq as well.

Seeing as he is not arguing about my point about the hard Right over there I can only assume that I am right about this.
 

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FS just trying to gode Thickey to reply to my post.

You, Jabba and a lot of Righties have made positive posts on the site. He has not.
 

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SJ: it is fruitless to atempt to get Elvis to stay on topic, especially when he is wrong- which is quite often. When poroven wrong he simply changes the sbuject or begins with personal attacks. I have decoide that there is no benefit to reading his posts so shall no longer do so.

I imagine he will interprat this a some sort of admisison he is too God like to challenge. just the opposite its true. i will continue to joust witih the righties who show an ability of grasp the issues,but not with Elvis. it's just a waste of my time.
 
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