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Keeping Ohio Refugee Free

The following news brief ran on the Associated Press yesterday:

Strickland Doesn´t Want Overflow Iraqi Refugees

“Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has a message for President Bush: any plan to relocate to the US thousands of refugees uprooted by the Iraq war shouldn’t include Ohio.

The administration plans to allow about 7,000 Iraqi refugees to settle in the United States over the next year, a huge expansion at a time of mounting international pressure to help millions who have fled their homes in the nearly four-year-old war.

Strickland — a Democrat who opposed the war as a US House member — says Ohioans can’t be expected to have open arms for Iraqis displaced by the war. More than 100 Ohioans have been killed since the war began. The governor says he has sympathy for the refugees’ plight, but he won’t ask Ohioans to accept a greater burden.”

It is really all quite mad, isn’t it?

That on top of the million or so Iraqis we’ve killed, and the four million we’ve maimed, we’ve also created millions of refugees; that our Maniac-in-Chief now decrees 7,000 refugees is a politically acceptable number we should allow into the U.S. even as he continues the slaughter around the clock; that the governor of a state, having absolutely nothing to do with immigration policy anyway, feels compelled to protect the homeland (or would that be “homestate?”) by warning a morbidly unpopular president, “Not in our backyard, pallie!”

Something for people of good conscience to keep in mind: When we finally get our troops out of Iraq, and our bases out of Iraq, and our mercenaries out of Iraq, and our spooks out of Iraq, and Halliburton Corp., and Burger King Corp., and all the rest–when the last U.S. helicopter flies off the roof of the world’s largest embassy and the American Empire’s sorry, bloody, murderous adventure draws to a close–we owe these people. Big time.

I don’t know how many, or actually, why any of them would want to come live in Disneyland. But if some do, we should welcome them and the many lessons they could teach us about maintaining humanity in conditions of pure hell.

For the 99.9% of Iraqis who would rather stay home and rebuild their shattered lives, at the very least we owe them money. Lots of money. Multiple billions of dollars. And not to be administered by our military or our corporations or our mercenaries or our spooks. No, we should have nothing to do with that money except deliver it to Iraq and let them decide what to do with it. I hope they can rebuild the hospitals and the electric and phone systems we bombed, and the water treatment plants we’ve destroyed, and the economy we’ve wrecked. But frankly it doesn’t matter if they want to insulate their attics with it, or mix it with mud and turn it into building material, or pile it up in the middle of the desert and f…..g burn it all. They can’t possibly do any worse with it than we have.

And that is just the beginning of the magnitude of the dollar amount we owe Iraq.

What we do for all the pain and suffering and heartache and terror we’ve created, only God knows. Those things we carry on our conscience to our graves.

And the governor of Ohio wants to be first in line to say, “Keep your tired and maimed. Don’t burden us.”

What world is this?

MIKE FERNER served as a Navy Corpsman from 1969-73. He is a freelance writer from Toledo. He can be reached through his website.

 

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Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

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