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?
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.
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.
May your common sense become infectious!