The Humanitarian Consequences of the U.S. war on Iraqi citizens

Source material comes from an article in The New York Review of Books by Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarr.

The author points out that the humanitarian consequences of the U.S. actions in Iraq are unreported and include:

  • 2.5 million are have become external refugess in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon
  • 2 million internal refugees living in makeshift camps on the outskirts of Baghdad and other cities with no long-term solution to this refugee problem in sight

Refugees the author visited in Jordan live in small apartments often with other families, have no legal residency, no hope for long-term employment and some families have been forced to send their children out to work as a domestic help, thus removing the possibility of school.

The children of the refugees are subject to human trafficking and child prostitution.

Refugees are afraid of returning to their homes in Iraq if their homes have not been taken over by other Iraqis and the fear is higher with the U.S. troops leaving, which may result in increased levels of violence and the numbers of refugees in the region.

The international community is decreasing support instead of raising it.

“The U.S. has failed to announce a plan for handling the humanitarian challenges that could follow withdrawal.”

Suggestions to move towards an assumption of responsibility for the horrors that the U.S. has created would include:

“First, they must not assume that an end to military involvement marks the beginning of a withdrawal of humanitarian support. As a moral matter, we should not claim victory in Iraq while there are millions of Iraqis who have lost their homes, have little hope of reclaiming them, and are now forced to live in extremely difficult conditions.”

“More important, the United States, in cooperation with the Iraqi government and the international community, must develop a postwar plan, similar to what we have done after other conflicts, to find durable solutions for Iraqi refugees and displaced persons.”

“A first step would be to meet the UNHCR’s annual funding request, at a minimum, and accept for resettlement the number of refugees recommended by that agency during the coming years.”

“A well-executed plan would not only meet our humanitarian obligations but would also help stabilize the region.”

And finally,

“In the end, we cannot abandon Iraqi refugees and displaced families. The United States and the world cannot leave behind a humanitarian crisis in the hope that it will correct itself. Such an outcome would not only fail to help people in serious need but create long-term animosity in the region. It would estrange the next generation of Iraqis, whose leadership will be needed to build a stable and peaceful nation.”

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