Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Reviewing TNR: George Packer

In his heart-breaking piece "Save Whomever We Can" George Packer demonstrates his understanding of just how horrible the situation in Iraq has become. He doesn't offer a any Pony Plan's to accomplish impossible goals but he does describe one goal which is attainable in withdrawal:

...Those Iraqis who have had anything to do with the occupation and its promises of democracy will be among the first to be killed: the translators, the government officials, the embassy employees, the journalists, the organizers of women's and human rights groups. As it is, they are being killed one by one. (I personally know at least half a dozen of them who have been murdered.) Without the protection of the Green Zone, U.S. bases, or the inhibiting effect on the Sunni and Shia militias of 150,000 U.S. troops, they will be killed in much greater numbers. To me, the relevant historical analogy is not the helicopters taking off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, leaving thousands of Vietnamese to the reeducation camps. It is the systematic slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of every Cambodian who appeared to have had anything to do with the West.


We should start issuing visas in Baghdad, as well as in the regional embassies in Mosul, Kirkuk, Hilla, and Basra. We should issue them liberally, which means that we should vastly increase our quota for Iraqi refugees. (Last year, it was fewer than 200.) We should prepare contingency plans for massive airlifts and ground escorts. We should be ready for desperate and angry crowds at the gates of the Green Zone and U.S. bases. We should not allow wishful thinking to put off these decisions until it's too late. We should not compound our betrayals of Iraqis who put their hopes in our hands.

I'm with Kevin Drumm, the only question is whether this plan is practical. I don't really see why not. Surely getting them out of Iraq won't be a problem. Mostly it'll be a question of security. That we'd have to take on the risk of issuing visas to terrorists to make the best out of a bad situation is yet another grim irony for those who saw invading Iraq as a way securing the US.

Tom’s rating: 10/10

Probability of being instituted: 5/10

Pony plan rating: 0/10

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