After five years of war in Iraq, plenty of Iraqis are still trying to make a go of it: enjoying the long government recesses and the vacations from responsibility they afford, joining up with various armed militia, occasionally opening up their stores so that a visiting John McCain can bring some baubles home to the family...that sort of thing. But for many Iraqis, five years of strife have led them to say, "Know what, I think I'm about to get the eff up out of this here mess." And so they live the life of a refugee - displaced and desperate for the hope that maybe, the United States might lend them a little support. It's all related to Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn" rule - if you break the lives of ordinary Iraqis, you should fix them up with a home somewhere else.
Congress has taken up the issue of Iraqi refugees, and not without sympathy. Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA), for example, believes the United States has "a moral responsibility" to aid the displaced. But other members of Congress have different ideas. Take Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) - he believes that "It is not the job of the people of the United States to subsidize the existence and living standards of refugees in Jordan or anywhere else if they have the option of going home" to Iraq.
Sounds a little cold-hearted, mayhap? Well, don't worry. Rohrabacher sees the big picture, and believes that if the refugees return to their misery, it will be for the benefit...of freedom:
"They're wonderful people who'd like to live here, especially the ones who have helped us, but the last thing we want to do is to have people who are friendly to democracy . . . moving here in large numbers at a time when they're needed to build a new, thriving Iraq."
Ahh, such vision! Nevertheless, Rohrabacher's reaction to the problems of Iraqi refugees remind me of the news going on right here in my backyard. See, a few days ago in Washington, DC, a massive, five-alarm blaze broke out in a large apartment building in DC's Mount Pleasant neighborhood. The building ended up being a total loss, and its two hundred residents were made homeless, but the good news is that the fire department managed to get all of the buildings' residents out unscathed. I'm going to take a minute to be thankful that Representative Rohrabacher wasn't in charge of the fire department's effort, because he'd have no doubt been standing on the curb, yelling, "Stay in your homes, people! We need to harness your enthusiasm for fire extinguishing!"
It is perhaps time for the voters of California to make Mr. Rohrabacher a refugee from his well-worn seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.